I'd love to get some help on what I could get for the same budget if I built it myself (which I've never done).
I mostly game on my current pc, with typical internet browsing but no real heavy lifting aside from wanting to play the latest and greatest games at a really nice framerate for a couple of years. My monitor is a 46" Samsung LCD running at 1920x1080.
I do not need a keyboard, mouse or speakers.
My preferences are 8 gigs of RAM, and an i7 cpu. A SLI or Crossfire capability would be great, though at this time I think I'd prefer to just get one high end card and add another later if need be.
A full-sized tower is fine.
A blu-ray player would be nice. A cd/dvd burner is mandatory.
I'm looking to start getting all of this stuff in the next week. Fry's has that Gateway on sale through the 20th and I'm sorely tempted.
To make it easier, I'm posting the specs from that Gateway:
Processor Intel® Core™ i7-860 Processor1 2.8GHz with Turbo Boost Technology up to 3.46GHz (8MB L3 Cache)6
Operating System Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium (64-bit)7
Memory 16GB DDR3 Dual-Channel 1333MHz Memory8
Hard Drive 1.5TB 7200RPM SATA hard drive3
Chassis High performance, black glossy design with trendy red accents and lighting effects
Video ATI Radeon™ HD5850 Graphics card with 1GB of Discrete Video Memory8
Application Software Microsoft® Works & Microsoft® Office Home and Student 2007 (60-day complimentary trial period)2
Audio High Definition Audio with 7.1 Audio Support
Available Expansion Slots Available: 0 - PCI-E x16, 1 - PCI-E x4, 2 - PCI-E x1
Dimensions (Box) 12" (H) x 20" (W) x 24" (D) or 304.8mm (H) x 508mm (W) x 609.6mm (D)
Dimensions (System) 17.7" (H) x 7.5" (W) x 19" (D) or 449mm (H) x 191mm (W) x 482mm (D)
External Ports (10) USB 2.0 (4 Front, 6 Rear), HDMI™, (2) eSATA, IEEE 1394a, (2) PS/2, (2) DVI, (5) Audio, (1) High Definition Headphone Jack, (1) Microphone Jack
Keyboard Multimedia Keyboard
Media Card Reader Multi-in-One Digital Media Card Reader with PhotoFrame Button4
Memory Capacity 4 DDR3 Slots Total (0 Slots Available)
Motherboard Systemboard with Intel® H57 Express Chipset
Mouse Optical Mouse
Network 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN (RJ-45 port)
Optical Drive Blu-ray Disc™ 4X BD-ROM / DVD-SuperMulti Drive and 16X DVD+/-R/RW SuperMulti Drive
Power Supply 750W Power Supply
I would personally never buy pre-built systems because your paying a large portion of it for branding and labour. Which means you can always get more if you build the system yourself. On the side note, tecmo34's build looks great.
It's a whole lot of money being spent for the sake of it to be honest.
If you are gaming then all you really need is the i5 750 as i7s offer little in the way of extra performance, but if you must get an i7 then just settle for an i7 860 (though at $100 more I still can't say it is worth it) at least then you arent spending extra money on X58 mobo and Triple Channel RAM which would be a lot of money for near no extra gaming performance
If you really want 8gb of RAM then just get two lots of Techmos suggestion, though again that is really just an extra $115 spent for zero performance gain in games
Aye, future proofing is a myth in most situations.
What you are really looking for is a computer that will last ideally about 3 years.
The performance difference between i7 and i5 games is insignificant - pretty much the big difference between the processors is the Hyperthreading that the i7 has, something which for gaming means nothing. When your i5 struggles to play games so will the i7.
For gamers the only reason you would get an i7 is for the socket 1366 with the belief that when the next CPUs come out you can upgrade without changing motherboard and RAM etc. However, in reality this too is pointless unless you are someone who likes to throw your money at the latest thing. The 1366 socket has a limited lifespan, as do most sockets these days.
The fact is you wont need to change an i5 computer for another 2-3 years, even longer with overclocking, by the time you need to change, you will be wanting to build a new machine, and your motherboard socket will be obsolete regardless of whether you went i7 or i5.
Hell, I had my 8800GTX card and E6700 for what...4 years and I was still running alot of games on high settings ad that was with no overclocking.
You need to remember that the latest and greatest is not necessarilly what you need as a gamer, keep in mind that people need powerful CPUs for programming and coding etc. and usually the high end technology is designed for that and has a lot of power that can be no use for gaming. The same goes for RAM quantity, as a gamer no more than 4 is of use.