My two hobbies are Digital Photography and PC computers. Iíve looked into using a Mac in the past but found that it would just be too expensive for me to make the switch. I would also loose the ability to make frequent upgrades which I enjoy. The Mac is a good platform for your digital darkroom because of the control that Apple has over the hardware and software. This control makes it easier to make a stable platform. This does not mean that you can not have a stable PC. You can but you can also end up with a very unstable PC if you are not careful about what hardware or software that you use. Iím not interested in a PC vs Mac debate. I have chosen the PC and so naturally this site has PC based information. However, if someone with knowledge of the Mac wants to provide useful information on Macís hardware and software then I will be happy to include it.
Most PCís that you can buy in the store are not very good computers for the demands of photo processing. Most of the parts that are used in these computers are not very good quality, are bottom of the line, or are the bear minimum. Buying a computer in the store is like rolling the dice, you might get a good one and you might not. The 2 most important parts that are most often neglected are the power supply and the motherboard. A poor quality or under powered power supply can make even the best computer unstable. Store bought computers have low powered power supplies that are designed to have just enough power to operate the computer that they are matched with. You will probably run into problems when you try to add hardware to these computers. These computers also have limited upgrade potential.
I have heard a lot of good comments about Dell computers although I have never used one. It is because of those comments that I recommend that you buy a Dell computer unless you want to build your own computer. It isnít difficult if you are willing to put some effort into it. The result of building your own is that for about the same money as you would spend to buy a decent computer you could build a very good one with the specs that you want.
This site is geared to providing information for digital photography and so Iím not going to go into how to build your own computer at this time. However, since the computer is the digital darkroom, I am going to provide a number of links that will help you to track down the parts that you need to upgrade the computer that you have or build your own. I want to stress one point about your computer, make sure that you get a high quality and powerful power supply.