Hey everyone and thanks in advance for the help. Bottom line is my computer crapped out on me yesterday and I haven't kept pace with the hardware scene in years. I'm looking to buy a custom configuration from ibuypower.com (unless somebody suggests another decent site) - roomate of mine has had great experiences in the past with ibuypower. To give you an idea of what I'm upgrading from - I'm running an old Pentium 4 coupled with a Radeon 9800 (needless to say, I haven't had an ideal gaming experience for the better half of this decade). So any new computer will obviously blow my socks off.
I've read that the Phenom 2's for gaming/price value standpoint are better than getting a i7, but I don't have any real preference (the computer is mainly used for gaming, only video encoding I do is when I format some movies for my iPhone, but I'm not looking for bleeding edge performance.)
Also, from a video card standpoint, I'll be gaming at 1680x1050 and I wasn't sure if running 2 ATI 4770's in crossfire would be the best way to go or purchasing a single 4870 at that resolution? I'll occasionally run dual monitors (only for some word processing activities).
Other than that, all help and advice is greatly appreciated.
APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: ASAP
BUDGET RANGE: $1000 range, not firm on $1000 but don't want to go much higher
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, some online poker/random multitasking
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Monitor
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: planning on buying a custom configuration from ibuypower.com, but open to suggestion - simply don't have the time right now to assemble all of the components myself. instant gratification :-p.
PARTS PREFERENCES: Heavily leaning towards Phenom 2 955 BE with ATI 4770's in xfire or single 4870.
OVERCLOCKING: Maybe (never overclocked, but I've read it's easiest enough, so I'd overclock as much as I can on air)
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Only other thing that I'm contemplating and would like advice on is getting Vista 64 bit preinstalled or installing the Windows 7 prebuild on the machine and just buying the full version once it is released. I don't have any exposure to any Vista systems since all of the bad press it got at launch. Also wouldn't mind a case with a window and some eye candy inside.
I don't agree with tidefan. It will be better to just buy a new card in the future than adding something that, by the time you'll want to upgrade, will be outdated.
Two 4770s outperform a 4870, but are also a little more expensive, so it's up to you.
I'm running W7 64bit RC1 (build 7100) at the moment, and it's worked like a charm. Had some compatibility issues with one of my games, just ran it in Vista compatibility mode and the problem went away.
When looking for a gaming machine, it's always better to build it yourself. Pre-builts are either crappy or overpriced in almost every case. Overclocking also voids warranty on the whole system, in many situations.
Would there any issue with buying one of those video card configurations and wasting money since i'm gaming in 1650x1080 and not a higher resolution? Obviously I don't want to overspend on something I will not get the full benefit from.
Honestly, AMD would be a good option here. Phenom 2 is quite good. Go for AM3+790X/GX/FX+DDR3. ASUS and GIGABYTE have some good options. If you go ibuypower or with a retailer, tell them you want AMD and a HD4870. Honestly "i7" is better, but Phenom 2 is not bad. In this case, HD 4870 1GB or HD 4890 1GB is good. One of these is as good or better than 2x 4770. Be carefull on the PSU as well. Make sure you get Corsair 1000HX or Enermax, or OCZ or at least quality. Power is all to offenten overlooked. Watts don't mean quality. Hope that helps.