Here is what makes me uncomfortable with what you want to do. You say you want to buy a computer you can upgrade. Most off the shelf/out of the box computers have warranties that are voided if you open the case sooner then 1-year. You may have to have it done by a pro to keep warranty in place and that may cost more for less computer in the long run.
Brand new computers, fresh out of the box have been known not to work. I have had to return 2 brand new computers before I got one that would do the job. With your timetable I say WAIT if you can.
Hi all. I'd like to build/purchase a computer for several tasks, including music production, games (not a priority), multiple-tab web browsing, photo editing, etc.
One of the major uses will be music production. I have purchased a Casio PX-575R USB keyboard. (I would have liked a better one, but I was limited on my keyboard budget. I hope to upgrade sometime in the future to something at least 2.5x the price.) I also plan (in the near future) to purchase Sonar Home Studio and Synthogy Ivory (with the Italian Grand expansion pack) in the near future. (system requirements basically are 1.3GHz, 1GB RAM, 40+GB (fast) HD space, but they recommend somewhat better, like 2GHz, 2GB, 7200+RPM/RAID, etc.
Also, I want to do some photo editing, video capture and multi-simultaneous-stream audio capture (willing to sacrifice especially if I go with minimum spec'd system on minimum budget)
My budget is somewhat unknown right now. I'm guessing I'll want to try to budget at least $650-750 (but if I can, I'd like to go higher, like $1200 - 1600). It depends on how much $ I earn at my job (I tune pianos for a piano store, and earn a set price per piano. I've been able to do a piano in 45 minutes if I'm lucky, but usually it takes much longer due to difficulties with some pianos (the 45-minute one or two that I've done were a good quality brand; also with no distractions (customers trying pianos, for example)), and customers sometimes coming in (it's not nice to tune while people are trying out pianos.))
I'd like to have this computer, if at all possible, by the afternoon / evening of December 21 (probably including using pay up through that day to purchase the computer), or early enough on December 22 that I can take my computer with me from El Cajon, CA, to Tulare, CA, by car, and preferably (although it depends on my parents (I most likely will be making the trip with them)) arrive by about 3 to 4 pm (I'll be there through the following Monday afternoon). (Because of how close I think I'll be cutting the timing of getting a paycheck, getting the computer, setting it up (getting things installed / working), and making the aforementioned trip (possibly in under 24 hours), I'd prefer to buy locally in San Diego, CA.)
I am looking for a desktop computer (those occasions where I take it places like described above I am thinking will be rare - maybe a few times a year), because I know I can get better specs for the price in a desktop, and there are some things I need that a laptop probably won't support (also I'm worried, based on how rough I treat small electronic objects, about the longevity of a laptop hard drive).
I'm open to suggestions - in fact, where I don't specify anything, feel free to blow my eardrums to shreds. Here, though, are what I'm thinking for minimum specs [with preferred / if I have the $ in brackets like this - depending on budget I may go for the minimum, preferred, or something in between]:
Case: don't need anything fancy, but would like plenty of space for adding hard drives & optical drives in the future. Also, front USB and sound ports would be really nice. (I prefer not to have a door covering the external drive bays, unless it slides / is removable)
Board: open to suggestions.
(note that I would like at least 4 or more maximum speed USB ports (6-8+ would be great)
CPU speed: 1.8GHz [2.6+GHz]
CPU platform: flexible (except not Celeron/equivalent)
RAM: 1GB [2+GB]
HD: 160GB 7200rpm [120GB OS HD + 2x250GB Raid0 SATA]
please note (in case the mobo's on-board controller isn't sufficient for what I want to do) that I already have a 80GB and 250GB HD that are somewhat full. The HDs I get with this system will be in addition to those, and I plan to plug them in to the new system. (I'd be willing to consider a good removable hard drive solution that's compatible with internal drives)
Backup: suggestions welcome -- but I'd like to be able to do periodic mirrors of all hard drives, and frequent incremental backups, including program & system folders & files.
Video Card: something with at least 64MB of RAM on-board
Display: 17" LCD with at least 1000 lines, with good image quality, and good for playing video & games, and relatively wide viewing angle. (am thinking if I go for the low end, $150-180 would be the budget for the display) [19-20", 2048x1536, etc] (a CRT is too deep, although it'd be nice to be able to change resolutions (1280x960, 1400x1050, 1600x1200, 2048x1536, etc) without any loss in image quality)
Sound: a friend of mine has said on-board sound may be sufficient [but a decent card with at least 4 to 8 or more channels of inputs would be nice]
Optical Drive: DVD+/-R/RW DL [+RAM, Lightscribe / next-gen (Blu-Ray+HD / Holographic) ; multiple (2-4+ drives, supporting buring different data to each drive at the same time]
OS: Windows XP Professional (someone I know has a cracked installer CD that I could use, but I'd prefer to get the legit/genuine version, and am willing 2 pay 4 it) [Vista Ultimate when it becomes available ; would like to be able to dual-boot.]
Keyboard+Mouse: Optical scroll mouse, standard keyboard [multi-button multi-scroll optical mouse, multimedia+internet keyboard]
Any and all suggestions are welcome. I know I can find the minimum specs in my price range (I may need to up the minimum budget a bit - if that's the case, I'll wait to buy the computer until I can afford it, especially if I'm not able to earn sufficient $ before the 22nd.) but I'm looking for suggestions on if it's probably enough for what I'll be doing, and if I was to upgrade, what should I get. Suggestions for specific brands/models of components would be especially welcomed (I can look up their specs online if needed.)