First, I apologize for the long post. I have a lot to cover, so I thank those of you who take the time to read through it all.
I'm thinking about buying a new PC to replace my current one, but the problem is I'm not very savvy when it comes to hardware specs. With this new computer, I'm looking to spend moderately and get the most bang for my buck.
Before I get into the hardware, here is what I'm planning to use this computer for: Amongst the usual being able to handle Photoshop and other programs open at once without much slow down, I'm looking for this computer to handle HD video without slow down as well, covering both playback AND production (editing, rendering, etc.). This includes animation. Being able to handle audio production is a plus, too. I'm not looking for a gaming PC. This is strictly for media production.
As far as hardware goes, I'm looking for a customizable PC I'll be able to upgrade in the future with ease, meaning I'm not after some Dell PC bundle-like offers. I'd like to be able to switch out video/sound cards and other additions without too much trouble. I've been reading up on base systems, also known as "barebones" and it sounds like a guarantee as long as the motherboard is high-end enough and compatible with other hardware I buy. However I'm torn because barebones are apparently low-end for money-saving purposes and could mean spending more on replacements and/or the items left out of the kit. I'm not sure it's the best choice financially.
Judging from TigerDirect, it seems a lot of generic brands are included with their barebones kits, so I'm inclined to believe it may not be the best option.
There's also building one from scratch, which I'm open to doing however I'm not sure I possess the necessary knowledge or ability to do it. I've only gone so far as to add RAM and USB/FireWire cards to my PC so I'm not sure I qualify. I understand the overall build of my current computer; I can look at the wires and recognize how things are connected, but if it were disassembled, I don't think I could put it back together. I'm afraid that without proper instructions, I won't know how to construct it.
Currently I'm really leaning towards building one from scratch, but I'm looking for suggestions as to what my options are and which are best. I'm trying not to spend more than $2,000 (including a new monitor, which I already have picked out but I'm open to suggestions on those, too). I'd appreciate any details that could help me get the best PC I can for my money, if that means going with a 64-bit processor (though I'd still probably be using XP) instead of a 32-bit, I'd like to know that, too. In general, any recommendations and assistance with parts or how to go about learning to build one from scratch would be really appreciated.
Thanks in advanced.