Re: Buying a new machine
I have built all my own machines plus ones for my entire family and most of my friends for about the last 5 years.
1. Buy everything from www.newegg.com. Seriously they are the best and if you are unsure of the quality of your product they have a product review system where people can post their comments and ratings.
2. Unless you are a totally processor speed freak, when looking for a processor always get the lowest speed of the newest stepping. These tend to have less issues with cooling and wont turn your home office into a furnace.
3. Don't buy Intel unless you want to pay too much for hardware that does not perform as well as the alternatives.
4. Of the many things not to skimp on in terms of quality probably the 2 worst ones are memory and disk. Bad memory causes freaky hard to diagnose problems and it is better just to not go down that road. The importance of your disk is just that if it happens to be the thing that fails you have more to loose. Everything else that has potential to break is mostly easy to diagnose and repair.
4. Don't spend $300+ on a video card. I promise that a quality $150 one will play all the games you would ever want to today and you wont notice.
5. Cases should have a removable motherboard tray if you are building yourself. This will save you lots of time and those annoying cuts on your fingers.
6. If a case comes with a power supply make sure it is not some generic brand that they just threw in as a "bundle" look for Antec power supplies if possible.
As long as we are talking about brands here are my favorites.
Motherboard - Asus 100% anything else is trash.
Processor - AMD64 and if you need the extra performace go for the FX series.
Memory - Corsair or Crucial
Hard Disk - Seagate. I trust no other brand.
CD/DVD ROM - Sony or LiteOn (which is just Sony without the name)
Sound - Whatever comes on the motherboard. Unless you are a serious audio person you probably won't be able to tell the difference.
Video Card - My favorite over the years has been LeadTek. Their availability has been waning as of late and I have had good luck with Asus cards. Shy away from cards that have the same video processor but are much cheaper than one of the well known brands.
Cases - Antec is great but just pick a case you like and is lightweight. The thing to watch out for is just the power supply that it comes with. See if you can get a case without a power supply. It costs a little bit more but then you can be sure to get a quality power supply.
Power - Antec all the way but I have heard good things about Vantec and Coolermaster.
Network gear - Linksys or U.S. Robotics have always brought me luck. I avoid D-Link and Belkin like the plague.
I am a wealth of useless computer hardware knowledge. Ask away if you have any questions.
Of course, biblical creationists are committed to belief in God's written Word, the Bible, which forbids bearing false witness; --AIG (lest they forget)