I am building a new desktop for myself. I will be using the new rig mainly for gaming and encoding.
*note that I am rather new to this system building thingy
I am not a hardcore gamer, but would at least like for the system to be able to run current and future games at 1440x900 resolutions with medium settings, at a decent fps.
I also do some encoding based around h.264, and so a good encoding processor would be nice.
I've heard that current intel processors perform better than AMD ones, but I am open to suggestions.
I also plan on building my system around a 4870.
The budget I have is around 900-1000 USD.
Another thing of note is that I live in Malaysia (somewhere in asia lol), hence the bad engrish
So, 2nd question:
Would the high temperatures and humidity around here make overclocking more difficult with stock cooling?
Since you quoted your budget in USD can we assume that you will be buying your parts in the US? If not then you may need to adjust the recommendations to fit your local prices.
$900-$1000 will buy a pretty nice system.
I'm going to assume that you already have a monitor since you mentioned your desired resolution and I'm going to assume that you have a copy of an OS to use.
The 4870 you mentioned is going to set you back around $230 if you get the 1GB version (recommended) so that leaves you with $670-$770 for everything else.
I'd browse through the different cases and pick one you like in the form factor you want. Most people tend to pick a mid-tower case and this form has the most model available. Personally I'd suggest something from Antec or Coolermaster as their cases are generally very high quality. Depending on the case you pick the price should range from $50-$100.
You are going to need something in the 550W+ range to adequately power the 4870 and all of your other hardware. You will probably end up spending around $75-$100. Make sure you check for reviews on the power supply as some are definitely better than others.
You're probably going to want to go with an Intel-based system but you're going to be limited to a socket 775 system as the new socket 1366 systems are simply too expensive for your budget. A decent motherboard with the P45 chipset will set you back around $100-$150 depending on the model.
I'd suggest a Q6600 as they are great processors and can be had for less than $200. I won't be quite as good in games as some of the dual core processors in the same price range but will handle multitasking and multithreaded applications better. The stock heatsink will suffice until you decide to do some serious overclocking.
I'd suggest 4GB of DDR2-1066. This should cost somewhere around $50-$75 depending upon the model.
I'd personally recommend getting a smaller capacity drive (around 250GB) for the OS/applications and a second larger drive (at least 500GB) for storage. This makes it much easier to transfer all of your data to a different system and generally keeps things less cluttered. A 250GB drive can be had for around $50 and 500+GB drives go for $70 and up depending upon capacity.
Pretty much any DVD burner will do. I'd get one with a SATA interface rather than an IDE interface so you don't have to deal with the ribbon cable. This should be around $30-$50 depending on model.
This guideline should put you in line with your specified budget.
A word on overclocking:
High ambient temperatures and humidity will certainly affect overclocking in a negative way. You are going to want to ensure that you have good airflow over your processor and video card.
Dual cores are better for gaming but since you're also doing encoding, the quad core will out perform there. Newer games, such as grand theft auto 4, claim to use the quad core but from what I've read, there are many bugs in it. The other games that claim to use quad core don't do so very effectively so for gaming purposes, the E8400 would be better. With the overclocking, the Q6600 has quite a bit of room for overclocking so even at your high temps and humidity, you should have some room for overclocking. I personally am waiting for the prices to come out on the new AMD Phenom II. There were some benchmarks just posted and it performs better then the Q6600 in most gaming and encoding.
the E8400 would be better for most games, the Q6600 would be better for the encoding.
If I were to choose personally, then I would take the E8400 and have good game performance, and then let the encoding take 2mins longer (not like you sit there and stare on the progress bar anyway) but you do stare at the game
but thats my philosophy, it might not apply to you.
I bought an E8500 because I got it for like 15 bucks more then the E8400 so not like it hurt the pocket book so much but again prices change, and so does budget so looks what available when you buy and consider minor up/downgrades if it only cost slightly more/save a chunk from doing so.
I bought the corsair TX650W psu and is performs great (that was the best value when I bought) the 550W was actually more expensive, it really depends on what sells the most at the time of purchase.
if available in your area then look for mail-in-rebates too, tons to save on those too if you keep your eyes open.