I'm still running an eMachines Athlon 3000+ from several years ago with 1.5GB RAM and a 256MB 7600GS. You'd be surprised how well it runs Oblivion, though.
With that said, it's time for an upgrade. And I've kind of always wanted to put together my own machine. Especially since it gives you a good platform for future upgradability.
I'll be sticking with my current monitor, keyboard and mouse. I'm not really an overclocker (except for a tiny bit squeezed out of my GPU with Rivatuner), so that's not important here. Yeah, I admit that would be fun, but I'm building something with a budget here. I'm not a hardcore gamer, but I'd like to be able to play Alan Wake (and improve my Oblivion settings). Don't care much about Crysis and the like, not really my style.
Also, do not want see-thru or lit-up cases. Definitely not my style.
And finally, I'm still running XP Home. All the crap I've read about Vista has me nervous about going that route. Talk me in to it or out of it.
This totals out to 679.00 minus 80 bucks for rebates. Pretty sexy, eh?
But that's just the opinion of a noob. I'd like to get other's thoughts.
SAMSUNG 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black IDE Model SH-S202J - OEM $24.99
Rosewill R624-P BLK Black SGCC Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case $23.99
Western Digital Caviar SE WD1600AAJS 160GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive $49.99
I'm not in love with your motherboard choice. I'd rather see you spend $25 more and get the Gigabyte P-35 DS3L $90
If you need to "balance" your budget you can consider the E6550 $175 or even the E4500 $125
The better motherboard will safely "auto-overclock" either CPU to meet or beat the E6750.
I also think the video card you picked with be the "limiting factor" in your new system. For about $40 more you can get a really nice upgrade to a HD 3850 $149 after rebate.
I think you'll be fine with Vista & your new system. I'd worry a bit if you were upgrading your older hardware with Vista. I've been running XP & Vista side by side for over a year now and I've never had problems with either.
PCI-e 2.0 is backwards compatible. GDDR3 video RAM is pretty much standard now, even 8600GT's use it. It's not that the 8600GT is a bad video card - it's more that that HD 3850 is so much better for only a small increase in price. Check the THG video charts for some comparisons of 8600GT vs 3850. http://www23.tomshardware.com/graphics_2007.html?modelx...
One small suggestion would be the hard disk space. Your 160 is ~$50, and you could get double the space for just ~$30 more. I just know that depending on your overall usage, I know I chew through 160gb rather quick.
Small update... thanks for suggesting that card. It was too good to pass up at that price (plus free shipping) and with the reported performance. So, I jumped on it. Will be assembling other components along the way.