there are way too many of these topics in this forum, to be completely honest. And i think you will have a tough time spending it all unless you go with a rediculously huge LCD display. But if you really feel the need to blow that much money on something that is likely to become obsolete before you even finish building it then you will have to be specific: gaming or workstation? or both?
I can't recommend any specs for a workstation but for a PC I would go with:
-Intel q6700, or if you can manage to get ahold of a q6800 on ebay.
-Either an EVGA 680i board or Asus Striker
-Either a RAID0 setup with the largest/fastest IDE drives available or a 150gb raptor (i'd say get like 4 instead but the noise and heat would be ubearable) and a 1tb IDE storage raid setup. Then if i was really bored i'd just fill the remaining drive bays with some extra SATA drives, just for the heck of it.
-because i'm in love with Lian-Li I am going to have to recommend any of their cases, but for you i'd recommend the most expensive one you can find.
-Fatal1ty's X-Fi sound card
-Water cooling for the entire case, although i'm not experienced with this so i can't make any recommendations.
-Nvidia Geforce 8800gtx's in an SLI setup
-For RAM i'd go with 4gb the highest clocking ram, with the lowest timings (around $1000 for 4x 1gb sticks at newegg.com although i don't really recall the specs as the price of it scared me off)
I'm going to stop there because i feel half of my post is just sarcasm and irrelevant to your question (i honestly didn't type all of this out just to be a jackass, but it's really hard for me to understand why people would spend all this money on something if they didn't already know what to look for... but that's just my 2c and it's coming from a soon to be freshman in college who's tight on money).
Anyway, depending on the display you want you will likely end up spending more of it on peripherals than the actually box.
By the way, and correct me if i'm wrong, but wouldn't 2gb of ram actually outperform 4x 1gb in most cases due to the increased time it requires to access it, versus having say 4x 512mb sticks of ram? I have just come across various articles that state having 1gb of ram dual channel is faster than having 2gb dual channel in many cases.
if i had 5k USD i would build a 4P opteron system, stick an ati x700 in it then sell it as a VT server. then i would build another one but customize it for gaming with the profits, anything under that is kinda like a grey zone.
avakin: don't sweat it, I agree on the number of topics too, I've read alot of them, good guidance in general, it's just I've actualy been commisioned to build such a system. The younger kids want to play games of course, the older one has demenstrated proficancy in 3D modeling and CAD. Dad wants HD capibilities and Mom wants to do video editing and photos. There is a DSL connection and sat TV in the house. Might use the old machine for kinda like networked storage.
As for RAM 2gig is a good maximun, 4gig gives one bragging rights. Kinda wanted to stay away from liqiud cooling, this family isn't comp "savy", won't be any OC'ing, got to be reliabile, stable.
And... it your 2 cents worth I'm after, thank you! 8)
I apologize for practically slamming you, as I will be honest it was obviously one of my intentions at the time. I am no expert in any area of pc building but I would probably recommend that you go with multiple machines if it is going to be used for multiple specialized uses. Or maybe not "multiple" but possibly just 2 separate machines.
If there's younger kids involved you don't really want to include the risk of data loss when you have important CAD files. If you toned it down and went with a 19-22'' display for the "gaming machine" you could go with a nice high res display with better color/contrast, etc for the workstation.
A gaming rig capable of handling all current and most games for a year or two to come at high-med settings would be something similar to the rig in my signature, which is also very future-proof due to the quad core/ 1333mhz fsb upgrade path. Since their budget is a bit higher than mine, go with better ram and a better video card (which means the 8800gtx for the moment) and you have a decent gaming rig for under $2000. My monitor is a 22'' Samsung syncmaster... which you can get for around $300 now i believe.
For the workstation, as i stated earlier, i can't really put any cents in because i would make a fool of myself trying. I do know that there are cards that are better suited for rendering/editing/CAD and then there's the mainstream cards that we all have in our pc's. I'm sure you and people reading this are probably already aware of this, so i'll just leave it at that. Basically what i am trying to say is you probably want a workstation that is separate, to allow for more computer usage overall, rather than having a whole family fighting over one $5000 piece of equipment. Plus they are designed for two very different usage categories: work and play.
At least your not bashing me.. and your right, multipule machines. Can you imangine the fight on friday night, 2 adults, 4 kids.
the current comp is an AMD 4400 X2 on an MSI K8N Neo4 MB. 1 gig RAM, don't know brand or timings, Nvidia 6600gt video, 250 gig PATA HD and NEc 3550 dvd burner. 19" LCD. I think we''ll upgarde that one for the video editing machine. Looking into whats involved for a multi-media, home theater machine, I need to research the "display". 40-50" LCD? and the gaming rig is easy, heck, yours looks good.
@belvdr: Take the wife to dinner.
I kinda think they where looking at like hi-end Alienware machines when they gave me the budget for this.