22 April 2013 by Permi Krishna
A multimedia computer delivers media such as movies, music, photos, media editing and web browsing. Because of the multiple uses of this class of computer, it can be tough to decide on the best desktop for multimedia uses.
Define Your Needs
You need to have a clear picture of the intended use of the computer. Will it serve as an extra television? Is the primary use going to be streaming video off the internet? Will you also use it for a gaming center, or other heavy-duty uses like video or music editing? Is a CD or DVD going to be advanced enough, or will you need a Blu-Ray player?
The computer is going to need a certain amount of processing power, storage space, memory and video display capabilities to do a satisfactory job. You need a central processing unit (CPU) design that is less than a couple of years old, about 4 GB of random access memory (RAM). For good video capability, the current standard is 512 megabytes of memory on a modern video processor. These are the minimum requirements when looking for the best desktop for multimedia.
It will also need one or more large hard drives to store the media, two 1 terabyte hard drives at least. A fast internet connection such as a cable modem or a 4G is necessary for streaming movies and video. Most other USB modems are incapable of offering the ability to move the large amounts of data required for multimedia needs, so a cable modem is highly recommended for the internet connection. Finally, you will need a large display monitor for the computer to make it easy on the eyes. There is no single brand of display monitor that is better suited than any other. A 19-inch or larger size of display is recommended.
Explore your options
Some operating systems will only work on certain computers like iOS on Apple devices, unlike the Windows which runs on almost any compatible hardware. For a Windows computer, the best CPU is also the newest and most expensive one, the Intel Core i7 processor. AMD brand CPUs are used most often by serious gamers, engineering professionals and for supercomputing. While advertised heavily in computer stores, these processors are specialized for those needs and are not generally well suited for multimedia applications.
The only graphics processor that will meet multimedia needs is the Nvidia brand with 512 megabytes of memory or more. There are other brands of video processors, but currently Nvidia is well-supported by every software maker and most other brands are not.
All Windows operating systems are designed specifically to run multimedia, so buy the latest Windows version available at the time of purchase.
Some computers have a "tower" configuration. This refers to a separate, vertically shaped box-like case with the power supply, storage and processing equipment for the computer. Similar to this is the horizontal or flat desktop computer, which is like a tower in design, but with a horizontally oriented rectangular case. In this design, the display monitor will sit on top of the case.
One of the latest ideas is the all-in-one design, which may have slightly less power for the same price as a box-style computer but consolidates all of the components with the display unit to reduce clutter and create free space. The reason this type of machine is slightly less powerful than the others is because it uses technology from laptop and tablet computers to save space and reduce heat.
On summarizing, our list of best desktops is limited to those desktops which support 4GB of internal memory, hard drive capacity of at least 500GB and an Intel Core i5 processor and above configurations, and check out our list of best desktops which is based on these specifications.
Check out our list of best multimedia PCs, top rated by some of the best desktop reviewers around the web.