PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: United States
PARTS PREFERENCES: I'd basically just like to stick with Nvidia, either Intel or AMD works.
OVERCLOCKING: No SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe
MONITOR RESOLUTION: My monitor is a 17" Dell, but I like to run 1280x1024 instead of the native 1024x768
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I'm looking for something flexible and expandable that can last me a couple years. When I can't run a simple game like NBA2k10 over 20FPS, I know it's time to upgrade. With Battlefield Bad Company 2 coming out and requiring at minimum a Dual-Core processor, my single core AMD FX-57 is so 2006. Thanks in advance guys and gals! This is a great service the Tom's Hardware forum members provide!
This is basically a build that another poster on here us would typically suggest for a gaming build for this kind of budget. I know that you said you wanted an Nvidia card, but the 5850 outperforms almost every Nvidia card, except maybe the GTX 285/295. ATI are ruling the gaming cards section atm. So no one on here will suggest a Nvidia card unless absolute performance isn't the most important factor, or Nvidia cards have an advantage in the game(s) that you want to play.
Now, a 5850 is overkill for your resolution, so you can keep it knowing that you will be able to keep it for ages or perhaps you could go down to a 5770, and then you'd have plenty to get a nice 1080 monitor that a 5770 would be able to run perfectly well and seeing as this system can crossfire then you could add another one down the road when you feel like you need it for new games. This makes sense as two 5770s are usually better in games than a single 5850, so you could keep two 5770s as long as you could keep a single 5850.
As far as I'm concerned, you can keep that power supply, as it is powerful enough for a single 5850 or dual 5770s and it has been shown - in two reviews that I've read - to have good voltage regulation. But there is enough room left in the budget (if you decide not to get a new monitor) that if you wanted you could get a new case and/or PSU, altho the PSU isn't a priority, unless I'm mistaken.