Ok...first time builder here. I'm not sure at all about a setup, which is why I'm turning to you guys to lend a hand. Below I have listed some different parts I'm looking at, with one being more expensive than the other. I can't afford to get all the better parts which is why I need you to help me choose which are worth the extra cost and which I would be fine without. I want to be able to play newer games, such as Far Cry 2, Fallout 3, and Crysis Warhead, and have them look good. I also have a question or two after each part that if you could answer would help me tremendously. Feel free to suggest parts that you think would work better for me as well.
OS: Windows Vista 64-bit SP1 ($100) --- Will I have to buy an OS for each system I build in the future?
Monitor: 22" Acer X223Wbd 5ms WS LCD ($195) vs 22" Samsung 2253BW 2ms WS LCD ($280 - $20 MIR) --- Is the the Samsung enough of an improvement to justify that much extra? I'm willing to spend more on a monitor if it means getting vibrant colors that wow. I had thought about the $500 24" Samsung T240HD b/c it has the connections to double as a TV so I could hook my XBox 360 up to it. Is there a cable I can get to hook it up to a cheaper monitor? Can both the XBox 360 and PC be hooked up to a monitor at the same time? Will going with a budget brand like Acer make me sacrifice picture quality when using either the PC or XBox 360?
Case: Antec Three Hundred ($70) vs Antec Nine Hundred ($140) --- Do both of these have enough room for everything?
PSU: Corsair 750TX 750w Power Supply ($130 - $20 MIR - $25 w/ E7200 combo) vs Corsair 620HX 620w Power Supply ($160 - $25 MIR) --- Is the HX series that much better than the TX series?
PC Tools: Rosewill RTK-002 Anti-Static Wrist Strap ($4) --- Is this needed/recommended to safely build a computer?
MoBo: This is where I have no clue. I don't need 2 PCI-E slots b/c I don't care to go the CrossFire route. I just want a good and reliable motherboard that will OC alright and that is compatible with my other parts. I can't afford to get anything over $150 here, unless I absolutely have to. Would a microATX board work? Or would it not have enough space?
HDD: Seagate 250gb 16mb Cache Hard Drive ($60) vs Seagate 640gb 32mb Cache Hard Drive ($85) - I don't use a lot of HDD space so the main difference here for me is the cache size. Will it make any difference with loading times, etc? Is there any reason to go with Western Digital instead? Like does WD have quieter drives or something to make up for the higher prices?
CPU: Intel C2D E7200 ($120) vs Intel C2D E8400 ($170) --- Is there a big performance diference?
Cooler: Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 ($25) vs Xigmatek HDT-S1283 ($35) --- One of these is needed for OCing the CPU, right?
Thermal Compound: Arctic Silver 5 ($6) --- This is needed for getting and aftermarket cooler, right?
GPU: VisonTek Radeon HD 4850 ($185 - $20 MIR) vs VisonTek Radeon HD 4870 ($260) --- Is there a big performance difference?
RAM: Corsair 4gb (2 x 2gb) DDR2-800 ($84 - $20 MIR) --- Good choice? I think I'm good with these but could be wrong, I guess.
Optical Drive: Pioneer 20X DVD+R DVD-ROM Drive ($30) --- I think this should work for my needs as long is it isn't too loud...the computer is going to be in my room.
I have a mouse and will probably get a $10 keyboard from Circuit City. Where might I look for a good 2.1 speaker system under $50? Oh and if you could recommend your favorite PC game to play I might just pick that up as well.
OS - Only if you get the OEM version. One benefit to the retail version is that since the license is aimed at least partially at home builders, it allows you to change the hardware config and reinstall as much as you want, provided you never install it on more than one system at a time. Then again, you may want Win 7 for your next build anyway.
Case - The 900 comes with a larger top fan, and the front intake fans pre-installed, which the 300 apparently does not. Also, looking at the newegg photos, it appears the 300 lacks the removable HDD cages from the 900. The 300 is also missing the accessory tray on top, and is generally less-sexy looking. Your decision here.
PSU - I think the 620HX will do the job fine, but it may restrict your upgradability a bit
Yes, get the strap
Meh, get the surge protector if you want it. It can't hurt, although those kinds of surge protectors will eventually die.
Get a standard ATX board, preferably with a P45 or P35 chipset
HDD - Get the space you need. Don't loose sleep over buffer size
CPU - Yes, there is a difference, but you may be able to OC it away
Cooler - If you want to overclock, get the Xigmatek. The bigger fan and heatsink will help
Thermal paste - Get OCZ Freeze or AS MX-2. And, yes, you do want it. The paste the comes with the Xigmatek sucks
GPU - Your call. They're good performers
RAM - Can't go that far wrong with 4GB of Corsair stuff