First Complete System

I've done quite a bit of computer customization / upgrading in the past, but with regards to new builds / technical knowledge... I'm really not that proficient. I've actually had my computer now for about 6 years, and I'm looking to build my first new one from scratch. I'd consider myself a gamer - though most of the gaming I do currently is on consoles - mostly because my current system is too out of date to run new games. I used to play the earlier Warcraft / Starcraft / Diablo games quite a bit... can't see myself getting into anything too graphics intense, but I'd like that option over the next couple years.

My budget is flexible. I'm looking to spend about 1500 all in (including Windows 7, Monitor, Keyboard, Mouse, Case, etc...) Speakers not included in budget...

My main hangup at this point is figuring out whether or not to go with an i5 or an i7, which dictates the MB I'd need to purchase, as well as whether or not I need 2 or 3 RAM DIMS. Right now I'm looking at the i5-660 or the i7-920.

Would love some suggestions on which CPU to purchase, and a lot of help on MB / GPU selection. I'm fairly comfortable selecting the rest, and I'd like to start listing my components in this thread. I'd also like some suggestions on a Case - though I really do like the:

AZZA Fantom 900 Black Japanese SECC Steel/Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

Looking forward to your suggestions, and please do let me know if you have any questions.
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  1. I would suggest the i5 for gaming, but not the dual-core i5-660. Here's a build that includes everything but the keyboard and mouse for $1,400. That leaves you with $100 to pick whatever keyboard and mouse you want.

    Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor - Retail

    GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD4P LGA 1156 Intel P55 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard w/ USB 3.0 & SATA 6 Gb/s - Retail $364.98 (CPU + motherboard combo)

    G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL7D-4GBRH - Retail $99.99

    SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive $54.99

    Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM

    SAPPHIRE 100281SR Radeon HD 5870 (Cypress XT) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card w/ATI Eyefinity - Retail $494.98 (OS + GPU combo)

    COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

    COOLER MASTER UCP RS700-AAAAA3 700W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Power Supply - Retail $179.97 - $20.00 MIR (Case + PSU combo)

    There's an even cheaper combo for an OCZ PSU, but it doesn't have enough power connectors for Crossfire 5870's and is not as nice.

    SAMSUNG 2494SW Glossy Black 24" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 DC 50000:1 (1000:1) - Retail $199.99

    Total $1,394.90 - $20 MIR
  2. i like the set up shortstuff made, however i would suggest this monitor instead for only 20 dollars more.
  3. Thanks for your input guys. Great suggestions and I'll probably use all of them.

    i5 recommended purely from a cost / benefit perspective?

    You should see the POS I'm upgrading from... LOL... Sometimes I type too fast and it has to catch up with me. Awesome.
  4. The i5-750 is king for this type of build. The new dual-core i5's don't make any sense since they're priced right around the same as the 750. The i7-920 setup won't be any faster in gaming and will make you have to sacrifice something to make your budget.

    The above build is a powerhouse and is even ready to drop another 5870 in later in Crossfire if needed.
  5. No question that shortstuff's build is excellent. Looking at this, however: "...can't see myself getting into anything too graphics intense, but I'd like that option over the next couple years" makes me wonder if, even if the money is there, the OP's needs would not be met by a significantly cheaper GPU, like a HD5770. Just a thought if you'd like not to spend the whole wad. Or, depending on uses other than gaming, add a second monitor to the build.
  6. That's a great suggestion. I'm assuming both those cards can handle two monitors?

    Would you forsee any downgrade in graphic performance on new-gen games? Nothing like a crazy FPS - more like 3rd person Strategy...

    Keep in mind I'm not a visualphile (is that even a word?)...

    The money isn't a HUGE issue, but then again... who doesn't want to save 250...
  7. Yeah, the 5xxx series can handle up to 3 monitors. The 5770 would be a solid card for you imo
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