• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Need Advice on Purchasing New PC

Prana Ferox

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Feb 6, 2020
Messages
888
Likes
1,813
Location
NoVA, USA
Realistically if you're on a PC that's a few years old and wasn't maxxed out when you bought it / put it together, anything sold today is going to feel lightning fast. The competition between AMD / Intel has really pulled even the baseline forward tremendously. I'm typing this on what was a top-line, overclocked i7-7700k and a bottom end i3 now matches it in spec. If your machine is old enough to still have spinning hard drives, a move to SSD would be even more dramatic.

So ask yourself -
- Desktop or laptop? A laptop you could still plug in a big monitor, keyboard etc but you'd be paying for parts you might not need. That being said, the consumer desktop market is pretty dead. Keep in mind at the low end for both the sellers will do dumb things for profit like still including a spinning HDD, or only give you one DRAM stick. If you want to edit 4k video you almost certainly need a big 4K standalone monitor regardless.
- Discrete video card or not? This is a pretty big bump up in cost and these days usually means getting a 'gaming' computer with a bunch of other unnecessary junk in it. "Edit GoPro videos" is a bit vague but I'll interpret that as you're not doing a ton of 3D rendering.
- Buy it whole or build it yourself? I haven't bought a new pre-built desktop this, uh, millenium and think it's generally much better to select your own parts. Laptops obviously that isn't an option, and buying used is a different thing.

If you were just complaining your existing PC was slow and it still had a HDD, I'd say replace that with an SDD. But you're having reliability problems too so probably best to start fresh.

I'd say the sweet spot right now for the non-gamer is the AMD APUs, the 5600G and the 5700G, and a few older / business variants. If you're not non-casually gaming they are more than enough, lots of cores, very energy efficient, easy to cool etc - so an easy DIY build and a cheap pre-built. You probably don't need a discrete graphics card, and the integrated graphics on these are way more powerful than you get with Intel. AMD AM4 (the socket these use) parts are really cheap right now, and so is DDR4 DRAM and SSD flash. (You could even find a used HP Prodesk or other similar business computer, and be sure of getting quality stuff). Make sure you're getting two DRAM sticks to take advantage of dual-channel memory, and for video editing I'd get more than usual (but you can always add more later.)

Personally I would DIY but if you've never done it before, find a friend or family member who can walk you through it, and watch some youtube, especially on things like putting the CPU in, mounting the heatsink, putting the DRAM in. Of course if you go laptop that's moot.
 
OP
Rottmannash

Rottmannash

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 11, 2020
Messages
2,957
Likes
2,590
Location
Nashville
Thanks everyone for all the great advice. I have a laptop but don't use it much-it also stutters trying to play 4k content. For the Go Pro issue, I need to be able to literally watch the video then snip to upload to YT-nothing exotic. My PC's (2 ASUS, one old and one ancient) cannot play 4k anything-it will stutter or simply freeze, even though the audio is playing fine. I guess what I need to know is what is the minimum spec to play 4k video, more than anything. I have already replaced the "spinning" drives w/ SSD's on both machines, and on the laptop which sped them all up when booting and basic switching between apps but now my main PC is going to sleep and when any key is struck to wake it it won't wake so I have to turn it off/back on, which is getting frustrating.

I have used compressed air to clean the dust from the CPU/fan mucho times, as it gets very dirty after a couple months. My concern is over trying to replace something important like the CPU or video graphics card, as I'm not sure even where they are. YT videos took my through swapping the HDD's for SSD's and that wasn't too difficult but not sure I'd be confident making my own PC or trying to upgrade either one of these elderly PCs.

I assumed gaming PC's were too much performance but figured they probably had the best graphics cards and CPU's but there has to be a PC that will do what I need w/o paying for a gaming PC. I live near the Dell HQ's here in Nashville but don't know if they are considered quality.

Someone mentioned a store where one could pick out components and build you own or have them build it. I dont' think I've ever heard of that company. Are they in the US?
 

Spkrdctr

Major Contributor
Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Messages
2,186
Likes
2,904
If you look online, you will find some companies that just about build anything for you. You tell them what you want in the computer from their list of options and they put it all together. The main issue is that for your level of need you do not need the current fad in computing, an expensive blazing fast gaming PC. You are looking for about what I have now and mine is 4 years old. I didn't know enough and had HP build me one custom, and in the end it was more expensive because HP was involved. Now I would either build it myself (very dangerous and probably I'd break most of it) or have a friend or online company build it. Shopping around on line can be fun and entertaining for a few weeks.:)

I do want to add that my computer knowledge is at the level of most grade school kids (thus the HP custom build). So take my advice with caution!
 

Prana Ferox

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Feb 6, 2020
Messages
888
Likes
1,813
Location
NoVA, USA
Essentially anything can play back 4k video now. My tiny $200 Beelink from Amazon can do that. It would take a long while to encode a video, but maybe you don't care about that. (4k at 120hz is a bit exotic, if you're doing that.)

Is there a GoPro forum where you can ask what people are using? Always best to go to those who are using your primary application. Once you have better idea of spec, figuring out how to buy / build it is easier.
 

Marc v E

Major Contributor
Joined
Mar 9, 2021
Messages
1,106
Likes
1,604
Location
The Netherlands (Holland)
If are into Windows, check out Dell's Outlet website. If you sign up and play your cards right you can sometimes get 50% or more off on a computer. They have options for most every budget.

I have purchased several computers from there over the years, and they have been fantastic machines for the price every-time.

---

The Apple M1 chips are super solid (other than Bluetooth being buggy on many of their machines these days).

---

Also do you have a Microcenter nearby? That is a great place to walk in and purchase a computer, their pricing is great and their staff are knowledgeable.
@Rottmannash I would only consider apple laptops for myself, but if you really want Windows I would advice Dell's, like the Dell Precision 5560.

The mac mini is most probably the best buy if you buy mac
 

JSmith

Master Contributor
Joined
Feb 8, 2021
Messages
5,035
Likes
12,817
Location
Algol Perseus
Someone mentioned a store where one could pick out components and build you own or have them build it.
I was looking around and there are a number of PC stores in Nashville. I always like to go to these small stores and they will build a PC to requirements, often for $100 - $150 on top on the parts cost. I noticed there are a few places that do refurbished PC's too, which can often mean a cheaper PC. As always though it pays to shop around and keep an eye on prices at different places.

Since you're wanting to do 4K video editing, you will probably be better served with a mid level GPU in there too rather than just integrated graphics. A recent gen i5 should be fine with plenty of RAM and an SSD.


JSmith
 
OP
Rottmannash

Rottmannash

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 11, 2020
Messages
2,957
Likes
2,590
Location
Nashville
@Rottmannash I would only consider apple laptops for myself, but if you really want Windows I would advice Dell's, like the Dell Precision 5560.

The mac mini is most probably the best buy if you buy mac
aren't they laptops? need a PC.
 
OP
Rottmannash

Rottmannash

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 11, 2020
Messages
2,957
Likes
2,590
Location
Nashville
I was looking around and there are a number of PC stores in Nashville. I always like to go to these small stores and they will build a PC to requirements, often for $100 - $150 on top on the parts cost. I noticed there are a few places that do refurbished PC's too, which can often mean a cheaper PC. As always though it pays to shop around and keep an eye on prices at different places.

Since you're wanting to do 4K video editing, you will probably be better served with a mid level GPU in there too rather than just integrated graphics. A recent gen i5 should be fine with plenty of RAM and an SSD.


JSmith
This sounds like the proper approach. I'll check some local stores out.
 

JeffS7444

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 21, 2019
Messages
2,339
Likes
3,483
If this is a tower-type PC, I'd be tempted to see if the parts were industry-standard types, in which case updating just the innards becomes a possibility.

Pretty much any PC made within the past few years, above the Intel Celeron level, ought to handle 4K video nicely.

Separate video and audio cards may not be needed if you choose a CPU which incorporates video on board, and a motherboard which already contains audio, which most do.

Downside with this approach is that you need to buy a Windows license, and if you rely on any other software which came pre-installed on your PC, chances are it can't be transferred to the new one without paying for more software licenses.

In the Windows PC world, I'm not aware of any dramatic innovations headed our way, so much as the usual evolutionary trend towards faster yet cheaper. Probably an excellent time to be bargain-hunting, as sales of Windows PCs are dismal right now.

The world at large doesn't seem all that interested in the Metaverse and it's ilk, save for games.

OTOH, there's Apple. Chances are, even the least expensive model with 256-512 GB SSD would work nicely, with the bulk of data storage on an external device of your choosing. The standard suite of apps might be all you need.
 

JeffS7444

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 21, 2019
Messages
2,339
Likes
3,483
Unless there are 3D effects involved, would a GPU be of any benefit for video editing?
 

voodooless

Grand Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 16, 2020
Messages
10,108
Likes
17,524
Location
Netherlands
Unless there are 3D effects involved, would a GPU be of any benefit for video editing?
Yes! Most modern GPU can do hardware video encoding. If your software supports it, it would speed up the workflow significantly. You don’t need a heavyweight either. Just make sure it contains the needed encoder blocks and that they are supported by your software. It will make a much bigger difference than a CPU upgrade. Obviously the same goes for the decoding features, but they are more ubiquitous.
 

Prana Ferox

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Feb 6, 2020
Messages
888
Likes
1,813
Location
NoVA, USA
If this is a tower-type PC, I'd be tempted to see if the parts were industry-standard types, in which case updating just the innards becomes a possibility.

This is a good reason to stay away from Dell, who uses nonstandard connectors for no good reason.

In the Windows PC world, I'm not aware of any dramatic innovations headed our way, so much as the usual evolutionary trend towards faster yet cheaper. Probably an excellent time to be bargain-hunting, as sales of Windows PCs are dismal right now.

The big thing there is going from DDR4 to DDR5 DRAM. In the context of this discussion though that's unlikely to matter for a few years. For OP's case I wouldn't see the point in building a DDR5 box and dealing with that expense (unless they really want to.)

Yes! Most modern GPU can do hardware video encoding. If your software supports it, it would speed up the workflow significantly. You don’t need a heavyweight either. Just make sure it contains the needed encoder blocks and that they are supported by your software. It will make a much bigger difference than a CPU upgrade. Obviously the same goes for the decoding features, but they are more ubiquitous.

So do iGPUs and an AMD APU is a good compromise. Both Intel and AMD have significantly improved their iGPUs in the last few years. Accelerated decoding of most codecs is built in to most modern CPUs (Intel is a little more up to date here but I doubt it matters with GoPro output.) OP hasn't mentioned encoding speed as a priority and that's something that can be left to run unattended.

I would normally agree with you but right now a discrete GPU is just a tremendous price step up (possibly doubling the cost) for a gain I'm not sure is very important here. That's the kind of question going to a kindred video editing community could better answer.

The modern Macs are also a good choice, especially for people who want it to Just Work. But not everyone can go back and forth between PC and Mac comfortably, and your dollar just doesn't go as far with Apple.
 

voodooless

Grand Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 16, 2020
Messages
10,108
Likes
17,524
Location
Netherlands
So do iGPUs and an AMD APU is a good compromise. Both Intel and AMD have significantly improved their iGPUs in the last few years.
Sure, if they can do encoding, that should be fine. I couldn’t find a lot of resources about it with a quick search, so I gave up ;) Thought that probably somebody here would know.
 

sealman

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Sep 6, 2021
Messages
104
Likes
101
Thanks everyone for all the great advice. I have a laptop but don't use it much-it also stutters trying to play 4k content. For the Go Pro issue, I need to be able to literally watch the video then snip to upload to YT-nothing exotic. My PC's (2 ASUS, one old and one ancient) cannot play 4k anything-it will stutter or simply freeze, even though the audio is playing fine. I guess what I need to know is what is the minimum spec to play 4k video, more than anything. I have already replaced the "spinning" drives w/ SSD's on both machines, and on the laptop which sped them all up when booting and basic switching between apps but now my main PC is going to sleep and when any key is struck to wake it it won't wake so I have to turn it off/back on, which is getting frustrating.

I have used compressed air to clean the dust from the CPU/fan mucho times, as it gets very dirty after a couple months. My concern is over trying to replace something important like the CPU or video graphics card, as I'm not sure even where they are. YT videos took my through swapping the HDD's for SSD's and that wasn't too difficult but not sure I'd be confident making my own PC or trying to upgrade either one of these elderly PCs.

I assumed gaming PC's were too much performance but figured they probably had the best graphics cards and CPU's but there has to be a PC that will do what I need w/o paying for a gaming PC. I live near the Dell HQ's here in Nashville but don't know if they are considered quality.

Someone mentioned a store where one could pick out components and build you own or have them build it. I dont' think I've ever heard of that company. Are they in the US?
The term "Gaming PC" is overused and quite frankly abused in a lot of instances. A lot of manufactures take a mundane PC and add some flashy RGB lights and voila instant "gaming PC".

As old as your current PC is almost anything (new) could be a good to major upgrade. If we had your current PC maker and specs it we could advise you if it is possible to upgrade your PC and whether it is worth it or if buying new is the way to go.

Also it appears that some video editing software relies heavily on a GPU where as most do not so that is another thing to consider.

This site has some good info regarding PC specs for video editing. https://www.logicalincrements.com/articles/videoediting
 

Timcognito

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 28, 2021
Messages
3,163
Likes
11,907
Location
NorCal
 

pau

Member
Joined
Oct 2, 2022
Messages
82
Likes
39
Location
Moon
What ever you get, i suggest getting good case with good airflow and quality PWM case fans so you can run the electrics cool and quiet 24/7 and then ramp them when doing heavy tasks , video editing , rendering or what ever the case might be.

Easy low maintenance and last decades.
 

Marc v E

Major Contributor
Joined
Mar 9, 2021
Messages
1,106
Likes
1,604
Location
The Netherlands (Holland)
One final thought I'd like to add is that I having used both Windows and mac products, my experience is that Apple pcs are cheaper to own in the long run.

The only major disadvantage of a mac is the initial steep price and that the mac mouse is just not as good as logitech. (So I just buy logitech)
 

Timcognito

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 28, 2021
Messages
3,163
Likes
11,907
Location
NorCal
The only major disadvantage of a mac is the initial steep price and the mac mouse that is just not as good as logitech.
And half the software that is available and closed source architecture.
 

JayGilb

Major Contributor
Joined
Jul 22, 2021
Messages
1,336
Likes
2,246
Location
West-Central Wisconsin
Thanks everyone for all the great advice. I have a laptop but don't use it much-it also stutters trying to play 4k content. For the Go Pro issue, I need to be able to literally watch the video then snip to upload to YT-nothing exotic. My PC's (2 ASUS, one old and one ancient) cannot play 4k anything-it will stutter or simply freeze, even though the audio is playing fine. I guess what I need to know is what is the minimum spec to play 4k video, more than anything. I have already replaced the "spinning" drives w/ SSD's on both machines, and on the laptop which sped them all up when booting and basic switching between apps but now my main PC is going to sleep and when any key is struck to wake it it won't wake so I have to turn it off/back on, which is getting frustrating.

I have used compressed air to clean the dust from the CPU/fan mucho times, as it gets very dirty after a couple months. My concern is over trying to replace something important like the CPU or video graphics card, as I'm not sure even where they are. YT videos took my through swapping the HDD's for SSD's and that wasn't too difficult but not sure I'd be confident making my own PC or trying to upgrade either one of these elderly PCs.

I assumed gaming PC's were too much performance but figured they probably had the best graphics cards and CPU's but there has to be a PC that will do what I need w/o paying for a gaming PC. I live near the Dell HQ's here in Nashville but don't know if they are considered quality.

Someone mentioned a store where one could pick out components and build you own or have them build it. I dont' think I've ever heard of that company. Are they in the US?
You may want to go to the OS power/performance settings and select a "reset to default settings" type of option. That may fix you sleep/waking problem.
 
Top Bottom