A couple of general ideas for a new build

So I haven't upgraded anything since my xfx 7950 in '06. Needless to say, I have been a little out of the loop. I am obviously well beyond the point of needing to upgrade, so here were a couple of ideas for builds I came up with. I have admittedly been an AMD and Nvidia fanboy, but I am definitely open to suggestions...

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: sometime between now and october

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: gaming, internet, school-work, photoshop

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: I honestly don't know right now

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: almost always Newegg.com

PARTS PREFERENCES: Like I said, I have traditionally been an AMD and Nvidia fanboy, but what with market upheavals in the last 3 years, I am open to change

OVERCLOCKING: a bit

MONITOR RESOLUTION: sounds like 1680x1050 is the way to go

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I would like to keep cost down, but understand that building a new system from the ground up is going to cost some dough. I am mostly trying to figure out what my best course is, in order to figure out how much I need to spend, so here we go...

system #1: AMD

AMD Phenom II 720 AM3 BE
ASUS M4A78T-E
4gb G.Skill PC 1333 DDR3 Model F3-10666CL8D-4GBHK
Corsair PSU 750w
Antec 1200 Case

and eventually:

WD 640 Gb HDD
ASUS 21.5 2ms Monitor
a Vid Card (unsure as of this point which to get)

system #2: AMD
AMD Phenom II 955 AM3 BE
ASUS M4A78T-E
4gb G.Skill PC 1333 DDR3 Model F3-10666CL8D-4GBHK
Corsair PSU 750w
Antec 1200 Case

and eventually:

WD 640 Gb HDD
ASUS 21.5 2ms Monitor
a Vid Card (unsure as of this point which to get)

system #3: Intel

Intel i7 920
ASUS p6T LGA 1366 Intel X58
6Gb G.Skill PC 1333 DDR3 Model F3-10666CL9T-6GBNQ
Corsair PSU 750w
Antec 1200 Case

and eventually:

WD 640 Gb HDD
ASUS 21.5 2ms Monitor
a Vid Card (unsure as of this point which to get)

Also looking at possibly an aftermarket heatsink, if necessary, and a new mouse and keyboard, etc. Basically starting over slowly.

I have been reading several reviews for the past week and a half, but I am a little out of touch. This seems like a good place to get confirmation and/or suggestions about what to do instead of what I have posted. I have always had luck with AMD, ASUS, Corsair, Antec, and XFX (before that Gainward until they left us), and Western Digital. I understand that AMD aquired ATI, which hasn't seemed to affect Nvidia compatability to date, but is still worrisome. And Intel has left AMD in the dust as far as general computing goes.

Do any or all of these builds seem okay? Are there any changes that you all would recommend? I am not planning on trying to push the limits of overclocking or be the best gamer. With the exception of Mabinogi, I don't really game online. I will be playing COD 4 and 5, Civ4, and probably several others. Thinking that a 1680x1050 resolution would be nice eventually for gaming. I also photoshop a bit, and I would like the system to be responsive, hopefully while playing music at the same time. In reality, I think that I just enjoy putting my own systems together more than I like playing around on them, and I am very far beyond then need for an overhaul. My current system houses: AMD Athlon 64 3200+, Asrock dual-SATA2 939 board, 1Gb Corsair XMX (2x512), Antec Smartpower 400w PSU, XFX 7950GT 512Mb 256-bit, WD 250Gb SATA2 7200rpm, WD 120Gb IDE, WD 160Gb IDE, Samsung 19" 4:3, Powmax with a handle (case), J&J $10 keyboard, and a cheap optical mouse.

I am also looking to upgrade from my XFX 7950 card, but what with DirectX11 being on the verge of coming out, it seems rather pointless to go all out on a new card right now. I have been looking at 260s and 275s (maybe even as low as a 9800gxt), and even have considered 4870s or 4890s. I have had great luck with XFX, but I think I would be willing to branch out. Gigabyte, ASUS, EVGA, and Sapphire all seem to carry a bit of weight nowadays.

I am hoping that whatever I end up going with will last for a decent while. I am still in college, and paying my own way, so I can't just upgrade whenever I want to. I am looking for something stable that can do whatever I need it to do: casual gaming at decent settings, be responsive, multi-task, and that will last at least a couple of years with the understanding that moderate upgrading along the way is a necessity (especially for someone who loves to build).

Any help would be very much appreciated. I will be traveling all day tomorrow, so if I am not responsive immediately, that is why. Thanks in advance!
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More about couple general ideas build
  1. sorry, I forgot to add that I am expecting to eventually need to pay $1200-1400, but less, is of course, desirable.

    also, I have never done either SLI nor Crossfire, so I suppose it worthwhile to consider as an alternative. I don't really know enough to form an opinion on "to multi-GPU, or not to multi-GPU."

    thanks again.
  2. Over clock the i7 to 3.4GHz - 3.8GHz and it will eat the AMD's for lunch. D0 stepping ftw

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139006 $109.99 ($99.99 after $10.00 Mail-In Rebate) Free Shipping*
    CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail

    http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=MB-EX58U4P $219.99 | $204.99 after rebate
    GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD4P Core i7/ Intel X58/ DDR3/ CorssFireX & 3-Way SLI/ A&GbE/ ATX Motherboard

    https://www.antaresdigital.com/customer/product.php?productid=16135&cat=282&page=1" $ 280.00
    Intel Core i7 920 2.66GHz LGA 1366 Socket 8MB Cache CPU D0 Stepping

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835233029 $39.99
    XIGMATEK Dark Knight-S1283V 120mm Long Life Bearing CPU Cooler - Retail

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835154003 $4.99
    Tuniq TX-2 Cooling Thermal Compound - Retail

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130475 $239.99 ($219.99 after $20.00 Mail-In Rebate) Free Shipping*
    EVGA 896-P3-1170-AR GeForce GTX 275 896MB 448-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
    Free Cryostasis game w/ registration at manufacturer website

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231247 $94.99 Free Shipping*
    G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136319 $74.99 Free Shipping*
    Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827151171 $24.99
    SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R DL 22X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 22X DVD Burner - OEM

    Total: $1,089.92 | $1,1044.92 w/mail in rebates

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/dd353205.aspx?ITPID=mscomsc <--- Save yourself some money on an o/s until March 2010 and dl the 64 bit version of Windows 7

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128374 <--- more pics, specs, and customer reviews of that Gigabyte UD4P mobo used in this build

    http://www.anandtech.com/weblog/showpost.aspx?i=584 <---short review on that D0 stepping i7. It runs cooler than the older C0 stepping i7's

    http://www.fudzilla.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=11773&Itemid=1 <--- that's one way you can tell if you have a D0 stepping cpu or not
  3. +1 to Why_Me

    That build is great. I'm putting together basically that in a week or so, except that I'm an ATI fanboy and will probably go with the ASUS P6T SE / Radeon 4870.

    Also, that Xigmatec cooler = awesome and cheap. I'd also recommend either the PC Power and Cooling 750W Silencer PSU or the Corsair one above.
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