This PC will prob be used for Surfing, Word and Excel sort of stuff, emails. Videos once in a while but no editing or the sort. No CAD programs, no photo editing.
I'm thinking of under $500, 750 on the most. Next upgrade will probably be in 3 to 6 years, so make it futureproof.
What I'm thinking about:
Motherboard with built in graphics, AMD Processor, small PSU, wireless network card, 4GB of RAM/8 if possible. Noise is not a huge problem but heat is a little issue, although it is not very important.
Any suggestions are welcome.
Sounds like my wife's computer which is used a lot for what you are describing, and it is blazing fast for it and is only a Core2Duo. The trick is to get an SSD.
In the sub $500 market it is often cheaper (after the cost of OS, case, keys, mouse, etc) to get a cheap Dell or HP with a restore disc ($20), then purchase an SSD and use the restore disc to install to the new drive. This way you get a warranty, a smaller case, and do not have to muck with it as much as a custom build. That being said, if you want to do a custom build I think the links others have provided look pretty good and I would be the last person to stop you, but if you want to save a few $ the prebuild PC could be an option.
Keep the old drive for data storage, but put your OS and programs on the SSD. My wife has a 60GB SSD and with windows and all of her programs (office, some music writing software, a few utilities I require, plus web browsers and stuff) only takes 30GB. So a 60GB SSD will do just fine. I would suggest an M4 as they recently had a price drop, but we are using an OCZ drive and it works just fine.
For an idea on speed; My wife's Core2Duo turns on from a cold boot, and can be on the internet before my computer even wakes from sleep (much less a cold boot). Her computer is far inferior to mine in all respects except for the SSD, it makes a huge difference. Her wake to sleep time is ~5 sec, and her sleep to wake time is ~3-5 sec, cold boot is somewhere around 15sec. Outlook on her origional HDD took ~20sec to open (I dont think she has ever deleted an e-mail lol), after the SSD it takes 1-2 sec. If that is not future proof enough then I don't know what is!
Also, be sure that whatever motherboard you purchase has UEFI/touchBIOS instead of a traditional BIOS. It will help support newer equipment like SSDs better (granted my wife's system runs fine without one), and will better support future OSs like Windows 8.
compare above with: http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?oc=b...
$300 stock unit
$37 for 8GB of ram to max it out
$75 for SSD system drive, and keep the HDD that it came with as a documents drive (may have to be creative, but it will fit in there with no problem)
$20 restore CD
Grand Total: $432 Includes a decent warranty, and would be almost as fast, and much smaller than the build I posted above. Like I said in the first post, sub $500 it is a real toss-up for office rigs
(edit) also, this comes with Keys and mouse which my original build did not include.