I built a gaming machine last year which is still humming along nicely. This machine will primarily be a home office / Web Surfer / Kid's Games machine. I have an unused 32 bit Win 7 license for this box along with an existing monitor/keyboard/mouse to reuse.
No need to overclock or get too crazy with the GPU.
I am currently looking at the i3-530 but would be open to other suggestions including AMD in the same (or better) performance range.
I am looking to buy ASAP.
NewEgg offered me a combo deal on the CPU which I think makes this package attractive.
My NewEgg shopping cart:
Sony Optiarc 24X DVD/CD Rewritable Drive Black SATA Model AD-7240S-0B
SAPPHIRE 100245HDMI Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500418AS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
The Combo: Intel Core i3-530 Clarkdale 2.93GHz LGA 1156 73W Dual-Core Desktop Processor Model BX80616I3530
ASUS P7H55-M PRO LGA 1156 Intel H55 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL
LIAN LI Lancool PC-K58W Black 0.8 mm SECC, Plastic + Mesh ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Thermaltake TR2 TRX-650M 650W ATX 12V v2.3 / EPS 12V v2.91 Modular Active PFC Power Supply
$411.96 (Combo price saves me $102.99 from $534.95)
Did some Googling on the two CPUs. It looks like the i3 has an edge in some things while the X3 425 gets the nod in others. I don't understand myself why the i3 is bad but I notice on ALL of the other threads that AMD is the preferred choice in this price range.
I added the 5770 and that takes me to $666.71
I still have a little bit of budget left.
Where would you spend $50 more? Or should I save that for a future upgrade?
The i3 isn't a bad CPU. It's just not a gaming CPU. The i3 is excellent in low powered basic PCs and in HTPCs. However, by saving the $50+, you can have more to spend on more important parts in gaming (the GPU) without handicapping performance. It also doesn't hurt that the X3 has more true cores, and has the possibity of unlocking the fourth core.
I would check out the PSUs. OCZ is decent, but not high quality. Check out 650W units from Antec (Earthwatts or TruePower series), Corsair, Silverstone, SeaSonic or PC Power & Cooling. If there's nothing there in budget, up the case to the HAF 922 ($90 after rebate). That is one of the best cases and is a good foundation for future builds.
EDIT: I forgot there are also a lot of AM3 CPUs in that price range. The X4 620 is definitely affordable to you, as well as some others.