I have built several custom computers for myself and for others now, as of July 13, 2012 these are the parts and brands i recommend you use for your first build.

CPU or Processor: If you are building an HTPC i recommend the AMD Llano series APU! If your building a gaming computer you should stick with the AMD Phenom or FM1 platform or Intel Core I3/I5/I7, Dual Cores are Cheap & Effective most games arent made to take advantage of more than two cores! For heavy video editing / rendering of 3D Models you should go with a FM1 6000 or 8000 series cpu or Intel I5/I7.

Motherboard:

GPU: AMD or Nvidia? Basically it comes down to cost. You have AMD which will be a better Price/Performance ratio. PhysX and CUDA however are quite cool and are taken advantage of by Autodesk software making them nice for 3D Modeling & Animation, Computer Aided Drafting, and PhysX enabled games!

Recommended Cards: These are cards i have used and been satisfied with for gaming and work.

XFX Double D FX-785A-CDFC Radeon HD 7850 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card

SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity (100315L )

HIS H679F1GD Radeon HD 6790 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity

EVGA 01G-P3-1561-AR GeForce GTX 560 Ti FPB (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

Memory / Ram:

Internal Storage (HDDs & SSDs):



Wireless Adapter: Plain and Simple, not many choices & this one works with both linux & windows 7 64-bit. Drivers install off CD and it is a functional PCI-Express Chip
Rosewill RNX-N250PC2 (RNWD-12001) IEEE 802.11b/g/n, PCI, Wireless-N Adapter (2T2R) Up to 300Mbps Data Rates, 64/128 bit WEP, complies with WPA/WPA2 standard (TKIP/AES), IEEE 802.1X

Power Supply:

Computer Case / Chassis: You may reuse the case over and over again until it becomes outdated, so you might as well spend approximately $100! Wire Management is IMPORTANT !!!! Simply run wires behind the motherboard tray and out through the cutouts to the side!

Brand Recommendations: Corsair, Cooler Master, Lian Li

- Corsair 500R, (White or Black) Excellent Wire Management, it is easy to tuck all unused wires behind the motherboard! It comes with several fans and has appealing white LEDs which can be turned off by a switch.
- Corsair 550D, (Black) A sleek black case featuring noise dampening material. It has room for a H100 water cooler similar to the 500R... it is a much more professional looking case
- Cooler Master HAF 922, A black case with red LEDs that is loved by gamers far & wide!


Aftermarket Cooling:

will finish this sometime soon