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I'm looking to put together a 'multi-purpose PC' (details below), but realizing it's been 10+ years since I've done so, I've realized I'm completely out of touch. I've (slowly) been working on getting myself up to speed, but in the interest of time, relative to potential holiday sales, I was hoping you guys could provide some guidance.
Borrowing from the format monochrome19 used in his thread:
What will you be doing with this PC? Be as specific as possible, and include specific games or programs you will be using.
Gaming (Firefall, TUG, Planet Explorers, Final Fantasy XIII series, Skyrim and some older games)
Adobe Lightroom, MS Office
Virtualization (either MS or VMware)
Video streaming (Netflix, Hulu, etc)
What is your maximum budget before rebates/shipping/taxes?
When do you plan on building/buying the PC? Note: beyond a week or two from today means any build you receive will be out of date when you want to buy.
Within the next week.
What, exactly, do you need included in the budget? (Tower/OS/monitor/keyboard/mouse/etc)
Case and all internal hardware.
Which country (and state/province) will you be purchasing the parts in? If you're in US, do you have access to a Microcenter location?
PA, US. No to Microcenter.
Will you be overclocking? If yes, are you interested in overclocking right away, or down the line? CPU and/or GPU?
Not intending to overclock. The flexibility to would be nice, but not if it significantly impacts budget.
Are there any specific features or items you want/need in the build? (ex: SSD, large amount of storage or a RAID setup, CUDA or OpenCL support, etc)
(want) SSD drive.
Do you have any specific case preferences (Size like ITX/microATX/mid-tower/full-tower, styles, colors, window or not, LED lighting, etc), or a particular color theme preference for the components?
mid-tower or smaller. No color preference.
Do you need a copy of Windows 7 or 8.1 included in the budget? If you do need one included, do you have a preference for one or the other?
OS prices seem fairly static and have already accounted for this separately. Will likely end up on Windows 8.1 in case that has any impact on part selection.
Extra info or particulars:
Gaming is pretty light with maybe 1 hour/day with possibly a bit more on the weekends. Not terribly concerned about running "everything on ultra", but would like to run current gen games with mid-to-high settings if budget allows.
Photo editing: Primarily done with Lightroom working with Canon RAW files. This is only used a few times per week for a couple hours at a time.
Virtualization will entail running roughly 3 Windows 2008/2012 VMs for lab/scripting/educational. These will be spun up on demand and not constantly running. Realizing this may require a decent amount of RAM, as more VMs are running, I have no issue sacrificing some RAM at time of build, and upgrading later, to keep initial cost within budget.
Video streaming: Would like to occasionally hook it up to the TV (LCD, 1080p) for Netflix playback (or even Steam BigPicture)
kids (7 and under) may use the computer for some gaming/educational.
This PC will be in the main living area and the quieter/less noticeable, the better.
Not married to any particular brand or vendor for anything. Would prefer to be able to have everything shipped and avoid "in store pickup" deals.
Let me know if there is an additional info I can provide and thanks for taking the time to look at this.
"There's a point I think we're missing.
It's in the air we raise our fists in."
-from Behind Closed Doors by Rise Against