I was recently gifted a CPU and motherboard which, while not top of the line, are certainly better than what I currently have. I figure it's a good excuse to upgrade the entire system and since I've never built my own computer before, I would like a little advice on pulling it all together.
APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: 1-3 weeks.
BUDGET RANGE: Approximately $800 after rebates (but including shipping). My long-term goal is to eventually replace the CPU/motherboard, so I don't want to invest heavily in items with a limited tech lifespan, but am willing to spend a little extra on items I'll be able to move along to future builds.
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming (primarily World of Warcraft and single-player games. I'm not much into the super-intense multiplayer games), web browsing, word processing.
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg and Amazon.com
PARTS PREFERENCES: None, but I don't want shoddy parts.
OVERCLOCKING: Unless I get a lot of "this is a bad CPU to overclock" responses, I'll give it a try. I can't afford to overclock too aggressively, however.
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Not until I upgrade the CPU/motherboard.
MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1680x1050
PROPOSED PARTS LIST: Based on various sources on these boards and outside reviews, I've come up with what I hope is a fairly reasonable parts list. That said, I don't know whether they'll all play nicely together and whether there might be better options out there (either better-priced or better-quality are both welcome).
Case: I'd originally planned on going with an Antec P182 (~$150 + $30-40 for additional fans) due to its solid construction, removable filters (I live in a 100+ year old house) and good air handling. Unfortunately, the GPU I'd planned on scavenging just burned out, so I'm going to have to cut some corners here to stay in budget. I'm currently leaning towards the Antec 300 Illusion (~$65) as a compromise.
Power supply: Again, lots of options. 650W should be sufficient for my current usage, but I'd like to have extra headroom in case I go SLI/XFire down the road. I'm also not certain just how useful a modular PSU would be. Currently considered options (I've stuck to Corsair for high reliability/reasonable cost):
1) Corsair 750TX ($90). This seems like the best value to me currently.
2) Corsair 850TX ($120). More juice, but more money.
3) Corsair 650HX ($120). Modular, slightly higher rated PSU, but less power.
4) Corsair 750HX ($140). Modular, best efficiency of the bunch.
Operating System:Windows 7 Home Premium ($110, going with retail version since it's essentially the same price)
Other:APC Back-UPS RS 800VA/540W ($125) APC's calculator says this should be enough for even an i7, but I don't know enough about UPS's to know for certain. Again, help/recommendations would be useful.
Another potential purchase would be a fan controller (my motherboard doesn't support fan control and the Antec's fans all require removing the case to change), but I'm not certain it's something I truly need.
Thanks for the great thoughts! If you don't mind, I have a couple of questions regarding them.
CPU Cooler: Any reason you feel the Coolmaster is better? Frostytech has the CCF rated slightly better in terms of cooling, but it also shows great performance at low fan speeds as well (50 dB is admittedly pretty loud for a fan, compared to the 30dB for only 2-4C temp difference. The Coolmaster's low speed fares pretty poorly on their tests).
RAM: RAM is one of the areas I don't have much knowledge in, although it's also one area I didn't want to spend a lot of money on (I was actually given 4 Crucial Ballistix 1 GB sticks by the same guy who gave me the CPU/mobo, but he said that one or more were certainly bad). I may just skip RAM new altogether to start with and see if I can get at least two of those working. I assume there's no reason to go above 4 MB total RAM at this point?
HDD: If I can find the F3 somewhere, should I go with that instead? The prices of all three drives are pretty similar.
GPU: Will I notice a difference between the 5770 and 4890 in games like Oblivion or Dragon's Age? They're not quite as GPU-intensive as Crysis or the like, but they're no slouches either if I want as many bells and whistles as I can get.
PSU: The 750TX is only $10 more than the 650, which seems to me to be a worthwhile upgrade for long-term upgradeability. Is there any reason I should aim to keep to a smaller PSU?