Like the title says. However, I've fallen behind quite a bit in keeping up with hardware so this is going to be as much of a discussion as it is asking for recommendations and confirmations. My budget is pretty generous, though I do prefer to hold back if the bleeding edge has a significant price gap over stuff almost as good.
So to start, I need to decide what kind of CPU is going into this thing. It's primarily for gaming, so that makes me inclined towards AMD, but which chipset is more complicated. Heck, I can't even keep the names straight yet.
The consensus seems to be that dual core is the way to go to future proof a system. A classmate has a dual core system and runs games while waiting on projects to compile, though I don't know if that's just a function of raw power or something dual core systems just handle better. Clarification on stuff like that would be nice as it isn't uncommon for me to run somewhat big in terms of system resources at the same time as a game.
So what are people's thoughts on the matter? (chipset names would help when you reply).
As for chipset, go with an Nforce 4, uses PCI-Express isntead of AGP, which is way more futurproof as they don't make AGP versions of the new generation of video cards. It would be best to go with AMD for a gaming rig, but I myself didn't go with a dual-core because no games really implement it yet. But then again I will be upgrading in about a year probably. So for you it would be best to go with dual core. As for video cards, the manufacturer is really a personal opinion, as ATI is good in some games, but Nvidia will be good in other games. And it really doesn't make much of a difference. As for RAM, you will definately need atleast 1GB, go with 2 sticks of 512MB. Also do you plan to overclock?
CPU: X2 4400+ $497---the 1mb cache per core is why I chose it. if this guy is too much for you, go down to the X2 3800+ and OC when the time comes. The new M2 CPU will come out within a year so current CPU are not "futureproof", but you shouldn't see that much performance difference.
Mobo: lots of choices. Runs anywhere from $70-$140 for a non-SLi(dual video card) mobo. Check the reviews and the layouts to see which one you like the most. You don't need SLi right now unless you prefer it;SLi gains frame rates in some game and lose frame rates in others.
Video: These things are never futureproof. Today's high-end cards can only run games on medium or low in 2-3 years. With that said, you might as well grab an eVGA 7800GT as it is the best price/performance high-end card. Now if you do want more, then go GTX or for the bleeding edge the ATI X1800XT($500)
RAM: AMD can only use DDR ram right now. this Corsair XMS for $219. Other RAM are just as good as this one.
HDD: a size that suits you and a big cache. No need for raptors but RAID 0 is an option.
A brand name PSU with enough wattage and good reviews, 450 and above will do I think.
choose the case that you like the most.
Make sure you have adequete cooling.
NF4 chipsets are the most widely used now for PCI-e mobos. They are good for games but the onboard sound on those mobo's are not that great. So you wanna take a sound card for your system
Okay, did some more research, probably going to go with an Asus nForce4 board. Likely the Premium one given what i've heard about the fans on the over versions. Processor will depend on prices when I decide to make the purchase and I know I'll be sticking 2 gigs of Corsair RAM into the thing.
Next thing I want to decide on is storage. I'm leaning towards Seagate drives based on what the site says about their noise level. I've never played around with RAID before, but I'm very tempted to use RAID 0 on this system. Any idea what kind of performance boost this yields? It's not really something I've paid that much attention to in the past.