APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: ~Next week. $800-$1000 budget. At this point, I'd like to try to get away with staying closer to $800 than to $1000.
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming will be the limiting factor. (doesn't have to be able to play 2010 games on max, though it be nice). But more importantly, I want this PC to last a while, so if paying a bit more for better quality parts (even if they don't perform much better) is fine.
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: No monitor, keyboard, or mouse needed. Just the case and components.
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg, fry's; bigger names pretty much.
G.SKILL ECO Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL7D-4GBECO
COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 compatible RR-B10-212P-G1 120mm "heatpipe direct contact" Long life sleeve CPU Cooler - Retail
Western Digital Caviar Blue WD3200AAKS 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
OVERCLOCKING: No, maybe crossfire later down the road but not a sticking point
MONITOR RESOLUTION: Not too sure what the resolution will be but the monitor I will be using is a widescreen 22inch.
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: This is the first time I build a PC so my knowledge of the whole process is pretty limited. I know the least about motherboards so any help in choosing is greatly appreciated. Not sure if it makes a difference if I get one of the newer motherboards but I'd like to be able to add an SSD drive and/or a Blu-ray (not burner) drive in the future. Lastly, a really dumb question, what is thermal compound used for (is it needed)?
"Refer P55A w/sata6 & USB3 support. Almost bought it, Got the P55-UD4P instead and am happy with it (Sligthly over $130 price point). P55A sounded good until I read the small print. If you enable Sata6 and USB3 support you loose the second pci-e slot and you down grade the first pci-e slot from X16 to X 8."
I wasn't entirely sure what to make of this, in particular the part about downgrading the first pci-e slot; how much difference does it make?
Thanks for the other suggestions; the board I picked was just one that was well rated and not too expensive but I'll look into the ones you linked.
it means nothing really terrible. basically, if you put a adapter card in there running at 150 mb/sec, then nothing. the 16 and 8 means that is what is multiplied to get the maximum speed of the slot, which is far above anything worrying about.