Friend,DON'T buy anything untill it's time to build.Finish your courses first !
...in the meantime,do as you are and window browse.Get familiar with whats out there...actually,picking what you want is a good idea,just don't buy it...in SIX months,it'll be half price,and still new in the box !
I was you long ago..i wanted a 'highly upgradable' PC,wanted to do it right.A case with space,a mother that could handle a wide variety of CPU's,5 PCI slots,etc.I found one for $135...man,'highlly upgradable' is NOT the way to go anymore !!
In the old days,lotsa PCI slots were crucial..but now,one doesn't need more than a couple.I still have FOUR open !! i might grab a TV tuner card,but everything else is USB,or built in.Oh,don't bother finding a mother that supports alot of CPU's..cause they'll discontinue your CPU slot ! So,two years from now,any CPU's that fits will be a fortune cause they're discontinued.
THEY GOY ME,BUT THEY"RE NOT GONNA GET YOU !!
Here's what you do.Get a sweet ATX case,with two CD bays,it's the foundation of your next 3 PCs !...grab a motherboard with lotsa ram slots,a fast CPU (even a combo).Onboard audio is impressive nowadays,so it'll do.I'd get one with onboard ethernet too(100mbps is fine)...but,WITHOUT onboard video,you'll waste it since vid cards r upgraded the most.Grab a GOOD 1GB video card (you can connect cards together.if u game,think about that when buying your mother,and vid cards) !
Grab a high RPM hard drive(7200,or 10,000 rpm).You can choose between ATA,and SATA styles.These refer to the type of connector.SATA is newer,and has a higher transfer rate than ATA,and they're cheap...but i find high RPM ATA hard drives do fine(CPU's can only handle so much data rate).I'm not an expert on HD's,get a second opinion (If you go with SATA,make sure your mother supports it).They have HDs that hold 2000 GBs of info.I'm very happy with 250 GB !
Grab any piece of crap DVD/CD burner,lol.I have several lying around.Don't even add them to budget,your buddy will toss ya one.(Two are supporting the corner on my desk since the leg broke)
Remember your budget,and how technology is waiting to ambush you.Make 300 bucks your ceiling,up to you.You know my e-mail..later.