Dear Matt and Marcella,
Just got back into listening to the various podcasts, Maximum PC, PC Per, this week in tech, among others keep my mind awake through most of the day :) it was only a matter of time when I would want to put together another PC, lol.
When the first (and was also the last) box was put together Matt was still a couple of years from joining us, lol. Right now people are saying desktop is a sunset business, with most of the customers moving to either notebooks or tablets, that may be true, but honestly there is nothing like having a huge black box humming away next to your 31 inch 4K display :)
There are a couple of sites that suggest a range of components for your box, my favourite are PCPER’s hardware leader board or MaximumPC’s best of the best. As I’ve been away for about 2 years from following any hardware news, and that is like an eternity to the power of 99 in tech years, it took quite a few podcasts and a whole lot of reading to catch up again.
4K 31” panels have just started splattering across various review sites, Haswell LGA 1150 is the latest CPU (yet another new socket, lol). I don’t think selling our small car to buy the new Asus 4K panel would sit well with your mother, lol, so that is out of the question (for now… who needs a car now a day anyway :) ).
For my original box umpteen years ago, the preparation work was much longer than the time spent putting the system together. Reading various review sites, making sure all parts were compatible with each other, putting it all into an excel sheet (very tedious but enjoyable), then lots of footwork walking the floor trying to find the parts (not all parts were available in Thailand at that time, so alternative had to be decided on the spot and I hated every second of it).
After listening to PCPER’s podcast, they mentioned ‘PC Part Picker’ (www.pcpartpicker.com), wow what a revelation, the whole process is a billion time more enjoyable... I have the component list compiled in less than 30 minutes, it was fast with a clean design, simple, elegant and to the point. Their filtering system was second to none, with enough variables to pin point my search in seconds, now all I need is a Thai version of Newegg and your mother’s permission :)