For RAM, you can pick up some Corsair DDR3-1600 stuff for only $45, though if you spend another $20, you can get a nice heat sink on them and the whole pairing thing. I bought Corsair stuff for their amazingly good warranties, lifetime on the RAM, 8 years on the Power Supply (get the modular one, it's worth it). Buy a nice case too, like something from Antec. Unless you plan on modding the case. Graphics cards are a wash, they're all the same right now, especially with the 69xx series release. Buy what you're comfortable with (for me, AMD). CPUs, if you're doing mostly gaming, then it's a wash, go AMD for really cheap prices, or Intel. If you want to do encoding and DVD ripping, and audio editing, and so on, then Intel is the best. Otherwise, gaming performance is almost the same. Buy a Sony DVD drive, as they use good NEC chips, not the crappy Marvel ones. Buy a Western Digital caviar black hard drive for storage, and wait about another four months before buying an SSD for the 28nm parts to hit the market. Buy a motherboard that's best for what you're going to be putting in your system, but try to stick with Gigabyte, or ASUS if you're into overclocking. Buy a good cooler, I'll reference you to the reviews for that. Buy new case fans as well. The 120mm ones from Scythe (the Gentle Typhoon series) I'm using right now, and are completely silent, can't hear them right next to me.