Well...I think that the most important parts of deciding to build a system...start with
a. Determining what your computing habits/wants are. An enthusiast/gamer...wants compnents that fit her/his aspirations, while a casual user (like myself) could care less about sophisticated motherboards, expensive graphics cards, etc. I support looking inward...before even beginning to try to wade through all the hyperbole, sales pitches, etc. that accompany today's hardware components.
b. Conducting research on components...before rushing out to throw money down. For most persons, this seems to be something they want to avoid because...there are no easy answers. Today's equipment features new models that seemingly are produced daily...and reading about such can be intimidating if one is not attuned to self-education principles. That's why OEMs exist...the persons buying those systems don't want to do the research or expend the effort required...to put together a system. I give their customers credit for knowing that they want someone else to tell/sell them what they want. In this respect, they are one leg up on those who decide to "build" a system but who go about it incorrectly or in a lackadaisical manner.
While the hardware items selected are important...the more important work must be done before even thinking about pushing that "Buy this" button online.
Once a user has examined and understood her/his needs/wants...and followed that up with a minimal amount of research as to why certain components may be better suited for her/his needs/wants...that would be the time to start focusing on components.
FWIW: I believe that the starting point for a component search...begins with the CPU. A decision on which CPU is desired...will then drive any decision on motherboard, with the only other factors being monetary and personal choice of features desired in a board. CPU choice will also drive a decision on type of RAM...which will also influence any motherboard desired. I guess that's why it's called a system...the parts chosen influence decisions on the other parts chosen.
I've seen a lot of simplistic "guides" to computer building...there are wholesale websites which are dedicated to such. The ones which seem to do the best job of informing/guiding users or potential users...usually go into great detail and are noteworthy in advising all readers that the information is dated (of course) and a gross generalization made at a given time period.
The best advice I could give anyone regarding building a system...look within yourself...before you even begin to examine/accept the opinions of others about...what you want, why you want it, what you intend to do with it, how much you want to spend, etc.
Then do your own research, rather than accepting the opinions of others whom you believe know more than you. The written word is capable of being understood by all who are not blind or otherwise incapacitated...do some research, then spend your money.
I feel obligated also to point out that there is a general topic that should be viewed by those interested at http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic133861.html
Edited by hamluis, 14 July 2012 - 11:09 AM.