I love my computer. There, I said it, and I’m not ashamed. I’ve had her for a few years now, and I hand-picked all the parts before a third-party company assembled it for me, tested it and shipped me my unique baby. My wife rolls her eyes at “Beauty” as I call her, but I’ve been a geek since my first computer (a Commodore 64, to date myself) and I have always loved having a tricked out rig built to my specs. However, I must admit I’m not exactly loyal, because I’ve been cheating on Beauty every now and again with an Alienware gaming laptop I have as well. It’s a newer and slightly faster computer than my once kick-butt desktop, plus it’s portable and a bit of a geek status symbol. However, as much as I love my gaming laptop, nothing beats a solid desktop PC for a long-haul night of decapitating digital zombies, slaying pixelated orcs… or catching six straight hours of Breaking Bad on Netflix (I’m a bit behind in my TV viewing … ). It’ll soon be time for a new rig, and this month I got to do some advance window shopping as I share my idea of the ultimate PC multimedia setup.
Build Your PC or Buy It?
When you’re thinking about getting a new computer, the first thing you have to decide is if you should buy all the parts yourself and craft your own PC or buy something right off the shelf? That’s a big subject, and one Brad covers thoroughly in his Building Your Own Gaming PC series, but for the purpose of this article, I’m just going to cover what you’ll need to have that dream multimedia PC setup. How you get there is up to you. Best Buy has all the parts you’ll need to build it yourself, as well as pretty kickin’ off-the-shelf gaming and multimedia rigs from the right names like Asus, Alienware, Dell and more.
The PC Essentials
If you want to stream HD movies and play all the latest games, then you’re going to need a good computer. Make sure it’s got one of the latest Intel Cores (newer and faster means you won’t have to upgrade for a while), and at least 8 to 16 GBs of RAM. You don’t want to skimp on the guts of your PC, otherwise the rest of your setup is not going to be worth the cost. Your base PC is also going to need a decent next gen video card, as well, so it renders both the HD video and graphics in jaw-dropping quality.
The Multimedia Setup
Your fast computer doesn’t mean anything if its connection to the internet is slow. No matter how good your processor or video card, your HD movies are going to take forever to stream (pausing to buffer a million times along the way) and you are going to get fragged in every first person shooter if your router is outdated. I tried out the D-Link AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi Router for a review and ended up buying it, just because of the noticable difference it gave my multimedia fun. Another must-have for the ultimate multimedia setup is a nice, big monitor. Considering how the technology is advancing so quickly, I’d get ahead of the curve and pick up a 4K widescreen monitor for a truly cinematic experience. For some options, check out Brad’s review of the Philips 40-inch widescreen 4K Ultra HD monitor, and also his comparison of other widescreen monitors. Make sure your PC has a BluRay drive in addition to the regular CD drive, because you’ll want to be able to enjoy all your media and movies on that new eye-popping big screen.
The Sound Of Music … and More
For me, sound has always been as important as the visuals, so my dream multimedia PC would not only have a really good sound card inside, but it would be pumping those digitally enhanced decibels out of a fine multichannel stereo system with surround sound speakers … two on the desk facing me, two behind, and a big ‘ol bass speaker on the floor annoying my neighbours. Of course, I do have kids, so I’ll also need some good Bose or Sony headphones so I can stay up all night on a movie or MMO marathon.
Toss in a good gaming mouse, lighted ergonomic keyboard and a comfortable computer chair and you’ve got my new ultimate PC multimedia setup that I’ll be dreaming about from now on … just nobody tell “Beauty” yet.
Do you have a dream machine? Please share in the comments.