I would like to build a system according to the following requirements:
- Up to £500 inc vat and shipping
- Would like to purchase within one month
- Mainly for programming in linux (latest ubuntu), also for occasional gaming on Windows (Games by Id, Valve and Blizzard)
- Must be able to support 2 hi-res 24" LCD monitors, the option of 3 would be nice! I will buy monitors separately, that's a separate budget (of about £250/$390)
- [RAM] At least 4GB
- [GPU] Nvidia strongly preferred since I may want to do some CUDA programming at some point
- [HDD] Perhaps I could run linux on a SSD (so it's quiet for work and programming tasks don't need that much space anyway). I could have a regular HDD for windows. Is this a good idea?
- [PSU] Quite is strongly preferred, would pay a bit extra for this. Air cooled only, nothing fancy ^^
- [Case] Something black and plain, no coloured lights or pointy design features e.g. ARIANET Reticence Black Micro-ATX Soundproof Case
You want the machine mainly for programming so put more money into the CPU, that GPU will run most modern games at medium settings. I would suggest an AMD card at this price range but you want an Nvidia, it might be worth waiting for the GTX 650 to come out, you can still run the machine on the on board intel graphics.
For the hard drive, just partition the 1TB into two drives and then you can dual boot, the SSD won't really help unless you want the machine to boot up really fast and move large files around. Your budget of 500 quid is hard to get a SSD into, if you have some extra cash then consider this:
Sounds like you will want to go CPU heavy in this build, you won't need anything fancy in terms of a graphics card, something like that GTX 550Ti would be fine because presumably your most graphically demanding game will be SC2 or something and that is very CPU dependant.
Both the Intel and AMD routes are viable in this build to be honest, personally I'd go with Intel though because they are better for games and they have lower TDP's. A PC which doesn't consume much power is WAY easier to keep quiet.
I think if you want something truly quiet, you will want a passive graphics card. Very few Nvidia cards have this unfortunately. If you were willing to go for an AMD card though, you could go for the HD 7750.
This is cutting it a bit fine with your budget but should be almost perfect for your usage:
Wow, these seem like very useful responses, it would've taken me aaages to look up and learn about all this stuff and even then I'd probably come up with something crappy! I'll look over it tonight and get back to you, thanks a lot!