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[ The PC Guide | The PC Buyer's Guide | Requirements Analysis | PC Use Profiles ]

"Hobbyist" PC

Description: A PC for someone who wants to use it to experiment, and learn about PC hardware and software. Such a system can be used for a variety of other purposes as well, of course. There is a lot of common ground between hobbyists and gamers, since the performance requirements of high-end games often make hobbyists out of PC gamers trying to maximize performance. Both groups are usually (but not always) in roughly the same demographic categories.

Typical Applications Used: Games, Internet connectivity, other entertainment software, multimedia (music and video). Many hobbyists also use specialized software that requires high performance.

More Important Requirements Factors: Performance, cost, expandability, upgradeability.

Less Important Requirements Factors: Reliability, availability, service, ergonomics and usability.

Performance Priorities: This varies more than you might think. Most hobbyists care about performance more than probably anything else, but others are satisfied with less performance and care most about learning about the hardware and playing with it. Some are primarily concerned with "bang for the buck", or getting the most performance for a given expenditure of funds. Overclocking is popular amongst hobbyists.

Recommended PC Types: Home-built PC.

Recommended Sources: If you want to learn about PC hardware then you should strongly consider building your own PC: there's no substitute for it. This means buying your own components, typically online or at a computer show. If you are new to hardware and building your own seems daunting, another option is to start with a used PC or build-to-order PC and upgrade its components over time. This may reduce the initial outlay of funds, but in the end may be more expensive.

Budget: Varies from a couple of hundred dollars to many thousands, depending entirely on what the hobbyist is trying to do. Typically about $1000 to $2000.

Next: Small Business / Home Office System

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