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-Buy a case with rolled edges, so you don't cut yourself while building your computer.
-Buy as powerful as you possibly can, in CPU, graphics, memory, hard disk space, and CD-RW speed. This will make your system stay uptodate longer.
- NVIDIA makes chipsets now. You could start out with an NForce2 mainboard with integrated graphics. Then, later add a real graphics card using the supplied AGP slot. Or, just go for the type of vid card you really want, and get a slightly cheaper mainboard to offset that cost...
-Buy fans that advertise themselves as "quiet running," or something like that. 2 fans, a power supply fan, and a CPU fan can get pretty noisy all running together.
-If you don't want to run 3d games, look into the Mini-ITX mainboards. Some are the size of a mousepad, and some also have integrated CPUs that do not require fans to cool them, so you can have a system with a case the size of a large hardback book, and get a small keyboard and mini mouse and LCD monitor, and have a very small system.