I am finally ready to build a new system to replace my old desktop that has been upgraded too many times over the past three years.
I want advice on where to spend my money and where I can skimp based on my needs. Besides the usual home computing use this machine will serve two primary purposes (1) video/music editing (2) playing simulation/strategy games such as Football Manager 2010 and Civilization 4 (and Civ5 come the fall).
I want opinions on the imporatance of the CPU vs GPU vs Ram vs other items to build the best possible machine for $800-1000 without Monitor, Keyboard, etc..
Here is a system I put toegether on Newegg quickly. Let me know if you think I made some less than perfect choices and/or where the most improvement can be made for the fewest dollars. Note: the RAID configured HDDs are a big help in editing large Video files.
GIGABYTE GZ-X7BMDX-400 Black Computer Case
switch out those WD drives for a samsung f3 spinpoint 1tb. if you need more storage, add another 500gb spinpoint. they are faster, more reliable, and run cooler than the WD.
that video card has to go. i would suggest a 5770 for the features and power, and it will also fit easily within your budget. a 4850 (for around $100) would also be a better option.
since you're still $200 under your maximum budget, i will also suggest that you upgrade your case. either a cooler master cm690 II or HAF 922 would be good choices, as are several lian li options. if you spend about $100 on a case, you'll get a ton of features and polish you won't find on a $35 gigabyte budget case, and it will make your build much easier.
another upgrade you might look into is your power supply. the psu you picked will work, strictly speaking, but almost every TH regular and system builder will tell you that good clean power from a name brand company is very important.
Why do you have a sata II controller card? The onboard has a sata controller that will raid 0. Is the card's controller that much better?
You might look at the faster/cheaper Samsung F3 500GB/1TB or seagate 7200.12 500GB/1TB drives instead of those old caviar blacks. The higher drive density will mean large files get handled substantially faster.
The RAM is a bit slow, you should get DDR3-1333 Cas7 or 8 RAM. Needs to be 1.65V or less.
The 5570 is fairly weak. Given how much you are spending, I would hate to see it have sluggish gaming graphics. The 5770 for $80 more is close to 3 times as fast and will let you play any game you want well. If you dont think you need that much, at least get a 5670.
You might look at the followng cases:
Coolermaster CM 690
Coolermaster HAF 922
Coolermaster Storm Scout (if you move it alot).
They are all $50-$100 gaming cases that have good airflow to keep your system cool.
Rather than the 640 GB WD drives, you should look at the 500 GB or 1 TB versions of Samsung Spinpoint F3 or Seagate 7200.12 drives. The 500 GB drives are about $55, and the 1 TBs are about $85-90. Alternatively, if you want to stick with WD, you could look at the WD1002FAEX 1 TB drive. All of the mentioned drives use newer 500 GB platters, which is faster and cooler than the 640 GB drives you're looking at.
What do you need the SATA card for?
This G.Skill RAM is somewhat faster at $25 more (with free shipping).
Based on your feedback here is my second build. Let me know if you still think I can get more bang for my buck. I went for a better Case/Power Supply and Video Card. I swapped out the RAID configured dual drives for a single 1TB SATA 6.0gb/S drive and compatible Motherboard.
ASUS 24X DVD Burner - Bulk Black SATA Model DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS
GIGABYTE Radeon HD 5770 GV-R577UD-1GD Video Card
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black Computer Case
COOLER MASTER eXtreme Power Plus RS-500-PCAR-A3 500W Power Supply
Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" SATA 6.0Gb/s Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD3 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard