1. Establish a budget - Decide how much your are willing to spend and try to stay within that budget.
1. Decide on components. I buy everything from Newegg.com. They ship fast and have very competitive prices. Plus, the reviews can be very helpful. Caution must be used because some will give a negative review, but really didn't know what they were doing in the first place.
a. Case - you can go fancy or cheap depending on your budget. Airflow is important so what every you do get something this big fans. I have bought Thermaltake and Coolermaster. Make sure you get something big enough that will allow for future expansion. Also look for something with additional USB ports on the front or top. Think about where the case will set after you have put your computer together.
b. Hard Drives - this is easy. 250 GB minimum. Go with RAID 1 if you want to make sure you don't loose anything due to a hard drive crash.
c. Memory - I have always bought Corsair SMS series. 2 GB minimum - dual channel. Speed probably doesn't matter, but some stuff that is fast is sometimes on a good sale.
d. Processor - this is easy. Intel Core 2 Due then pick your speed based on budget. I have always went middle of the road - 2.4 GHz.
e. Video Card - too many to choose from. I have stuck with eVGA and not been let down. Let your budget decide what you will get. I like ones with a fan and about 128 MB of memory. That is plenty for photo editing and web browsing and also to somewhat future proof your machine.
f. Power Supply - Get modular cables as they will help to keep this cleaner. You will probably want to get something around 400 - 500 Watts. I like the ones with large fans to help keep everything cool. My computer has 5 fans total!! My top of the line pick that I have used twice is the Corsair 520 Watt unit.
g. DVD drive - You may not need a DVD burner, but it doesn't cost that much more than one that only burns CDs so I would recommend a CD/DVD burner combo drive. I like the Pioneer model. Consider adding an additional CD ROM drive to facility burning discs.
h. Motherboard - this can be tricky. I have stuck with Gigabyte and not been let down. Make sure it can accommodate some of the processors to come in the not to distant future and at least 4 GB of RAM.
Scroll down for some pictures of a computer that I buillt.