APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: In the next three weeks BUDGET RANGE: $600-700 before rebates (The closer to $600 the better)
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, virtualization, multimedia
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS (Win 7 x64 license)
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com, but flexible COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: United States
PARTS PREFERENCES: none
OVERCLOCKING: Yes SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe
MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1200 -- I have no problem dialing games down to 1680x1050
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Here is the build I've thrown together on newegg, inspired by the recent $750 rig in the SBM and making extensive use of combos to save money. My biggest concern is if any of my parts stick out as low quality or if there are ways I can get more bang for my buck that I've overlooked. I plan to keep this system together for a few years but am willing to upgrade along the way, which is why I went for the CrossFire capable mobo.
Thanks for the advice on the motherboard, this is my first build so there are details I'm sure to be missing -- I simply saw that NewEgg said it was CFX ready and assumed it would work. Is that a completely false advertisement by NewEgg or are they referring to something else?
I'd get DDR2 ram, I saw a chart a long time ago displaying differences between DDR2/DDR3, which are essentially the same thing. Well, DDR3 is slightly, slightly faster but DDR2 is definitely going to give you what you need. As far as the OCZ brand name - I've had terrible experiences with it, and I personally don't trust it. If I ever buy RAM or a Hard drive, or whatever it should be, I'd stay on brands like Seagate, Corsair, WINTEC (great ram, really under-appreciated), and so on. You should do some more research, I'd help you do that but it's a ton to sift through, but I hope this guidance alone helps you come to a better decision. Good luck!
I think DDR2 is yesterday's tech. If you are building today, and you aren't on a prohibitive budget, then there's no real good reason to get it.
Specifically in this case the build is well within budget and pretty much sorted out, changing to DDR2 RAM would mean another change of motherboard.
OCZ really need to do something about their unfavourable reputation for RAM.
If anyone can give me a better system in this price range I'd be happy to follow your recommendations, but it looks like I can expect decent gaming performance from this system as long as I don't need all the eye candy.
RAM: As has been pointed out already, OCZ's low end RAM(Gold/Platinum/Obsidian) has pretty flaky reputation these days. With your budget I'd go with one of these kits instead:
$103 A-DATA Gaming Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model AX3U1600GB2G9-AG - Retail http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or if you need to trim a few more dollars
$95 Kingston ValueRAM 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model KVR1333D3K2/4GR - Retail http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
PSU/GPU combo: $245 ($215 after MIR)
XFX HD-577A-ZNDC Radeon HD 5770 XXX Edition 1GB 128-bit DDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card - Retail
XFX P1-650X-CAG9 650W ATX12V 2.2 / ESP12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active PFC Power ... - Retail http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
^you get a factory overclocked card and a much better PSU for only $15 more after rebate(the OCZ needs it's own rebate anyway).
DVD+HD are good to go and the NZXT case is indeed a good deal, although since it only comes with one fan you'll probably want to add a few more once you start overclocking. Newegg's fan prices are generally terrible, so I'd recommend either Jab-tech for some Yate Loons or if you're going to get the Hyper 212+ from Amazon also pick up the 4-pack of CM 120mm fans($15) at the same time to take advantage of free shipping on orders over $25.