Primary purpose is HD playback and recording, also like to dabble in games, key here is meeting the minimum requirements for as long as possible (I have no problem playing games at lowest settings).
Toughest decision was whether to go Q6600 or E8400. I figure with the importance of the media component the quad core gets the slight edge, but honestly either would probably work, if you think one is clearly a better choice please let me know.
Graphics card is also up in the air. Currently my max resolution is 1360x768, so an 8600gt or 9600gt would probably work fine for the time being. The 8800gt is priced so attractively right now it is tough to pass up, and likely in the next 12 to 18 months I will upgrade to a larger and higher resoltion screen.
If I decide to downgrade one or both of these components I could probably reduce the wattage on the power supply (as it is, I might be able to get away with it, as I don't plan on overclocking).
I already have an optical drive.
In general my goals with this build are longevity (at accomplishing high level HD playback and meeting the minimum reqs for new games), quiet, budget, energy use, raw performance. I am hoping the computer will last around 3 years with minimal upgrades, perhaps overclocking toward the end if I want to squeeze something extra before replacing a component.
I don't intend on going sli, but I want the motherboard to have ieee394 and pci-e2.0. I don't intend on overclocking, so I thought that motherboard would be alright. I have heard of issues with the 7X0i series and video playback, but apparently those are close to being finished.
To be honest I didn't look to much at ATI chipset GPU, I guess just a mental block, could anyone give me a rundown of the pros and cons in this price range? Also the 8800gt's have been getting ridiculous mail in rebates lately, so that's kept me distracted from other perhaps more sensible options.
well the only reason I'm against nForce chipset it isn't as stable as x38/x48 and in most cases x38/x48 will work better with Intel CPU.
pick the x38 gigabyte. you gett 2x ieee1394 and 2x Pci-e2.0
It would be alot better if there was already the p45 but 2XPCI-E for only 200$ I think it's worth the cost.
as far as I know ATI got a better image quality than nVidia GPUs.