Before It’s Earned…

With DopplerDesign up and running I’m spending more time (is that even possible) in front of a PC. Now it’s mainly work time.

I’ve noticed my main computer is getting too slow for the tasks thrown at it. Time for a new PC!

A few months ago I was going to write a blog entry about the death of desktop computers. For most people there’s no need to get a PC that’s tied to one location. Laptops and tablets are what’s selling. This is a special case.

I expect to edit lots of photos and video, both CPU intensive tasks. The new box will need a fast CPU, a fast video card, lots of RAM and a solid state disk. I plan on using two 1920×1080 monitors.

A few years ago my friend Peter noted we’ve spent the last few decades buying computers that cost about the same, but do a lot more. My first “PC compatible” had a 40 MB hard drive. In addition to the SSD the new machine will have a 1 TB drive. That’s 25,000 times more space.

Imagine if we could do that with closets!

Did I mention I’ll have to build this computer? There’s none off-the-shelf configured the way I want… at the price I want. You can surely spend a lot if you’re not careful.

Building is not as difficult as it might seem. Each part has only one matching slot on the motherboard. The question is, have I’ve ordered all the needed parts?

Since this is custom in every way, there will be no instructions. I’ve done it before. They always fire up and run the first time.

OK, I do get nervous when I hit the switch that first time.

By mentioning the new computer here I take the first step. The actual build is probably a few months away. Over that time I’ll obsess over and refine every piece of hardware on the list.

You can look and see the current specs here.

11 thoughts on “Before It’s Earned…”

  1. Geoff,

    I think you could do better with the monitors. A dual 21″ setup is fine. But, a dual 27″ 2560 x 1440 is unmatched for screen real estate and clarity. You can pick up a korean IPS monitor with the same LG panel hardware thats on Apple iMacs for around $350 each. These are reputable ebay sellers that provide fast free shipping, warranties, and a return policy. I know it would be a $400 price increase on your upstart while unemployed budget. But I think its well worth it. Test drive an IPS Dell Ultrasharp at a Best Buy to check out these Ultra-HD monitors.

    1. Recommending anything dell is like handing someone a pool with a leaking filter. Its gonna do the job, you’ll have fun, but the maintenance is gonna irritate you.

  2. Got to laugh at all those parts, and just one piece with 3.99 shipping.

    And the sad part is the total cost is less than I paid for my 48k no hard drive Heathkit somewhere around 1980.

  3. Deb, loved your post. I remember those days well. VIC20(with tape drive), C64 and then Amiga. I look back on those days with fondness!

  4. My two cents:

    If you are going to be keeping a lot of data on the computer AND want some serious up-time: 1. get rid of the internal 1TB and replace with an external solution with at least RAID 1 (this way, if need be, you can plug into another computer easily, and your data is redundant if one disk fails) 2. add another SSD and set the disks to RAID 1 and use it just for your OS and apps. I have seen SSD drives go bad…it’s not pretty…

    If you want to be more serious about data protection and up time buy a third SSD and build your OS and apps on that, then unplug it and leave it in the tower until you are hit with a crazy virus or have some bad Windows problem that leaves you with a non-functioning OS. …just unplug the two SSD’s and plug in the reserve and you are back up and running. (would need to occasionally plug in the reserve to run security updates!) Also, you should think about having off site data storage solution.

    Also, I agree with whoever said to get larger monitors…21 inch is small especially with todays 16:9 screens. Lastly, I know I’ve told you before, but do get a color calibration tool for those monitors….otherwise what looks like orange to you may look like brown on someone else’s monitor. Although, on the other hand, most people who will be viewing the website you build will have uncalibrated monitors so I guess it really doesn’t matter. It matters for getting stuff printed though. So if you started doing design/branding stuff such as website + business cards + menus + flyers you are going to want the printed product to match what you see on the screen.

    Sorry, that was way more than just two cents!!!! I sort of miss building computers now that I’ve gone Mac! : )

  5. Geoff, I have to agree with Josh about getting bigger monitors! I am a programmer and I use a pair of 24″ and a 27″ monitors they have come in handy! I would recommend in getting he biggest SSD you can afford 128gb may seem like a lot, but they fill up quick. Windows 7 alone is going to take up a good chunk of space. Microcenter also runs pretty good deals on mother board and CPU combos if they what you want in stock! At the moment they offer an additional $50 off when getting the 3550k processor, its a step down from what you have picked. The biggest downside to Microcenter is that the motherboard and CPU are in store only.

  6. I have a SSD at 128gb and they do fill up fast, with windows 7, paintshop and a decent word processor on it not to mention flash editing software ect It is a good investment. I would recomend getting at least 16gb of ram too sounds excessive but if im running all these programs at the same time (which often happens) it puts a huge drain on memory and cpu power, I opted for a 6 core AMD 1100xt I use duel monitors AND a 40 inch LCD tv, as with more and more people using TV based internet I figured it was a reasonable precaution to take, also it helps with photo editing to get it just so….. Most my work is graphical based either in flash and its many varients or photoshop so a powerful graphics card is a must, My HTML coding ect is minimal though so I can offer no advice with that side of your operation. I wish you the upmost sucess in your venture though.

  7. I would also ensure you have a backup power supply and swappable hard drives if possible. JUST IN CASE. I also agree that there should be an external drive – easier to swap out drives if necessary.

    The larger the monitor the more you can see detail on small items – go for it.

    While I’m not a techie (I work for a techie company) – I don’t see an external backup for your files? Or am I just not seeing it.

    And remember – save early, save often! Nothing worse than working on something for hours only to have one slip of the mouse (or power issue) wipe out everything.

    I also assume you already have a UPS for those ‘power issues’.

  8. Since you are going into this professionally, I’d recommend buying a backup service like crashplan ( They offer unlimited space for backup at a very low price. The service automatically backs up your data to “the cloud” and all your data is automatically encrypted. If your hard drive or computer dies, you can restore the data to any other machine. As a bonus, the service saves all the various revisions of all of your files so you can revert to an older version if your data gets corrupt or you make a mistake. No worrying about copying to an external drive, or keep track of what is where. It does its think in the background and “just works”.

    A great value, and its personally saved my bacon a few times!

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