Monday, April 30, 2012

Learning the Buying Computer Blues Ramble

I started out yesterday writing a script for my digital story and editing video. I ended the day in total frustration because I could not find an affordable desktop computer from an on-line or retail store. In-between those sentences is a story but not the one I intended.

I have been having computer slow downs and lock-ups for about a year. My old 2007 Pookie is a dual core work horse that has served me well. No complaints, it is not a bad computer for web viewing, email and light social media.

It handled standard definition video data files just fine. Once I started using high definition camcorders  and installing modern software Pookie was uncomfortable. By 2011 she really started to slow down.

We worked through it. Got a terabyte drive for video storage, cleaned out the gunk and tried not to have more than one other program open at a time.

Still, Pookie has hung on. It is a struggle. Yesterday while typing and trying to look at what I recorded Pookie could stand no more. She told me to choose between word processing or video editing.

That was the last draw for me. So this week I'm dedicating to learning and then buying a new computer for video editing and beyond.

Know What You Want

I know what I want; not a laptop, not an all in one device and I don't want to spend more than $1,000. I'm not being cheap. I have what is known as savings. I have saved a certain amount for a new computer. This has to include taxes, shipping, unpredictables and possible new software.

Here is the short version of what I need in a desktop:
  • I5 or I7 CPU
  • 8 to 10MB RAM
  • 1 Terrabyte hard drive but 2 Terabytes would be better. 
  • Separate graphics card, or upper level integrated graphics card. I hate integrated graphics cards but at this price point I have to consider them.
Now that is a very basic list. You've seen systems like that in your local paper or on-line and you are saying to yourself "She's nuts, I've seen ...."

And you would be right except that there is a whole bunch of flim flam going on in the desktop buying marketplace.

AMD CPUs being sold in retail chains. I have nothing against AMD CPUs. If I could find a quality equivalent AMD product I'd go for it. Some of the desktop computers in retail are the AMD Phenom II x3 and X2 CPUs. This is the equivalent of an Intel i3.CPU.

There is another AMD line called Fusion. Again, you as the consumer would have to be aware that the Fusion line has four different model types. You don't want the bottom two. I could not find models with the more powerful AMD Fusion CPUs. Believe me, I looked.

Next on the flim flam list is the use of 5400 RPM hard drives. These are slower hard drives that are not suitable for those of us that edit video.

For basic consumer users 5400 RPM isn't going to make a difference.

For gamers, photography, podcasters and video folks it makes a huge difference.  You cannot buy computers with 5400 RPM hard drives. You will be at risk of lock ups and all kinds of bad things.

I'll go into detail in my next post but I have to tell you I spent six hours yesterday going through retail and online sites.

The horror. I could not find an acceptable consumer level desktop computer that didn't cheap out on the hard drive, the CPU or the quality of the build.

One more thing. I can't buy Apple. Word is they are about to ditch their MacPro line. All of my stuff is in PC land. It is not an option.

Next time, what consumer level video gal really needs in a desktop computer.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love actual comments. Please understand that comments will be held until I get a chance to look them over or wake up, whichever comes first.

Spam and other forms of hate speech are not welcome here. And due to the actions of spam bots and the people that love them moderation is in full effect.