SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: gaming, surfing the internet, watching movies
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS (XP Pro), fans, DVD Burner, DVD-ROM drive, sound card (Sound Blaster Audigy2)
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com, maybe tigerdirect.com
PARTS PREFERENCES: No particular preference. I've been using Intel and ATI Radeon the last 6 years, which is when I got into PC gaming, but I'm willing to try AMD and/or Nvidia, for example. I'm looking for the best options at my budget.
OVERCLOCKING: More than likely, just not too extreme.
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe, at a later date. Budget only includes a single GPU.
MONITOR RESOLUTION: I run my desktop at 1600 x 1200. I'm not too familiar with running games at high resolution since my system is 6 years old. My monitor is a NEC MultiSync FE2111SB, which is a CRT. It supports up to 1920 x 1440 @ 50 to 76 Hz. NEC's recommended resolution is 1600 x 1200 @ 50 to 91 Hz, with 85 Hz providing optimal performance. Will hopefully upgrade to a LCD later.
I sent my system in for a diagnosis since it wouldn't turn on. The PSU and motherboard are toast. The computer repair shop will charge me $175 whether I decide to replace the PSU and a same socket motherboard (socket 478) or upgrade the CPU, motherboard, GPU, PSU, and memory. I'm tempted to do it myself despite the fact that this would be my first build.
CPU: I was looking at the some of the dual core processors from both Intel and AMD. I also checked out the Best Gaming CPUs For The Money: July 2009 article. I not sure which, Intel or AMD, would be ideal at my budget.
If you have a HDD that you can carry over it will bring the price down to $620 before rebates and $580 after. Also i would suggest bumping this in a couple days as the month just changed so there are currently no good newegg combo deals available but that will change in a few days.
I forgot to mention that I have a case although I don't know if it will be ideal, especially for airflow and keeping things cool. It's a 6 year old Alienware full tower case. It's the older rectangular design, not the ones with the alien eyes.
Outlander_04, thanks for the link. I didn't see that one when I was searching for threads with similar budgets.