I built my first computer myself a couple summers ago and while I'm no computer expert I can share what I learned with you. The first thing I did was visit some computer forums to ask questions from those who know computers, and the best one I found was http://www.overclock.net/
These guys went above and beyond to answer all my questions and provide info, suggestions, and links for me to check out. In short they basically helped me choose my mobo, CPU, and just about everything else. They cover just about every computer component out there so if you decide on a certain mobo just do a search for it on this board and then just sign up for an account and start a thread asking your questions.
The first thing I had to do was decide on a motherboard. I went through a lot of them on Newegg and also read the reviews. Reviews are a good source of info because you are getting some insight into a particular component based on those who already own it. Once I decided on my Gigabyte P35-DS4 (rev 2.1) board then I went back to the Overclock forums and started asking questions, like which CPU do you recommend? what type of memory? power supply? Stuff like that.
You can also ask those same questions in this forum, for it seems there are a lot of very knowledgeable and helpful folks here, too.
I researched my new build for six weeks before I finally decided on:
Motherboard: Gigabyte P35-DS4 (Rev2.1)
CPU: Intel Q6600 SLACR (GO Stepping)
CPU Cooling: ThermalRight Ultra 120E
Memory: 4 x 1GB G.SKILL PC6400
Graphics Card: ASUS EN9600GSO GeForce 9600 GSO 512MB
Hard Drive: 2 x SeaGate Barracuda SATA (250GB, 320GB)
Power Supply: PCP&C Silencer 610
Case: Ultra m998
Keep in mind that I built this system about three and half years ago. I learned about the different CPU "steppings" from the guys at Overclock, so you can end up learning quite a bit of info by asking questions in these forums and doing some research. Also, when you decide on a certain component you can do a Google search for reviews on it and learn more about it that way, too. This is how I learned about the Ultra m998 case, based on a reviews I found at Benchmark Reviews
and Legit Reviews
I hope this post helps you in some way.
Edited by dcloud, 18 May 2010 - 09:25 AM.