First timer wants to build high end gaming machine

Hello everyone. I have lots of experience installing various parts to my old computers but have never built one myself. I cannot imagine it being too difficult for me to do, but at the same time I'm not very knowledgeable about all the various parts I need or which ones to buy.

I'm looking to build an expensive gaming machine. At first I was telling people that money is no object but many told me I'd be foolish to buy the literal top of the line items since at a certain point the monetary costs skyrocket in relation to the actual quality upgrades. I don't have a lot of money really, but I use my computer all day every day and I want to finally have a real monster at my side that I can play games on without lag. I'm going to upgrade my internet to the top level of speed soon and I want a machine that will appreciate it.

So I guess I am looking to buy parts that are high up the ladder technologically, but not unnecessarily expensive. To give a quick example of what I mean, I recently bought a 24" flat screen monitor. I really wanted the 30 inch, but simply could not justify the extra cost.

-The only thing I know I need for sure is an i7 processor.

-People tell me ATI video cards are better than Nvidia these days too. Do I want dual video cards?

-I want to go all out on the casing and cooling system (although water cooling prob isn't necessary) since I've ALWAYS had problems with overheating in the past. I want something I won't ever have to worry about in that area.

-I heard raptor hard drives are super fast, I'd probably want to get some of them. Or from shopping around it seems like the standard is to only have one of them as the C: drive and then a slower one as secondary?

Please list off the components you'd buy if you were in my position and don't forget the small parts because I probably will. All I'm starting with here is a keyboard and a mouse :)

Thank you SOOOO much for your help!
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More about first timer build high gaming machine
  1. Start with this as a base:

    Mobo: Gigabyte EX58-UD4P

    CPU: i7 920

    RAM: G.Skill DDR3-1333 (3x2GB)

    Heatsink: Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme 1366RT, with Thermalright LGA 1366 Bolt-Thru Kit and Arctic Cooling MX-2 thermal paste

    Video Card: Look for a good clear-out deal on the GTX 280. If not, then a new 55nm GTX 260 Core 216. Alternatively, the Sapphire 4870 1GB is a great value.

    HDD: 300GB Velociraptor

    Optical Drive: Samsung SH-S223Q (with Lightscribe)

    Case: Coolermaster 932 HAF

    PSU: 850W, Corsair TX or PC Power & Cooling

    OS: Windows Home Premium SP1 64 bit OEM
  2. If you're going to be primarily gaming and going to spend the money for an i7 system I would suggest at least -

    hopefully they work out the driver issues soon.

    If not, hopefully xfire the 4870 1gigs
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