If you want to build a first-class computer — a PC that does advanced computational work (like video editing), plays the latest computer games, and has high-quality video — then here’s the equipment you'll need to build this power user’s dream:

Computer Component What to Look For
Case Full-tower model; dual or triple fan
CPU/motherboard The fastest doggone Core 2 Extreme Edition or Athlon Phenom processor available; PCI and PCI-Express slots
System RAM 2GB to 4GB
Hard drive One SATA drive, 500GB minimum
Optical Drive 16x dual-layer Blu-ray/DVD recorder
Floppy drive One 3.5-inch, 1.44MB disk drive
Modem Cable/DSL modem for broadband
Video card PCI-Express 3-D adapter, 512MB minimum of video memory; NVIDIA or ATI graphics chipset with TV tuner
Sound card PCI audio card with Surround Sound, 3-D positional sound, hardware MP3 encoding
Monitor 21-inch widescreen LCD display
Ports Four to six USB ports, one FireWire port, digital media card reader, and one eSATA port
Input Ergonomic keyboard with extra Windows keys, trackball