-- an economical yet functional PC for quite some time. I would want it to be efficient without it being too loud and more importantly, too powerful.
Hello Olivia and welcome to SPCR!
The previous posters are right: everything is determined by the use the PC is supposed to be for. In my opinion that is the best starting point too, but speaking parts-wise, reviews or rigs are the way to go (read up on current components and see if people have already built PCs for the kind of need you have).
Just to kick things off, I'll have my psychic powers tell me this should be reliable, compact, low power draw and on a budget.
Thus my gut instinct tells me to recommend the following:
- H55 chipset mATX motherboard (enables integrated video, has all the essentials)
- Intel i3 series CPU (affordable, perfectly gutsy, integrated GPU works with H55/H57 chipset)
- Noctua cooler (ANY Noctua cooler, all v. quiet and powerful with unbeatable fastening mechanism)
- 2x2 GB RAM (any RAM recommended by mobo maker, CL7/1333MHz pref.)
- HD5770 or equivalent video card w/ passive cooling (only if you need Gaming or other taxing rendering in the mix)
- WD Blue or Green 3.5" HDD according to need
- Silverstone TJ08 or Coolermaster Sileo series case (affordable, functional, not the sturdiest, choose according to taste & video card)
- Nexus Value 430W or Enermax Modu/Pro87+ 500W PSU (both v. quiet if not silent, affordable vs modular)
- Arctic Cooling F12 PWM fans + Akasa splitter cable (I know you already have a liking for these
The above would be an affordable, modern, reasonably powerful rig high on efficiency and reliability that could easily clear most tasks. Depending on what you identify as your main uses and biggest needs, you can easily dial the performance accordingly by picking a different CPU or video card. Right now those have proven to be the best efficiency/buck in my books, but as we know, development is rapid, and we're in Q4 where all the sales and surprise releases make things go topsy-turvy.