Help me spec out a new work at home PC?

I’m kind of partial to Intel as well. Maybe just superstition.

Speaking of Costco, as @Dewey_Finn did, this looks good, except the Windows 11 Home OS-- would prefer Win10 Pro. ?Unfortunately, as much as I said I just want out of the box, Costco choices seem very WYSIWYG.

Maybe I should just go to and do a bit of spec’ing…hmm, specing Win10 Pro, NVIDIA graphics, 32GB RAM, 10th Gen Intel Core i7, 512GB SSD gets me this– a tiny bit pricey at $2,059 but doable.

FYI the two products OP mentions (Photoshop and Illustrator) while historically known as performance hogs, the state of hardware advancement has largely outstripped the performance usage of that software.

As per Adobe, recommended GPU for those products is a graphics card with 2GB memory unless trying to use 4K displays, then you should upgrade to 4GB. That would let OP likely get something very cheap GPU wise. Like this entry level system from Lenovo would likely satisfy all requirements + significant buffer: Legion Tower 5 (AMD) with GTX 1660 | Lenovo US

@DMC, that Micro Center computer you shared the link to looks not bad at a hair under $1600! I’m a bit leery of AMD processors though. Is there any reason to prefer Intel over AMD?

I did mention After Effects too, though your suggestion would probably suit my needs.

Yes, you really can’t customize the computers sold through Costco (or Best Buy, Walmart, etc.). If you want custom, you really need to order directly from Dell, HP or so forth.

How do you feel about the bells and whistles? Specifically…

Do you want RGB lighting and/or a tempered glass side panel? If not, would those aspects be dealbreakers?

Do you care about noise?

How about case size? A lot of modern cases are massively huge compared to cases from a decade ago. A case I fell in love with ended up not working out because it turned out to be like 4 in wider and taller and deeper than I wanted. That’s a huge difference; thank goodness I thought to check measurements before actually buying it.

When I was buying, the three main things I was looking for in terms of form factor were no tempered glass, no RGB, and utterly silent. Fortunately the computer I ended up with hit it out of the park on all three counts. (The computer I was replacing was super loud and had a gaudy plastic side panel with horrible lights. It was awful.)

Do you care about front ports? I decided early on that having a USB-C front port was a hard requirement. The problem with that is it greatly limits pre-built selection, which frequently use older cases. USB-C front ports are relatively new in the case world.

(I recently had cause to actually use that USB-C front port to transfer a 12 GB file to my phone, and I was just so happy about how well that worked that I was smiling all day long.)

I use an nvidia geforce gt 1030 at 2560 x 1440 resolution.
Intel i5-10400 2.9 GHz
1T solid state drive
Dell Ultrasharp monitor
Windows 10
Run Adobe (& associated)
Works fine.

BTW, if you want something better than a pair of 1920x1200 monitors, take a look at this 49" 5120 x 1440 monitor.

I used to be a hardcore Intel guy. After years of Linus Sebastian beating me over the head about why AMD sometimes beats Intel in the CPU space, I’ve finally given in. I’d still take an Intel if it was part of a package that I liked, but I no longer shy away from AMD.

When I open DMC’s link for the MicroCenter PC, it says $1200, not $1600. So I may not be looking at the right thing. But it also says “Not available online.” Is there a brick-and-mortar MicroCenter near you?

If you see $1200, then you’re still seeing the sale they were having here when I bought them about 10 days ago. I did forget to mention that you do need a brick and mortar, as these are pickup only and limit 1 per household (which is why I brought my team who will be using them).

For $1200 that’s a ridiculously good deal. The 3060 that comes with it would cost you around $800 all by itself building your own.

EDIT: I’d probably drive up to 100 miles for that system, but the problem is if something goes wrong, it would be super annoying to have to make the round trip for service.

Looking at the Rocket Lake 11th gen with the x500 mobos, it looks like there is no significance to getting a PCIe 4.0 NVME drive over a 3.0 because games don’t really keep loading after the initial load. BUT the video card slot is also a PCIe 4.0 standard so I’m curious how much of a difference that would make over the old 3.0 standard.

I just checked again, and it’s back to 1199.99 here again as well, which is what I paid and as you said, an insane deal for a 4K friendly PC that doesn’t suck in every way. When I first posted, it was $1599.

He’s not a gamer, but he does want some video processing power for Adobe stuff. A PCIe 4.0 NVMe drive would likely be a noticeable improvement for him compared to PCIe 3.0. Also, just having it for Windows is really nice.

Reason I ask is I find that video cards tend to be an early upgrade since everything gets more video processing hungry. So even if not a gamer that video power may be wanted later on.


After relooking at your needs, if I were in your shoes and assuming you have a Micro Center, I’d call the store and make sure it was on sale. Then at the store, I’d see if they’d sell me and install an additional 16 GB memory (the machine has 4 slots and 2 are empty) as well as a reasonably sized physical hard drive for longer term storage. You’d still be far below your $1500 budget with a very nice machine containing this video card (for price comparison purposes).

I concur, with the caveat that I would avoid spinning HDDs and just stick with M.2 for the C: drive and SSD for a D: drive. If you even need a D: drive.

That’s fair. I was being cheap. :slight_smile:

Checking the link again, it did fall to $1200! and I do have a Micro Center store nearby, 22 miles away. Might be time to pull the trigger…

Not to stay hung up on Intel, just out of curiosity, but how does an AMD Ryzen 5 5600X 3.7GHz Processor compare to Intel-- a quick googling shows that they’re benchmarked against i5s, and I was kind of shooting for an i7 level. Not that i5 wouldn;t be sufficient for what I need though.

For Intel I would recommend an i5 11600K. It’s the only 11th gen Intel that’s worth the money when compared to its 10th gen counterpart. (The Gamers Nexus review of the i7 11700K called it a “waste of sand.”)

I can’t in good conscience recommend anything other than that MicroCenter sale. It’s just too good if you have one 22 miles away.

I’m still going to finish speccing a build-your-own to give you context, but I would say you should probably try to grab the MicroCenter system tomorrow. (Give me a half hour to finish my spec first, though.)

EDIT: Userbenchmark says the i5 11600K is a “100” compared to the Ryzen 5 5600’s “92”. So essentially a wash between the two. So I’d say that Ryzen is the exact right one for you if you go AMD.