Newbie, lots of questions, need parts recomendations!

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: The next 2 – 4 weeks is most likely, definitely want to have at least the parts by the time I get back to school, the 25th of August

BUDGET RANGE: $800-$1000

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Downloading and consuming music and movies, playing RTS, RPG, Simulation, and MMORPG’s, and browsing the internet.

PARTS PREFERENCES: I’ve set my heart on a quad-core, DDR3, computer with a minimum of 500 GB of hard disk space for storing numerous video and music files as well as many good video games as I can find. Sadly I have discovered these decisions have not narrowed my options by much at all and I am still overwhelmed by choices.

OVERCLOCKING: No, I’m what you might call computer illiterate, although I am working to change that. I will leave over clocking for a future project.

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No, although if some one could tell me what this means I would be grateful

MONITOR RESOLUTION: the laptop I use now is set to 1440 x 900, I’m not really sure what the importance of resolution is so if someone could explain this to help me make an informed decision?

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Music and video quality is very important to me, I’m looking at some nice Bose headphones in distant future, do I need anything to take advantage of those fully? Also looking at procuring a second monitor sometime next January, how do you enable dual monitors?

The hardest part I have concluded about building a computer is picking components, there are so many different factors to take into account and I understand none of them, can anyone provide me with an explanation (or a link to an explanation) of all the different specifications of the more important computer parts? i.e. the CPU, motherboard, hard-disk, RAM, video card, sound card, and anything I may have missed!
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More about newbie lots questions parts recomendations
  1. Quad core, for <$1000. OK. From Newegg:

    EVGA X58 SLI Micro ~$210
    Intel Core I7 920 ~ $280

    That is half your budget already. Dual core doesn't interest you?

    OCZ Platinum 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Voltage Desktop Memory Model OCZ3P1600LV6GK ~ $115
    CPU Cooler: Better stay stock for now; comes with CPU
    COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case ~ $70
    PC Power & Cooling S75CF 750W EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply ~ $120

    Subtotal: $795

    Still need HDD, GPU, and monitor.

    Western Digital Caviar Blue WD3200AAKS 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM ~ $50
    SPARKLE SFPX96GT512D3 GeForce 9600 GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card ~ $80

    Subtotal: $925

    Hanns·G HW-191DPB Black 19" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 700:1 Built in Speakers - Retail ~ $120

    Total: $1045

    Best I can do. You are going to have scavenge a mouse and keyboard. Otherwise:
    Logitect Cordless Desktop® Comfort Laser ~$80 at Buy.com

    I would really recommend a CPU cooler. XIGMATEK Dark Knight-S1283V 120mm Long Life Bearing CPU Cooler - Retail $45
    And a good thermal compound to join the cooler to the CPU: Arctic Silver 5 ~ $9

    EDIT: Oh, and a CD-RW: Samsung SH-S203N 20x DVD±RW DL SATA Drive (Black) ~ $36
  2. Quote:
    SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No, although if some one could tell me what this means I would be grateful

    SLI http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scalable_Link_Interface
    CrossFire http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATI_CrossFire
    Quote:
    MONITOR RESOLUTION: the laptop I use now is set to 1440 x 900, I’m not really sure what the importance of resolution is so if someone could explain this to help me make an informed decision?

    Gamers want 1920 x 1200 which you can get for half your budget. http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/products/Monitors/productdetail.aspx?c=us&l=en&s=dhs&cs=19&sku=320-6272
    I have a Viewsonic 24" HD/DVI Display 1920 x 1080 which cost me $210 at Costco. Real nice.
    Quote:
    ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Music and video quality is very important to me, I’m looking at some nice Bose headphones in distant future, do I need anything to take advantage of those fully? Also looking at procuring a second monitor sometime next January, how do you enable dual monitors?

    The EVGA X58 SLI Micro comes with a great sound chip. It is designed to drive an 8-channel home entertainment system.

    Dual monitors
    that graphics card I pointed you at has two DVI outputs.
    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/setup/hwandprograms/monitors.mspx
  3. Thank you for a reply! I am going to look over it later more carefully, right now I am short of time!

    I thought up another important question, which components affect Frames Per Second? I hear this is one of the key things to take into consideration on a graphic oriented computer.
  4. The GPU will primarily affect your frames per second (fps), the CPU to a lesser extent. So it's important to find a balance in your budget between graphics card and CPU. :)
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