Gaming PC unexpectedly died... this was a 3 year old build w/a 6600GT so was about time to upgrade anyway. I'm looking to spend as little possible, but still end up with one of the new Core 2 Duo's. I have 2 spare 80GB SATA drives that I would use for loading OS + storage. Comes out to around $600 - plan to upgrade video to 8800GTS eventually, and I believe the power supply should be able to support that.
So far, this comes to $600, but still need OS so out the door w/shipping should hopefully be under $800:
Looks pretty good for your budget. As for the 8800GTS, you may want to wait to see what the GT is like before committing. If your not sure what your PSU can handle the card, just make sure the Amps on the +12v rail meet the requirements on of the card. (I ran an 8800 gts on a 450w RAID MAX but only because it had enough Amps per rail.)
The motherboard doesn't support SLI, which I'm not sure if you're interested in or not, but I figured I'd mention it in case you overlooked it.
Overall it's pretty good. Are you going to go Vista or XP?
Thanks to everyone who replied... I updated list to incorporate PSU suggestion and vid card... I also changed memory to 6400, which didn't have much impact to bottomline so that's good - still around $600 pre OS.
XP is the OS I plan on going with... anything to know about loading onto SATA? Do I need to buy floppy to load SATA drivers before installing windows or do the new XP builds (buying new XP OEM copy) recognize SATA?
Swap out the E2160 for the E6550 and save about $90.
This gives you $135 to play this.
This shuold give you the funds to purchase either an 8800GT or 8800GTS.
The 8800GT should be available next week for approximately $250.
The 8800GTS GPUs will likely quickly fall below this price point since they are not quite as fast.
This should get you a real killer machine.
I like your approach...
My reasoning for XP Pro over Home is that I connect to my home machine from work frequently via RDP which wouldn't be possible with XP Home. On the other hand, is the extra $60 for Prof worth the luxury of connecting home? I could go w/XP Home and use something else for that remote connection.
As for your point concerning processor, isn't that fairly substantial downgrade from E6550 to E2160? What would you believe the impact to performance to be like going from E6550 to E2160?
I suppose in either case, whichever route I choose now will determine where to upgrade to in a year or so... either upgrade CPU or Vid card.