Well I'm a new at this sort of thing, and I'm looking to make a gaming computer for about $1000, to $2000 dollars. I've looked into some stuff, and figured out I'm pretty much lost with what seems to be a lot of parts that seem to be exactly the same, any good help with a system?
You can make an easy start of it by looking over some suggest builds over @ TechReport: TR's back-to-school system guide
Beyond that it's just a matter of looking other forum posts and seeing the recommendations and discussions made there by people looking to build gaming systems in the price range similar to yours. You'll notice lots of opinions - don't let that bother you - there is no single "perfect system".
If you want to learn even more you'll be spending some time reading reviews at some of the tech review websites like; Anandtech - ExtremeTech - TechReport - THG
When you have a list of parts you feel good about you can post your system list here and ask for opinions and alternatives.
Good build ~$1500 i think:
P5Q Deluxe mobo
4 gigs of 800/1000/1066 ram
Nvidia 9800GX2 (older but has a great $/performance now)
Antec 900/1200 (if u want full tower)
Thermaltake 850 (or other good PSU make sure it has an 8 pin for GX2)
Cpu cooler- Xigmatek 1283, Sunbeam Core Contact Freezer, Thermalright 120 Extreme (only if ull lap it)
Its a good build and can be fined tuned to ur needs
The most important component for gaming is the VGA card. Get the best one that you feel comfortable buying. The GTX280 is a fine choice, and will be able to play anything out there very well. It should cost about $400. Some go higher because they are factory overclocked to the tune of about 10%. That premium does not seem worth it to me. Others are more expensive because they have factory installed water cooling. Also not worth it to me.
The 4870X2 is the new card on the block. In general, it is more capable than the GTX280, but it comes at a premium price of about $550. Is it worth it to you?
Remember, that these cutting edge cards will be somewhat dated in a year.
At the level of the E8500 or Q6600, the vga card is much more important for gaming than the cpu.
At that level, overclocking is good for bragging, but it will not net you as much increase
in FPS as a better vga card will. Today, very few games can make use of more than two cores.
Flight simulator X is an exception. It is not a trivial matter to code multi threaded programs,
and game vendors will not sell too many games that require quads to run.
I don't see this changing in the next couple of years.
There is no need for a premium priced motherboard unless you are planning on dual vga cards. You should be able to get a Nice P35 or P45 motherboard from Asus or Gigabyte for <$100.
Is there a need for two cd/dvd drives? A dvd burner will do everything. Samsung makes a quiet one.
I happen to like fast hard drives, and the raptor is good. The velociraptor is even better, but it DOES make a difference. I like the strategy of a fast small system drive and a slower large drive for storage and backups.
For ram, get 4gb in a 2x2gb matched kit. It preserves your option to upgrade to 8gb, and it is easier to overclock with just 2 sticks.
DDR2-800 from a quality vendor is fine. Faster is not much worth it. Think 1-2% inframe rates vs. synthetic benchmarks.
Vista home premium-64 is good. Do you qualify for an academic license?
Yeah missed a headset, didn't want to throw in one too expensive, since I'm careful about audio. I like the Lycosa but I'd also recommend the Saitek Eclipse/Eclipse II if the Lycosa feels too expensive.