Edit: This is what I went with in the end: Asus P5N32-E SLi nForce 680 (Socket 775) PCI-Express DDR2 Motherboard:@£152.74 http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct....rodid=MB-209-AS Intel Core 2 DUO E6600 "LGA775 Conroe" 2.40GHz (1066FSB) - Retail @£205.61 http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct....rodid=CP-128-IN Gainward BLISS GeForce 7900 GS SILENT 512MB GDDR3 HDTV/Dual DVI (PCI-Express) - Retail x2@£340.72 http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct....rodid=GX-041-GW Corsair 2GB DDR2 XMS2 Dominator PC2-6400C4 TwinX (2x1GB) @£199.74 http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct....rodid=MY-124-CS Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 320GB ST3320620AS SATA-II 16MB Cache - OEM @£66.96 http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct....rodid=HD-078-SE Sony AW-G170AB2 18x DVD±RW x12 Ram Dual Layer DVD-Writer - (Black) OEM x2@£39.92 http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct....rodid=CD-054-SO Akasa Ultra Quiet 650W Power+ iQ Active PFC ATX2.01 PSU - Black Nickel 1 @£93.99 http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct....rodid=CA-023-AK Antec Nine Hundred Ultimate Gaming case 1 @£70.49 http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct....rodid=CA-065-AN Sub Total : £995.90 Shipping (next day): £12.95 Vat : £176.55 Total : £1,185.40 Quick story: My laptop has served me well over the last few years but it is showing its age and is desperately prone to overheating (the heat removal was never good and doubles as the best dust magnet I have ever seen). To finish things it seems to have developed a shorting problem and a ribbon fatigued meaning I have to jump two pins on the motherboard to even power it. Despite finding a way to have the 6 million dollar man theme tune played over a guitar solo whilst effecting repairs I do not hold out much hope of my laptop lasting much longer: new PC time it is. I was somewhat out of the loop (about 8 months or so) regarding the latest and greatest devices so I have spent many hours reading charts, opinions and reviews with the intention choosing devices for a shortlist of things I think would be good. This being said I can read all the numbers I like but the human experience element is as important as ever (for example my old vaio was a very nice spec machine but the official drivers (which I was pretty much locked into) were updated maybe twice since launch and that was in the first year) so I thought I would run the list by the fine people here for some opinions. Preface: My computer is used for video encoding as well as video watching (lately I have been doing x264 encodes and using high quality deinterlacing as other intensive filters so performance is an issue), office junk and playing games (I tend to keep myself several months behind the times as optimised drivers and patches for games mean I can get a far nicer experience (in terms of gameplay and bank manager relations) than 0-day gamers and those with bleeding edge hardware do, this philosophy should serve me well right now with all the Vista lemmings and directx10 business appearing (for which I am confident nothing that will sway me will appear for in the next year) meaning directx9 stuff has dropped in price). Overclocking is something I am fairly familiar with and plan on doing it to a limited extent this build so I would appreciate any response from overclockers, this being said I am not so much interested in using lower grade cards made of “failed” high quality components and unlocking them and instead I am going for a pure clockspeed and timings approach to it this time. I am UK based so somewhere that ships here would be nice although I could get some stuff shipped from the US (specifically Washington area) if it comes to it. If you would like to suggest another component I can afford to raise the price 20-30% although if you feel you can make a case for a more expensive component please do so. I would like to get this over and done with as quick as so for the most part I can not afford to wait for “price cuts” several months down the line (not to mention if I tried that I would never have build a machine in the first place). I do not mind buying leads and this topics mere existence should mean I do not mind setting up stuff, bundled software is of no interest to me either. That over it is on to the list (which is not looking that special right now but I would like to be corrected on any design theory issues now), I have included price in the title and a short description of the theory I followed choosing it. Prices listed include VAT and are generally links are from/to dabs as this is a fact finding mission right now with shopping around coming later. Case (under £100): While I would like to do another in desk build that is not an option now. I do not care for LEDs and appearance from the factory but I need to hold the motherboard and two drives and sort out sufficient cooling. I can sort this one out myself (I may even have an old one kicking around) but any great deals would be appreciated. Motherboard (£150 although I can appreciate the need for a bit higher): ATX form factor aside motherboards are naturally cpu / graphics card dependent. Nothing onboard is really wanted here (save perhaps a wired network connection and I am willing to up the price if sound is onboard). Several USB ports (5 would be a minimum) are required although I am willing to suffer an expansion card for it. PCIe graphics are the choice here and SLI/crossfire is out of my price range (actually it could be in but in a contest between 1 decent card versus 2 bad ones 1 decent card can win). Something by asustek or gigabyte seem to be the order of the day Hard drive (£100): The hard drive is one of the slowest components and frequently a bottleneck for things I care about. Things seem to be moving fast in HDD world (more so than usual) and as they are easy to upgrade this can be a stopgap measure, I do not want to be fiddling RAM drives either. This being said I am in somewhat of a dilemma here over medium storage-medium performance or lower storage-high performance. While I work with video any massive space requirements are taken care of by external drives. I have not had the best of luck with HP drives and it will probably take a bit of convincing to change my mind with regard to their usage. 7200 RPM is probably the choice RPM here as the 10k (or greater) ones seem to be fairly overpriced for the benefits they confer me and lower is not enough. Some form of SATA interface will probably be chosen (1.5GB/s seems to be good enough) and I have not decided whether RAID along with some other drives will be in use yet. Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 320GB S300 £65: http://www.dabs.com/productview.aspx?Quick...960493,40970000 RAM (preferably £200). “Bring me 2 gigs of your finest RAM” would be what I would say if I were a medieval king. I have seen many a build experience issues due to poor ram choice and it is a chokepoint for video stuff I work with. I may consider 1 gig of RAM if you can show me some exceptionally high performance stuff, overclocking comes with the CPU and like to keep timings tight so please bear than in mind. Anything other than DDR2 need not apply and naturally I will try and match it with my mboard. Corsair Memory TWIN2X2048-6400C4 2x1GB 240-Pin DIMM XMS2-6400 CL4 £200 http://www.dabs.com/productview.aspx?Quick...9063,4294959239 Crucial have a bunch of stuff at varying price points which may also be on the cards. CPU (£300): Multicore I something that intrigues me from a pure performance standpoint and a lot of apps I like support multithreading in one form or another while 64bit is all but useless (I plan on using a 32 bit OS for day to day stuff anyhow), SSE3 support is a must and I would like a decent amount of L2 cache (2 megs or more) seen as it is multicore. Naturally I plan on overclocking it. Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 Socket 775 2.67GHz £340 (I will probably aim for approx. 3GHz after overclocking) I do hear though that graphics may be a pain if I use this CPU. AMD seem to be struggling against this but AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+ at £200 is pretty attractive. Graphics (£200-£300 although I would prefer closer to £200): Dual monitor support is a must and 512Megs of on-card memory seems to be a good starting point and I plan on overclocking the card as well. With regard to games AMD-ATI or NVIDIA based cards seem to still be the best choice for games performance (if someone could offer up a decent card for CAD that would be great although usually they are well out of my price point). I will say I do not care for multimedia “enhancements” and physics stuff (they are never used really and even if I manage the 900 odd voodoo incantations required only really important for on the fly encoding or deinterlacing or 2 games I will probably never play). I also do not have any real desire to run games with 4xAA, “realistic shadows” and HDR lighting at a stupidly high resolution like I see in performance charts and tend to favour lower resolutions with no fancy shadowing and such. PCIe cards are once again the choice of the day and HDCP is nothing I care about. I would also like some widescreen LCD monitor suggestions if you have them. Something by sapphire seems like a good starting point if only because of dual output http://www.sapphiretech.com/us/products/pr...ew.php?gpid=161 XFX GeForce 8800GTS (£285) http://www.dabs.com/productview.aspx?Quick...14&v=2#infoarea Sound(£50): If not onboard I will need a sound card, sound input is not of great concern although I would ideally like 5.1 output support (7.1 is nice but pretty pointless for me), SPDIF is probably not going to be used so do not bend over backwards for it. Cooling(£ not especially fussed as long as it does the task, try and keep it under £100 or £150 liquid cooling): I have some ideas on cooling and some people with laser prototyping and powder metallurgy facilities that owe me a favour so some nice custom cooling is what I will end up with. It will however take a while to generate all the time/materials needed for that project so something I can get off the shelf is needed for now (I can use it afterwards so I would appreciate no stop-gap measures here). Liquid cooling is not a problem for me to set up and maintain and I do not mind paying a bit more for quieter operation. Power supply (£80): Along with bad RAM I have equally seen otherwise good builds messed up (sometimes permanently) by poor PSU choice. The components I choose are probably considered performance components and seen as overclocking is also on the cars I will probably require some decent power. 550-600W would be the baseline although I will do some more maths when things become final. OS (£free): 32Bit windows XP is what I choose although I may find myself with a 64bit Linux OS one day. I have plenty of tools and info on optimising XP but more tools/info is appreciated especially regarding overclocking based stuff. Extras- CD/DVD drives and cards: A wired network card (if one is not on the mboard) and a wireless one would be nice (keep it 802.11g at most with support for b as I do not wish to gamble with n spec stuff right now). DVD drive wise I want 2 DVD reading drives at least and at least one that can burn and read +/- rewriteable media out of the box (firmware hacks do not inspire me with confidence), litescribe and similar technologies as well as “next-gen” (blue ray or HD) DVDs I can honestly say do not appeal but dual layer is something I am on the fence about (media seems plentiful, good and cheap but I do not know if I would really use it). Other than that there is nothing else I really need save perhaps some graphics input stuff but that is a consideration for a later date. If you have some suggestions for a good mouse and/or keyboard (preferably wired) I would like to hear those too. Thanks in advance for reading and any suggestions given, if you would like clarification on a point or have a question about something post and I willtry my best to answer it. I will keep this updated with developments but I plan on moving fast so by Friday night I would like to have my card charged with enough stuff to build a working PC so (assuming no stock issues) I am staring at a new PC the following friday.