Welcome, this is the first step you need to take in order to build yourself a computer that is truly customized for you. Sure companies like Dell and Gateway can customize you a machine, give you great deals like internet access and a warranty, but they only have so many parts to choose from. For an example when I built my computer, at the time nobody had the Pentium 4 processor, Annihilator 2 Ultra video card, or Plextor's 12/10/32 CD-RW drive. So I was left no choice but to buy all the parts to make my computer truly unique, and truly the best computer for me. A high speed graphics machine capable of rendering complex 3D scenes in seconds and playing the best games out there at unbelievable frame rates, all for under $5,000.
The first thing that you have to ask yourself is: "What do I want to use my computer for, and how much do I want to spend?" This can be a very hard decision if you do not know exactly what you need to do different things. For an example if you just wanted a PC to check your email and browse the web with you would not need more than 64MB of memory. However if you wanted to edit home videos and play the newest 3D games you would want 256MB. The computer that I will use for this tutorial is not anything that the average person really needs, along with that it did have a steep price on it. I will explain more about each part I chose, why I chose it, and how much it cost me. Along with that there will be suggestions for parts that would be good enough for the average family PC.
I think that there are pretty much 3 types of systems out there. They can all pretty much do the same thing, but at different speeds. I will list them as follows:
BUDGET PC - This is your very basic system. I will be able to use the internet so on, but it will lack in system resources such as processor speed, hard disk space, memory, 3D sound, and fast 3D graphics. And will cost around $600
FAMILY PC - This computer is just a little step higher than a budget PC. You will have more memory, and a faster processor and possibly a sound card and video card, which means it is not integrated into the motherboard. Mom can send her email, dad can run his business, and the kids can play their games and do homework. Expect to pay around $1,500
POWER PC - These are the computers that I have always had, and I will never settle for anything less. These babies have it all. DVD, loads of RAM, huge hard drive, the fastest processor, and the best video card! If you have the money to spend then why would you settle for less? Expect to pay $2,500 and up.