New gaming build, with time pressure to choose parts

I have the opportunity to build a new rig, but would have to have the parts on or before April 17th. This is because my father will be visiting, and wants to buy my old rig. This puts the budget at around $650, though there is wiggle room.
I use my PC for standard stuff (mostly writing and surfing), and a LOT of Guild Wars and a few other games. Although I've minimized background crap, there's still Anti-virus, firewall, and I may want to download in the background, or listen to music. I don't need it, but I'd simply prefer a quad. I will not dispute that Intel rules the performance roost. If it were that easy, I'd probably choose a GA-EP35-DS3R and a Q6600 (although I prefer new tech), given that the 45nm quads are not readily available. I'm mildly perturbed that S775 is going away, since it makes any S775 mobo a deadend. It is further complicated by some excellent combo deals now available on Phenom.
I'd been thinking it might be a little much for the living room, but I have a special one; my wife thinks the Antec-900 looks nice, and it is $100 off with a Phenom 9600BE. With Intel, I'd probably go for a CoolerMaster 690. PSU will be tier-2, probably Corsair, Seasonic, or Enermax. Given that it will be a quality unit, any available deal is a factor. I already have an EAH3850, or could again try the Diamond HD3870 I've had on a shelf due to driver and fan issues; maybe Catalyst 8.4 will fix it. I have 2GB of Crucial PC-8500.
If I go Intel, I could probably "suffer" with an e2160 for a while, until a Q9xxx is available at a reasonable price. How long might this take? What about AMD's next offering, which will work on socket AM2+? Is it a gamble worth taking?
I don't mind mild overclocking, but I have no plans to go high or extreme with it; I have neither the time nor the patience. I'd rather spend my time playing ON my PC than playing WITH it.
I will have two hard drives, an optical drive, and do sometimes use an eSATA connection. This means a mobo with only 4 SATA ports will have no room for expansion. What would you recommend, for either Intel or AMD? Thanks for your patience.
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  1. Ok, Intel doesn't list MSRPs, so whatever Intel cpu prices you read about is price per 1000 units. Say $183 for E8400. You pay that price if you buy 1000 cpus from Intel. In short, the retailers didn't gouge too much. The lowest E8400 price is $225-ish. It'd be reasonable to assume that is the MSRP.

    It's funny in another long thread that someone said AM2+ won't be outdated. It will, come this fall/winter when AM3 hits the street. AMD may delay it as usual. The cheapest quad is still Phenom 9500+. I think the sweet spot from AMD would be the tri cores whose benchmarks look promising - faster than most dualies, maybe for about the same prices.

    Is energy-saving an issue? If so, go stock AMD. Such a system uses incredibly low power. However, ATI cards generally are more of a power hog than nVidia's. The best of both worlds would be a stock AMD Brisbane + an nvidia GPU which is pretty much standard for many AMDers.

    If overclocking is your aim, there's no question about Intel.
  2. Thanks for the response.
    I already have the GPU, otherwise I'd probably have a 9600GT on my list.
    Energy saving is a "pet" issue of mine in general (I've used CFL's since before the "C" part, i.e. the mini-circlines), but if the power is being used, I don't mind in my PC. The PSU will have active PFC and hopefully be 80+.
    I am seriously considering that e2160 option, and yes, I would OC it. In a few months, I could get the quad and put the e2160 in my wife's PC, which I think I built with a 930 (?).
    I'm going to wait for April 7-8 though, and see what AMD does; I'll need to order that week, so hopefully I'll find some good deals.
    Any suggestions on mobos, especially if I end up with AMD? The 780G chipset looks interesting, but I'm not sure I want integrated graphics even if it can supposedly be turned off.
  3. akhilles said:
    However, ATI cards generally are more of a power hog than nVidia's. The best of both worlds would be a stock AMD Brisbane + an nvidia GPU which is pretty much standard for many AMDers.

    i'd say they're about even. maybe so in the days of the 2900 series, but the 38** cards are very power efficient.
  4. The onboard gpu can be turned off in bios. It may be setting VRAM to 0 or disabled.

    Biostar TA780G M2+

    I suggest you wait til the 20th when some Intel cpu prices drop.
  5. Waiting would be difficult, as my father will be in town the weekend of the 18th. I will consider it however, especially to save three figures. Newegg has a combo deal on the Antec 900 though, making it essentially a $20 case with an AMD 9600BE.
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