I can help on a few questions. I always go for an AMD chip. You get a lot more for your money. Onboard sound means the soundcard is built in to the motherboard so you don't need a soundcard. Onboard sound is fine if you aren't an audiophile, or an avid gamer.As for the HDD I have had Seagate, Maxtor, IBM, Western Digital and all have performed well and never failed. I have a Maxtor at the moment which is 7 years old and still going strong.