I've been looking for a good deal on a Athlon 1800XP and a good motherboard for it, and it seemed that I could get the CPU for around $150 and an Asus (good brand from what I've heard) motherboard for around the same. So after shipping that'll amount to a little over $300 or so.
But on PriceWatch I just found motherboard/CPU combos, and a lot of them come quite a bit cheaper than $300. I don't know most of the techinal jargon for the motherboards, and most of the brands don't ring a bell, this would be the first motherboard/CPU I've ever purchased.
Are any of the motherboards offered on this link :
I would skip the combos. Choose your mobo and cpu/heatsink separately. If you don't overclock, you may want to buy the retail version to get amd's 3 year warranty. The standard heatsink is fine if you don't overclock. Most combo's don't include a premium motherboard. I would recommend the abit kr7a-133, but that is just a personal preference. I use the shuttle ak31, but would buy the asus or abit board if I didn't change mobo's so often. I would also go with a preferred vender such as newegg or googlegear. If you overclock, you may want to spend a little more on the heatsink. I use a thermalright sk6 (all copper- $25 at coolerexpress.com for heatsink only) and got a slower generic fan to run quieter. The best fans have adjustable rpm levels for quieter running. Newegg has a refurbished section (30 day warranty on mobo's) if you want to save even more.