For the average digital citizen of the 2020s, a desktop PC is might not be something often encountered. Even most workspaces are comfortable with a suitable laptop, and most of us are running around with phones in our pocket. However, in the office workspace, the PC still has its place.
Let’s start with your site. Web hosting, even for a dedicated server, will have a negligible price tag compared to the big PC set-up.
Once in your website, you’ll typically be using WordPress. Why use WordPress? Because it’s installed on one-third of the top 10 million websites in existence. It’s so widely used that support, maintenance, plug-ins, and third-party help will be easy to find. In fact, since you’re involved in the chief endeavor of your power PC usage, you might find yourself too busy producing in your chosen industry to want to take time out to manage a blog, so consider hiring freelance help for that end.
WordPress does have the capability to host multimedia content. Most of that is out-of-the-box, and the rest is available through plug-ins. If you have advanced requirements for the website user experience, you might look into Drupal or Joomla, but for the most part, WordPress has you covered.
Who Needs A Desktop PC?
Doing anything productive on a computer usually requires a menagerie of specialized software and sometimes hardware too. This doesn’t hold true for some fields, such as social media influencers or bloggers. But here are some professions which, if you’re blogging for them and want to be an industry thought leader in that field, you’ll want an advanced rig:
- Gamers – Think eSports and competitive Twitch streamers. Hundreds of people make a living this way now.
- Graphic artists – Photoshop is still a hefty memory user, and rendering 3D scenes in Blender is still a hardware-intensive process.
- Game design – Folds the above two industries into one.
- AI research – Silicon Valley is always throwing big money around at buzzwords like “Internet of Things” and blockchains.
- Cryptocurrency – Got to mine those Bitcoins!
- Software development – You’ll need compilers, scripting engines, libraries, and probably a virtualization layer or two, with the resources to run all that.
- Musicians and audio artists – Sound production on the desktop puts a whole virtual sound engineer’s format desk at your fingertips.
- Video production – Indie film directors are a burgeoning home market. YouTube has also given us the modern Internet video celebrity.
- Multimedia artists – Combining all of the above media into one.
- Tech hobbyists – Niche markets for vintage tech emulators, obscure operating systems, Arduino and Raspberry Pi enthusiasts, and other pursuits.
Components To Care About
Here’s a set of guidelines for specs you want on a power-user PC:
- Processing power – AMD’s recent release of Ryzen Gen 3 has placed them in the lead in terms of price vs. performance. Aim for a Ryzen 3600 or better. If you’re on a tight budget, second-gen Ryzen is currently on sale. If you’re determined to go Intel, aim for at least a quad-core, 8-thread processor.
- Memory – “All the RAM you can cram” is still an oft-repeated axiom. 16GB is the floor here. DDR4 is the current best option. If you’re going for a newer system, aim for a ram speed over 3000 and the lowest latency possible (Try for 16 and under). Ryzen CPUs sometimes get finicky with RAM, so make sure your kit supports Ryzen.
- Disk – You’ll want an optical drive here to read/write CDs and DVDs.
- Video card – The top names are nVidia and AMD. There are cards at multiple price points, depending what you want to do. Here’s a guide.
- Keyboard – If you want to game, you may want to go mechanical here. Otherwise, most keyboards will do the job.
- Mouse – Of course you want a mouse, but with this set-up, you want a Logitech trackball cordless. Once you use it, anything else will feel primitive.
- Operating system – This is a divider. If you’re going for gaming or media design/creation, the latest Windows is your only option. If you’re aiming for development, programming, emulation, or research, Linux makes more sense, currently Linux Mint is the best though you may want Gentoo or Red Hat. If you want it all, you may have to partition the hard drive and dual-boot.
External to the PC, you will want a strong Internet connection when you’re streaming a Fortnite match or uploading a big video. This calls for a home router, although most Netgear and Sysco store-boughts will do fine here because your limiting factor is your ISP. Hopefully, you live somewhere where you have a choice. Research around and see if your local providers offer commercial-grade options.
If you have all of the above assembled into a running system, take a moment to savor your victory! You’re a proud member of the tech elite.