I decided to make the system I bought in January a dedicated mediaserver/htpc in another room of the house. It was a good system, it didn't play Crysis very well but Fear 2, Far Cry 2, Fallout 3 and DoW 2 all run fine at high settings, anyways the system is:
AMD Phenom 9500 2.2Ghz (TLB disabled) Stock cooling
XFX 8200 Motherboard
8GB Corsair XMS2 DDR2 800
Silverstone SG03 case
Enermax Modu82+ 625W PSU
250GB HD, 500GB HD
Some $25 DVD drive
I'm going to take 4GB of the RAM, the PSU, the 250GB HD and the GPU for the new system. So, I'm looking at a new CPU/Mobo, CPU cooler, and DVD drive for the gaming machine.
And here with a $105 diff in AMD CPUs, I'm leaning towards the 720BE.
And a cooler I'm going to go with the XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683... $45
I've seen retention brackets mentioned before, I'm not sure what I would need these for though
Newegg.ca doesn't sell Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound or anything like it.... O'Canada.
Optical Drive... $25
I'll start of by saying I'm Canadian and I'll be ordering from newegg.ca.
I play my games at either 1080p and 720p (if I can't handle 1080p like Crysis).
I don't want to crossfire/sli.
I will OC and agressively, but I'm not willing to spend my extra money on parts (mobo and ram) that may give me an extra .1 or .2 Ghz.
I can't really think of a drawback of mATX as long it fits the case so I tend to learn towards this form factor.
Despite what the sites may say I don't get free shipping, Halifax is not a remote area damn you!
As for the CPU's I think I just need to wrestle with myself over what one I want although it looks to be a choice between the 720BE and Q6600 ($60 differince in price with mobo factored in) I really would like to have some suggestion and comments on the motherboard as that is what I'm the most unsure about.
More about :building system mobo suggestions wanted
The Q6600 is good too. I have one myself. However, it's based on older 65nm technology and it is slower. If you pick that, pair it with a GA-EP45-UD3R.
If you look at reviews on the Web you will see the E8400 doing fine in games, so that's not a bad choice either. However, it will not do nearly as well in multithreaded games like FSX or GTA4, or if you run other things in the background while playing.
Keep in mind that benchmarks you see on the Web with the E8400 beating the Q6600 are misleading, because in real life you will run things in the background (Windows services, downloads, antivirus, whatever). Reviewers don't do that, and they even run a special command ("Rundll32.exe advapi32.dll,ProcessIdleTasks") to make sure there's nothing else running but the game they're benchmarking.
I'm not sure what the difference between the Asus 780V and the Gigabyte 780G. I looked at them both and went with the Asus because it had more positive customers. With that said, I have no problem going with the Gigabyte 780G you picked out.
I ended up ordering both a Asus 780v and a Gigabyte 780g. I'll be putting the 780g into the HTPC and tossing the XFX 8200. I have a Zalman 8700 CPU cooler that wouldn't fit the XFX 8200 but it will fit the 780g.
The Asus 780v will go with the PII 720BE/Xigma CPU cooler. The thing I should point out about the Asus 780v that I noticed was that no HDMI and instead DisplayPort. Also, from the reviews it seems to work out of the box with the Phenom II CPUs something that the Gigabyte 780g had people reported having problems with. I could get around that because I have an AMD Phenom 9500 but it would of been more hassle than it was worth.