Originally Posted by Stagger Lee
Promagistrate, I'd quote your post but my computer keeps freezing because I have youtube up. What could I do for $500 that would be better than the HP I linked to?
Probably afford yourself a nicer processor and extra RAM. If you're wanting to do recording, you'll want a modest amount of RAM (8gb minimum, 16gb would give you comfortable rendering times, and 24gb would be that dopeness). You're also going to want to pick up a sound card to go along with your recording interface (especially if it doesn't have any kind of sound processing on it. most do, but a soundcard with optical in/out is going to be ideal, especially if you're looking for quality audio playback). Graphics card would be whatever you're comfortable with spending money on. You could spend $200, you could spend $500. Just depends on what you want to do.
If I were you, and wanted to spend only ~$500, I'd get the "core" of your system built. So like, a nice 1-2TB platter drive and/or a 128/256gb SSD, motherboard, DVD drive, a CPU and PSU, and some RAM, then decided what inputs/outputs you need from a sound card and pick that up after, then wait and get your video card last, since that will most likely be the single most expensive thing you get.
It really depends on what you have already too. Do you have a monitor? Keyboard? Mouse? Any extra harddrives you can use for storage of less important things like pictures/movies/music?
Depending on the recording interface you have too, you may need a firewire or thunderbolt card as well, since most mobos don't have firewire on them anymore. Most still have the hubs for the controls on the front of the case to plug into, but they're often absent from the ports on the back panel. If it's USB 3.0 you should be fine without firewire, but just double check your interface first.
More or less it's about tailoring it towards your interests rather than getting a "better" system. You could spend $500 on that HP and be happy until you find you need something it doesn't have or doesn't do, or you could spend an extra $100-$300 on something more specialized and not need to **** with it ever again.