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Thread: Off-the-shelf Desktop for 1300 max?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    London, UK

    Default Off-the-shelf Desktop for 1300 max?

    Morning everyone,

    Sorry to ask this if it's already been covered elswhere but is anyone able to recommend an all-in-one desktop set-up for about 1200 (1300 max) please, that would fulfill these requirements:

    - good editing performance
    - neat, slimline appearance (i.e. no big bulky base unit)
    - very reliable/good build quality
    - quite nicely designed (I have a problem with ugly-looking PCs hehe!)

    I guess I've just pretty much described an Apple imac haven't I hehe?!

    But as I've only ever used PCs I'm worried that I will find it hard to adapt to the environment and also that some software, websites, etc may be incompatible with macs still? Apologies for my ignorance here but I'm not a techie.

    So is there as PC that can fulfill these requirements too, so that I can compare it against an imac in-store and see which I would prefer?

    As I say, I'm not going to be able to build anything myself so I'm looking for an off-the-shelf package that I can just install the software and go hehe! 1200 is a lot of money for me and I can't afford to bungle my choice!

    If anyone can point me in the right direction I'd really appreciate it.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Bracknell, Berkshire, UK


    Well, it's really difficult to say. Given that your primary concern is the looks of the base unit it's all rather too subjective for most of us to comment on isn't it? Unless we like the same design as you then we'll officially be talking nonsence won't we?

    But basically...

    Don't even conceive of having less than 1Gb of RAM. Have at least two seperate hard drives. One for the OS and one (much larger) for video.
    My current understanding is that for single processor boxes the P4 with HTT are better than AMD. Go for XP Pro rather than Home.
    Strictly speaking, a graphics card will make no difference to performance for video editing. However, some special effects programs do use them so I suggest you don't spend a fortune but do get a seperate card rather than built in graphics.
    Oh and make sure you get a firewire port.

    So anything off the shelf meeting most of this will get you going.

    But also you must remember to budget for s/w as well. This might be, for example, Premiere Elements (about 50) or it might be Premiere Pro (over 400). I just quote these as examples, not recommendations. My point is not to forget the s/w as you won't edit much video without it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    London, UK


    Thanks for the detailed response, Alan.

    Sorry, I did make it sound like all I wanted it for was as a piece of furniture didn't I hehe! The main priority of course is that it works well but I guess what I meant was that I wanted a PC that didn't look like a breeze-block next to an imac. Just something a bit more modern and slimline so it doesn't take up much space.

    I wonder if I could just clarify a few of the points you raised please?

    - What's the benefit of choosing XP Pro rather than Home version? Are there any downsides?

    - Is there a particular type of external hard-drive I should look for (I understand a min 7200 speed is necessary, but should I look for any other spec details in particular? e.g. SATA, Firewire800/400, RAID etc).

    - most off-the-shelf PCs seem to have a graphics card included. You mention getting a separate one though instead. Could I ask why that is? If one is built in already can I take it out for example, or am I missing the point here?

    - if a PCs specs say it has a Firewire socket is that the same as the port you mention? Or is it that you mean I'll need two Firewire sockets so I can link my camcorder and external hard drive at the same time?

    Thanks again for your help. I'm starting to realise I know nothing about computers!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Err - Northamptonshire?


    If I can butt in here/help out...

    I don't think Mike meant an external hard drive. That said, it's difficult to buy an off-the-shelf system with two internal hard drives - although I'm sure e.g. Dell would build you one like that. Internal hard drives are generally preferred because of faster transfer speeds - external are fine for archiving stuff, but not for capturing.

    Re graphics cards: at the higher end of the market, you're right, you usually get a separate graphics card with its own dedicated memory rather than a graphics chip on the mother board that shares system memory. As Mike said, for basic video editing - which would include using Premiere - you really don't need a separate card, but if your system of choice has one, that's fine. But no need to change it.

    Re Firewire: yup, you just need the one Firewire port for connecting your camcorder to, although, as you imply, two could be better if you thought you might ever get an external hard drive. That said, USB 2.0 works just as well with the kind of apps you'd use an external drive for.

    RE: Home vs. Pro - not sure why Mike recommended the latter - I'll be interested to hear. generally, Pro is a better networking OS but I'm not aware of much else that it has that would make it a better video editing platform.

    Good luck...
    Premiere Pro, Encore, Photoshop, Ulead VS6, WXP Pro, Core 2 Duo, 2GB, 2 x 250GB SATA3 drives, 2 x 250GB USB 2 external drive, DVD writer, GeForce 7300 GS 256MB

    The biggest fool can ask questions that the wisest man cannot answer...

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