APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: As soon as possible. I'm shooting for tomorrow so that I can get the parts and build it this week, my spring break.
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, surfing the internet, watching movies, word processing.
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, DVD-RW drive (my current build has an IDE DVD-RW drive that I bought about five years back - would it be best to just grab a new one?).
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: U.S.
PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel i5 processor, either Asus or Gigabyte motherboards as I've heard good things and have had a pretty good experience with my current Asus mobo.
OVERCLOCKING: No. SLI or Crossfire: No.
MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080.
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Looking to spend about $1,000 after taxes and shipping, so any suggestions on cheaper parts or combo deals I might have missed would be appreciated. I'm pretty flexible and open to suggestions, I was researching a build last summer and am going off of the advice I got then. Finally getting around to ordering some parts now.
Thanks for the advice, whitefang! How future-proof is the AM3 socket compared to the P55? That issue (and the performance review from the March Tom's Hardware article on the best gaming CPUs) led me to believe the i5 was a better choice for my price range.
Any second/third/etc. opinions before I take the plunge tomorrow?
The AM3 socket will be around for the hexacore (6 core processor) and the 1156 is at the end of it's life. Usually when intel releases a new processor they release a new socket to go with it, kinda sucks but that's the way intel does things.
It depends on what kind of gaming you are doing and what kind of comfort level you have with reduced graphics settings.
If you primarily play RTS or strategy games such as the upcoming Civ V, your build might be best. Otherwise, for general gaming and graphics intense titles you are better off with the stronger GPU of Whitefang's build.
I'm not a big fan of strategy and RTS games, though I do play them from time to time (will probably want to grab Starcraft 2, for instance). I'm mostly in it for FPS games like Bioshock 2 and the Steam titles (TF2, L4D 1+2, Half-Life 2 etc.), RPGs, and some high-def movie viewing.
I'm really liking the build whitefang suggested - I was leaning toward an AMD 955 when I was considering parts at the end of last summer, but the hype over the then just-released i5 made it seem worth considering. The ability to upgrade to a 6-core processor in the future without swapping out the motherboard is appealing as well. I've also been pretty happy with my AMD 64 3200, but it's just time for an upgrade
Yeah the 955 + 5850 is great. It's what I have and whenever I get a new game I don't have to worry about any lag. All settings maxed with the maximum resolution too. With the setup I had before (CF 4830's) I always had to worry about turning some settings down in games like crysis.
It's just good to know that your PC won't have any problems playing any games. Gives you a good solid feeling.
Just put this build together in my shopping cart - it's $1,066.18 after tax (I live in CA - a fortunate thing aside from the whole tax on Newegg thing). Is there any way I could get the price closer to $1,000 without sacrificing too much performance?
I switched out the higher-end mobo for the one in the combo deal with Modern Warfare 2, added a 120mm case fan for the side panel, and grabbed some Arctic Silver thermal paste. Came out to $1,115.60 total with a $15.00 MIR for the mobo. I noticed that the stickied How To Build a Computer guide has the same case (the Antec 300) so I'm feeling pretty good about putting together my new computer! Thanks again for all of your help!
My parts finally arrived last Friday, and I put them together with no problems except for a faulty SATA cable going to my DVD burner that was easily replaced. It's been running great for a week now, and I'm really happy with it! Runs L4D2 at max settings without a hiccup, and I can finally play Gothic 3 without it being a choppy mess. The case looks great and I can't believe how fast my system starts up now.