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Building next computer, need useful links

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Hello everybody. I used to have a room mate that built all of his computers, and I've decided that I'm going to build my next one. But I've never really put a computer together before. I've taken them apart, but that's a different story. Anyway, I was wondering if anybody had any links that would help me better understand what I'm about to undertake. I don't know how to tell which parts are compatible or not, or if I should buy a case with a motherboard already in it or anything. Basically, I'm a newbie at this, and this forum has always been a great deal of help. If anybody has any suggestions or advice, it would be greatly appreciated. As always, thanks in advance all.

tl;dr Introduction to computer construction links please.
Start by choosing a CPU, then choose a motherboard that supports it. You can find compatibility lists on the manufacturer's site. Pick memory that is clocked as close to the CPU's FSB as possible, and make sure that the motherboard supports that type of memory. If the memory is slower, it will still work, but it will be a bottleneck. If you're going to use Dual Channel, there's typically quite a few restrictions on the configurations that the motherboard will allow to run in that mode, so just buy the same memory twice or more to avoid that headache. Make sure they're the exact same model. When choosing the power supply, the advertised wattage is how much power it can supply without overloading, so depending on how many things you intend on installing, you'll need a bigger or smaller power supply. Here's a calculator you can use: http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jsp
That's about it. The other components don't have many special considerations, unless you plan on putting together a RAID.
Oh, one little piece of advice: if you decide to buy a CPU heatsink different than the stock one, make sure that it stays within the motherboard's perimeter when installed, or you'll end up with a half-unscrewed PSU supported by the heatsink (yeah, I'm surprised the whole thing hasn't crashed and burned yet).
Thanks much helios. Kudos.
I'd recommend that you subscribe to a few video reviewers on Youtube that review PC hardware. This helps you stay up to date with the latest hardware.

Also, TomsHardware has lots of articles about computer hardware.

If the memory is slower, it will still work, but it will be a bottleneck.

Correct me if I am wrong, but memory that is slower than your motherboards memory standard will not work.
There is a range of supported RAM frequencies. RAM that is supported by the motherboard but slower than the CPU's FSB will be a bottleneck.
Just an extra piece of advice; where electronics stuff is concerned, non-branded stuff is a no-go. Most of it is pretty poor quality.

ASUS hardware is extremely high quality; get it when you can (unless you're getting an ATI card, in which case I've heard Sapphire is better). It's kind of expensive though. MSI and Gigabyte do high-quality motherboards as well.

Western Digital hard drives are high-quality too.

Edit: Oh yeah; make sure your motherboard fits your case! ATX boards won't fit in mATX cases (but mATX boards will fit in ATX cases). I've nearly made this mistake before...
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I learned from this guy. He may look like a redneck, but he's sure as hell smarter than one.
About brands, If you ever find some hardware made by Noganet, no matter what it is (and trust me, it could be just about anything), don't be fooled by its price. I've never used anything Noganet that worked properly.

As for HDDs, right now I have three: 250 GB, 500 GB, and 1 TB. The smallest one is a Western Digital and it heats up like a mother******. The middle one is a Seagate, and it's the only HDD I've ever used that's developed bad sectors. The largest one is another Western Digital and so far it works fine, although it is still very new.
So it's a gamble.
Also, don't go cheap on your power supply. Get a good brand like Corsair, Antec, or Seasonic. Always choose a PSU with more wattage than you need, doing this will result in a more efficient PSU. The closer you come to the maximum wattage a PSU can output, the less efficient it becomes.
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Yeah, don't go cheap on the PSU. Some of the cheaper ones do this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ripple_%28electrical%29

I think the guide for wattage is something like 20% more than your calculator says you need. Don't quote me on this, though.

I've had a Samsung drive that developed bad sectors within two years. Get a program that can read SMART data if you think a drive is dying. Speedfan can read SMART data.

As for brands;
CPU: AMD or Intel if you want x86 or x86_64; I don't know about RISC processors.
Motherboard: Asus, Gigabyte and MSI (MSI have shipped EFI motherboards so that's pretty cool). Intel make reasonable ones; I had an Intel motherboard. They're kinda cheap but they work.
Power: I'm not so sure. Vexer mentioned Antec (I know they're good), Corsair (they make excellent RAM so they're probably good) and Seasonic (who I've not heard of). There are others like Coolermaster as well. If ASUS make PSUs you can pretty much guarantee that they're good. I have an OCZ power supply that I haven't used yet; but it was very reasonably priced (~£50 including shipping for 600W) and I've heard good things about them. It also looks cool and smells nice, so that's good.
RAM: Patriot, Corsair and OCZ make good memory. I've also heard good things about G.Skill.
Graphics card: ATI or nVIDIA basically.
ATI: Sapphire or ASUS make the best ones.
nVIDIA: ASUS or EVGA, I think Gigabyte also make nVIDIA graphics cards and maybe ATI ones too
Hard disk: Western Digital or Seagate are probably the best.
Optical drives: Samsung are decent; I've never really thought as optical drives as an issue though, because they're really cheap and they aren't as prone to breakdown as poorly manufactured hard drives are.
Cooling: There are lots of good heatsinks, but like helios said make sure it fits your motherboard!
Case: This is really superficial; the only important criterion are that it fits your motherboard, is reasonably airy and has somewhere for you to put your hard drives, etc. and your PSU fits.
Monitor: Samsung work fine. CRT monitors are outdated but some people like them. Personally I'd get a glass LCD monitor if you can afford one. LG make good monitors but again, Samsungs work fine.
Keyboard & Mouse: People like Logitech and Razer, although Razer are much more expensive and I've heard they don't last as long. Logitech also make speakers.

Any more I can add? I feel like I forgot something.
From what I have read, Seasonic actually makes the PSUs for a lot of different companies, an Antec PSU, for example is just a re-branded Seasonic.
Really? They do that with other products.

Edit: Perhaps Antec, OCZ, etc. design the PSUs and Seasonic assemble them.
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glass LCD monitor
Is there really such a thing? Doesn't that negate the anti-glare properties of LCD?

About keyboards, if you're going to program with that computer, I don't recommend any keyboard with any of these design characteristics:
* Flat keys. Maybe it's just me, but I need the space between the keys to orient myself when I'm not looking at the keyboard. Flat keys (if you've ever seen a notebook keyboard, that's what I mean) eliminate that tactile information.
* Black. Black keyboards make it damn near impossible to see where one key ends and the next begins unless you have a 100 W light shining directly on it.
* Any keyboard that dares to touch the function keys or the insert cluster. Microsoft really likes to do that. This is my arch-enemy of keyboards: http://mooreslore.corante.com/archives/images/microsoft%20keyboard%20from%20pc%20magazine.jpg
Just look at that monstrosity. Not content with rearranging the function keys, they moved the arrows, and the cluster above them is not only unrecognizably deformed, but also missing the insert key.
Mind giving us a price range and a definition of the type of computer you want? I think it would also be a bit helpful to suggest some specific products and let you decide.
Yea, don't quote me on that.

Maybe he means glossy LCDs.
That's what I meant. I thought they used glass for those? It feels like glass.
I don't know, but I would not get a glossy monitor for desk use. They have problems with glares if you have any light in the room(speaking from experience).
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I have one, it works well for me. I have to admit, despite disliking macs the monitors you get with some of them look great.
Do not buy an Intel motherboard. They come with absolutely no documentation and are very expensive. I have an MSI board and I've never been happier.

I also suggest picking up some removable enclosures for your hard disks. It makes for a great backup strategy and isn't very expensive. Consider iStarUSA, they make excellent products.
If you've got a lot of money to waste, get a 4 hard disks in a RAID 1+0 array. Twice the read and write speed and you get instant backups.
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