Ok, so i decided to put together a new system after lots of research and help from all those who contributed to a separate thread of mine.
Many thanks to all those who replied. Due to a major banking problem (card cloners should be hung by their balls), i'm thinking about buying the components listed below. These were selected with an eye on future upgrades. I was buying for an i5 system however my budget is too tight for that.
Will be general purpose, leaning towards gaming like FSX, driving games. Monitor res 1900x1080. Eventual aim with GPU(s): run everything maxed out, AA AF etc, more concerned about CPU quality for this spending spree.
Video Card: reuse my 4650 for now (will upgrade in near future, does ok right now more concerned with CPU)
Optical drive: reuse my samsung something or other... (from hp oem desktop)
Hard drive: reuse my existing 500GB HD as additional storage
That totals approx $650 which is right at the limit of my budget. I realize a few of these parts are overkill but this is my reasoning:
1. The X3 Black CPU is apparently very overclock friendly and only comes in at 20 bucks more than a 550 X2 with the same motherboard.
2. The motherboard accepts most AMD3 CPUs, so if i chose to get a superduper 965 X4 later - thats not a deal breaker.
3. The ram is compatible with the board, so shouldn't need changing if i upgrade to another AMD. Not the fastest but fast enough for a better CPU (i hope).
4. The cooler works with intel and AMD sockets.
3. The board is crossfire ready (only 8x/8x but its cheaper) and seems to have a enough features for overclocking.
5. The PSU is also crossfire ready and should be enough for two GFX cards.
6. The case is fairly spacious with adequate cooling and reviewed well for a cheap one.
7. If i wanted an Intel CPU i5/7 at a later stage the AMD combo is so reasonable i wouldn't feel completely bent-over and i wouldn't need to buy all the ancillary stuff like PSU, case, drives, cooler, OS, GFX cards.
8. When i get my money back from the bank i can add two HD 4850s or a 4870 to put the icing on the cake.
9. The X3 system as it stands with the addition of GFX cards should hopefully run most games and 3-D applications on high settings for a while.
This will be my first build so i don't want to screw up on component selection and will be attempting to overclock. I've tried to maximize the versatility of the components in my budget and take advantage of combos as much as possible so i have less to worry about down the line.
Is this is a sensible approach and the right component selection. Thanks for all help, its a fair chunk of money for me atm so i want to get it right.
The only thing I see wrong is point #8. When you replace the GPU it will be with a Radeon 5770 (shipping in 2 weeks) or 5850 so you can play with DX11 when you run into a game that has it in a year or two.
Why does newegg do that? Prices change every 5 minutes on there. That'll be an extra 30 bucks then... guess i'll shelve the hsf for the moment.
Good point re the GPU. I'll wait to get a 5xxx. to be honest i might be waiting until christmas for the GPU when this bank might get its act together. Already been 2 months, was suppose to have a decision by last friday.