---Budget =$600 or less, however I'll go for the $200-300 range as well, and after you see my specs, and preliminary shopping, I think it can be done.
---Use=70% general usage, internet, word processing, misc programs, very little games-low to mid range games, and home video editing and burning. The highest demanding program I have is 1.5 ghz. I do have multiple windows open at once while day trading. I don't forsee anything very demanding in the future.
---Case=I've read to just use th ATX, probably a mid-tower, with preferably 3 fans, and 450V(don't they mean 450W)? This one is fairly easy for me.
---Mobo=I know ASUS, and ABIT are great, so probably ASUS. My current video is NVIDIA Riva TNT2 Model 64/64Pro(This is a year 2000 machine), and my sound card is Creative Sound Blaster Live Value. This is fine for me, so maybe it is on the board, or separate is fine as well, nothing special, just reliable, and priced right. Article on this forum states to separate them for performance.
---CPU=I've looked at both the P4 Prescott's with at least 2.6ghz, as well as the AMD's. No preference, but it seems that AMD is excellent, what about the future? Which socket for future, see above?
---HDD=Probably should have at least 60-100GB, I have 20GB now, and am out of space, but I make 2 backups, and free space if needed. Article recommends 7200RPM SATA drive for performance.
---Ram=I have 512mb now, and this is what is recommended, but will probably allow up to 1gb. Probably just the two slot recommendation.
---Sound Card=see mobo above.
---Video Card=see mobo above.
---Keyboard, mouse, monitor, LAN, speakers, XP OS, all other software I have already.
---DVD/CD Burner=Sony DVD RW DRU710A Dual layer I already have, and will use this for everything. Nero 6.6 is my video editing software, and is fine.
I simply want this machine to be night and day compared to my current P3 866mhz Dell. I want quality, reliability, consistency, and upgradability. Another article recommends everything above to be in harmony so the pcu isn't waiting on the hard drive, or the mobo, or vice versa, maximizing speed. I like this. Anyway I would appreciate your expert advice!