Ok to start off this is a computer I might consider building. What I wanted was something in about the $1000 range that was reasonably powerful now and left considerable room for upgrades later on. I am only building the tower (I would just reuse my peripherals) and I will just touch on the operating system
First the components
AMD Phenom II X4 975 Black Edition Deneb 3.6GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Desktop Processor HDZ975FBGMBOX http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103923&Tpk=hdz975fbgmbox $160
GIGABYTE GA-970A-D3 AM3+ AMD 970 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128521 $90
GeIL EVO CORSA Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900) Desktop Memory Model GOC316GB1866C9QC http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820144491&Tpk=goc316gb1866 $135
EVGA 01G-P3-1460-KR GeForce GTX 560 (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130660&Tpk=01g-p3-1460-kr $190
Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5″ Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148697&Tpk=st31000524as $140
ASUS Black 12X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA Internal Blu-ray Drive Model BC-12B1ST/BLK/B/AS – OEM http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827135247 $58
COOLER MASTER Silent Pro M700 RS-700-AMBA-D3 700W ATX12V V2.3 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817171037 $100
COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119197 $105
came out pretty close to my budget.
I started out by picking a processor, I went with AMD because it is both cheaper and lets you be far more flexible when selecting your motherboard. I went with a quad core phenom II from the last generation of cpus because I was just more comfortable picking something with an established track record and wasn’t sure which programs could really take advantage of multiprocessing (it was a choice between higher clockspeed or more cores and I’d have to read up on benchmarks to figure out where that really matters), it was also cheaper. Next I selected a motherboard and here is where AMD pays off, the motherboard was an AM3+ socket which means that it is also compatible with the newest generation of chips if I wanted to upgrade later and supported large quantities of…. everything really. I picked the board specifically because it left me with an enormous ammount of room to upgrade over time if I wanted to. Now here is where I cheated a little, I selected the case and power supply that were offered in a bundle to go along with the board ( My only criteria for these components were providing room for everything and supplying sufficient power and connectors and I just didn’t want to pour through countless pages of cases and power supplies trying to match things up).
Next I selected RAM, the motherboard supported up to 32 GB which is more than I could imagine using right now, additionally the 8 GB sticks were quite expensive. I eventually settled on 4 4 GB sticks and probably upgrading to the 8 GB sticks later when they are cheap and the additional RAM is relevant to me. When selecting the video card I again went for something that wasn’t quite top of the line, the newest best cards always tend to cost something like $500 but if you shoot a little lower you can get a good card for $100-$200 (depending on your luck). The Hard Disk was just a relatively quick 1 TB drive and I finished off my parts list with a generic blue ray drive.
for assembly I’d likely need
-a selection of screwdrivers
-something to ground myself with
assembly should go something like this (I think)
-set the chip in the motherboard socket
-apply thermal paste then attach the heatsink/fan
-insert the ram
-punch out the relevant holes/slots in the case for all the components
-secure the motherboard in the case
-put in the power supply
-install the videocard, harddrive, & disk drive (secure them to the mounts in the case, hook them up to the motherboard & power supply if needed)
-close the case
-install OS Drivers etc
For the operating system what I’d like to do is have the drive partitioned for both 32 and 64 bit versions of windows 7 (because I have some 64 bit compatability issues with a number of my programs). I will need to read up on how to actually do that.
A number of possible future upgrades
a solid state drive for system and program files (using the hard disk for general storage)
a second video card (I picked the card and board I did because it supports this)
going from 16-32 GB Ram
a newer processor
*currently I think additional cooling is uneeded but if I upgrade I might need more fans, If I overclock I will absolutely need more fans.