General Value & Future Prospects for a new Gaming PC

Hey Everyone,

I'm informing myself since a few days about what kind of new System to get. My goal is to produce a capable gaming PC at a decent price which will be easily upgradeable (or doesn't need any upgrades in the near future). I'm sporting a 1980x1200 resolution on a pretty nice NEC screen.
I will get the Antec 300 case, as well as a generic DVD drive and some kind of gaming mouse. These three items run at around 110e together.
Besides a keyboard, Monitor and Harddrive I need everything new.

My First try was to create a i7 920 build. There i used 3x2gb g.skill 1333 ddr3 cl8 ram, 750w corsair PSU and a hd 4890. All the items would cost me about 900e at (very good German shop).
But after proposing this build (and posting it here), some of my friends are claiming that this is a waste of money and I should go for a much cheaper build with a core 2 duo and ddr2 ram. So I started to rethink my options and check if I can get a cheaper PC which fulfills my needs.

So my next try was a Phenom II setup with some weaker components.I got a Phenom II 955 @ 3.2ghz, with only a 550W-600W PSU (I will get OCZ or Seasonic), only use 2x2gb ram (g.skill cl7 1333 ddr3). With the Phenom II I would go for a cheap mainboard. right now I'm interested in taking the AsRock 780gx for 70e, which apparently has quite good overclocking capabilites and a decent performance. My only concern with this board is that the 2nd and 3rd Pci 2.0 slots only run with 8x and 4x speed, so this will basically keep me from getting a second 4890 later on.

The Graphics card I want to use in both systems is a Sapphire Radeon HD 4890 Vapor-X, which is reviewed as a cool running and silent model. But it's a little bit pricey since it costs me 180e, whereby the regular 4890s run at 150e. I think for the same price i could even get 2 4850 512mb in corssfire (but then I wouldn't get a very good model and maybe need a higher PSU). This build would run me at about 650e (maybe a little more). So I can calculate with 200-250e price difference.

650e seems to be a much more reasonable price for a system which needs the horsepower mainly for gaming (I mean, i do A LOT with my PC, most of the stuff just not so very often ;), but I feel like the I7 build seems to me very solid (high voltage PSU, d0 stepping i7, full sli&crossfire, x58 and so on) so it would maybe, be the better alternative in the long run.

Which build would you prefer? Or would you go a totally different route?
Is the PSU strong enough on the Phenom system? Do you think the Vapor-X Sapphire is good choice?

I start feeling that I already thought too long about this and rather use my time to work and actually gain some money instead of breeding over it for hours ;).

Thanks in advance,
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More about general future prospects gaming

    all tests with a single GTX 260 and the i7 gets spanked by lots of phenoms

    I would buy the 945 Phenom . Same part but no unlocked multiplier . The practical diffeence is that if you OC then you have to raise the FSB which is not any hardship at all

    4 gig of 1333 MHz DDR3 RAM

    a 790 seriesAM3 mb +

    the 4890 . All the 4890's Ive seen so far have the reference cooler . No real advantage in any particular model so buy the cheapest or one with the best game bundle IMO . Sapphire are a good brand though .

    650 watt psu . Quality brand
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