There isn't really any strict guidelines as to what is the best out of motherboards of processors but i prefer. I'm not sure I'm afraid about motherboards their just something you need to decide on at the time so are you going with the best RAM with I'm guessing you are so you need something compatible with DDR2 ram at least. Also you need to make sure it is compatible with all types of hard drive SATA probably.
I prefer Intel as they seem to work much better than AMD but its up to your budget.
You said you want to keep away from high prices so stay well away from water cooling. Its expensive for the piping etc and also you need to it be completely water tight because any water on you components and its bye bye to your new machine so if you use plenty of fans then that will be good. I use this case if you can get your hands on it:http://www.maplin.co...=...184&doy=9m6
Keeps everything cool but you will need to get other fan for the CPU (Central processing unit)
Quad core will be excellent if you can get one of the newer chips. The older ones you are right were buggy but as of say a month ago they have been fine and ti will really boost the performance of the machine
As of the most important part the Graphics card. i would go with a Nividea card something around the 8000 series although the newer 9000 series is out now and they are well....very very tasty in terms of high end graphics if you have the screen to go with them...40 inch plasma i think lol
As long as you get nice new components they upgrading will be easy certainly for the next 3-4 years. Just keep looking for new parts on the net i recommend Ebuyer.com cheap and really quick but of you are not sure of some parts then post back with the list and I'm sure we will be able to tell you if they fit.
Here are some parts and web links to help you:Web helphttp://www.pcstats.c...?articleID=1444http://www.pcbuyerbe...co.uk/Build.htmhttp://www.tomshardw...guide-for-water
cooling-your-pc,1573.html (heres some info on watercooling just in case)My PC partshttp://www.ebuyer.com/product/125082
There are other parts eg power supply and sound card but thats the bare bones hope all this helps
****sorry i missed a bit i dont really find much difference between agp pci-e so il let someone else add input there
Edited by rev_olie, 09 June 2008 - 02:49 PM.