Definitely need some help, here. I'm still running a home build from 2003, running an AMD Athlon 3000+ and 1GB of RAM. Viewsonic CRT monitor still... yikes. The most up to date piece of my system is the XP pro OS.
85% or 90% of the time this machine is used for website production (Adobe suites and editors) light video and audio production, light home theater/DVR, business apps and office. 10% - 15% of the time this machine will be for gaming. As such, don't I really want to get as much processor as I can, plus RAM, plus storage, and try to save some coin on the graphics front? In which case, doesn't that point me towards the intel i7? Or am I looking at this backwards and I really should be aiming lower on the CPU? What would you guys do in the same position?
^Indeed. But I'm going to take a crack at it anyway by making assumptions for the things you left out.
-You will be using your current case because you love it and it is awesome
-You power supply is old and dying so you will be getting a new one
-Your budget is $600
-You will be playing games like COD4 and Far Cry 2 on occasion and don't mind lowering the settings
-You want a new monitor
-You live in the USA, will be building yourself and wish to buy from newegg.com
-You don't need a new operating system or you already have a new one
-You need only a single 500GB hard drive
-You will be using video production programs that make use of multiple CPU cores but not CUDA.
The CPU should be able to handle anything you throw at it. The three cores will handle audio and video production well. The graphics are more powerful than a radeon 3870 and Especially at that monitor resolution will be able to handle most games. The hard drive is fast and quiet, so I have been told (they aren't available to me here in Canada), and I've liked my Asus VH series monitor so far.
Thanks for pointing out the location of this form. Here's where I'm at:
APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Fall or Christmas time.
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: (85% or 90% of the time this machine is used for website production (Adobe suites and editors) light video and audio production, light home theater/DVR, business apps and office. 10% - 15% of the time this machine will be for gaming.)
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, speakers
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com, Amazon.com
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: US
PARTS PREFERENCES: by brand or type (This is the question. Thought I wanted an intel i7... now, not sure.)
OVERCLOCKING: Maybe, but likely no. - SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No
MONITOR RESOLUTION: (would like to run 1920x1080, not married to any resolution for gaming, could scale back.)
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: (Budget... $650 is a nice dream of mine . $900 is my current max. )