Finally decided to build a system myself, as my 6 year old notebook wont stand up to the strains of virtualization.
Put together the following, outlined my reasoning below
Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H motherboard
AMD X2 Athlon 64 5200
4G Crucial DDR2-800 RAM
WD Caviar Blue 250G harddrive
LiteOn DH-20A4P-21c DVD-RW
Antec Three Hundred ATX case
Thermaltake w0104-RB power supply
Arctic Cooling Alpine 64 cpu cooler
The most salient point to mention is that this is NOT intended as a gaming pc, nor a video or audio workstation. This is solely for my home development lab, and it will have a very minimal linux system installed.
Also it is a budget build, around the £500 mark.
These two points informed my decision heavily when selecting components, namely the mobo and cpu. Funnily enough the choice of motherboard came first, as it has the 780 chipset, meaning i hopefully wont have to buy a discrete video card for the foreseeable future. Also the 4 ram slots should give me enough room to exand in that direction should i need to, possibly even coupling the 64bit athlon with a 64bit linux system shoudl mean i never run into a ceiling with ram.
The case and power supply may seem disproportionate compared to the other components, however i felt if i invested slightly more in these two i would have a decent frame to expand into at a later date if needs be.
Im in two minds about the harddrive. For what it is it seems to be a decent speck, and it is within budget, however iv got a nagging feeeling there are other, better, options i havent considered yet.
So, thats that. Please, pick holes, make fun, generally tear it to bits, its all in the name of learning.
Kurtyboh>> No i dont plan on overclocking, and seeing as the mobo is micro-atx and the antec is atx standard im guessing there will be ample airflow around all the components. I had considered the cpu cooler as the unit will be on for extended periods of time, although thats probably showing my inexprience in pc building, thanks for the input ill consider putting the extra cash towards another section of the build.
Evongugg>> you rule! thanks for the conformation of amd/linux comptability, i had read good things but its always good to hear direct from a user. For the links alone, thanks a bunch!
as long as youre not oc'ing you shouldn't have to worry about the stock cooler, their designed for stock speeds. If you're that worried about it though wait till you have some extra money lying around and buy a decent one. I would suggest staying away from the cheaper ones as many of them aren't better then the stock ones, but you wont need one of the best either.
After taking into account the sound advice from both evongugg and kurtyboh (thanks again folks) and finding myself in a better financial situation, iv come up with v2 of the proposed build.
Same rules apply, kick the **** out of it, tell me where it sucks, i dont want to waste time the or the money.
This time round iv chosen an intel based system - after doing some reading across different sources, the trend in opinions seemed to suggest that the phenom wasn't all it was cracked up to be (although still an impressive processor), and so in the interest of future proofing i looked into a socket 775 family based system.
Again iv gone with an IGP option, the asus was nice find considering both the dual monitor output and the other advanced conectivity. The ICH9R southbridge was what convinced me to go with the velociraptor - i can just add another and RAID for any future upgrades here.
Seeing as im now using a mini-atx case (less airflow i assume) and several reviews mentioned the asus's northbridge gets fairly hot im 50/50 as to whether to add any extra case fans.
The only sticking point is the psu - from what i can see the pair of 12v rails supply 30A (360/12) which i think should cover everything, but im fairly new to psu tech so i could do with a few pointers here if its not up to scratch.