I've been using the same system for close to 7 years now and am looking to build a new one. I haven't built anything since I made this one, so I've forgotten more than I know.
I'm looking to build an AM3 machine for reasons of cost and upgradeability (it looks like AMD doesn't change chipsets very frequently, so this should last me a long time) and am largely aiming at value. Here's what I've priced out. All prices are from NewEgg.
Case: Antec Three Hundred Illusion - $60
PSU: Corsair HX Series CMPSU-750HX - $150 (-$10 rebate)
Motherboard - Gigabyte GA-870A-UD3 - $105 (-$30, combo with PSU)
CPU: AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black - $105 (not betting on extra cores)
Cooler: Scythe SCMG-2100 Sleeve CPU Cooler - $35
Thermal Paste: Arctic Cooling MX-2 Thermal Compound - free with cooler
GPU: XFX HD-577X-ZNFC (Radeon 5770) - $160
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws 4GB (2x2GB) 240-pin DDR3 1600 - $100
HDD: Seagate 750 GB - $70 (-$20, promo code)
In addition to the above:
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-pack for System Builders - $95 (-$10, combo with the GPU)
Optical: $22 (the "Featured" ASUS drive, but it hardly matters what I put here)
Mouse: Logitech G500 - $60 (-$20 combo with case)
All of this runs me $881 plus shipping. This doesn't include a monitor or keyboard; I figure I'll just pick up something at Fry's for the latter (wired, traditional non-ergo layout). For the monitor... I am considering getting a VGA adapter and continuing to use my old 19" CRT (I'm happy with it and it is in good shape). Does anyone have any experience with those? Or should I spend $220 on the ASUS VW246H (or SAMSUNG P2450H for same price with promo code)(what's the difference between them anyway?)?
I'm trying to cut corners wherever I can-- I only intend to use this system for gaming and largely to play Final Fantasy XIV when it comes out (which has Crysis specs). Am I spending wisely?
Approximate Purchase Date: No rush, but sooner = better.
Budget range: under $1000 preferably
System Usage: Gaming, youtube.
Parts not required: ... I think everything is required at this point.
Preferred website for parts: Been using Newegg because I know them, open to suggestions.
Country of origin: I'm in the US.
Parts Pref: AMD or best offer
Overclocking: Moderate yes
Not really overspending but you don't need the 750HX for your build (overkill). You can drop down to the 650HX (dual) or 550VX (single) and still have enough power. Since you are getting an Antec 300 Illusion, I would look at this combo... Antec 300 Illusion & Antec EarthWatts EA-650
Side note... Your motherboard really doesn't do Crossfire, so you have limited that path with your motherboard. Meaning... x16, x4 isn't a recommended Crossfire setup.
Agreed with Tecmo. The PSU is way overkill. If you get the combo he suggests, you'll spend $120 instead of $210. This saves you $90. You can now get an x4 if you want (I would), or a better mobo. It might even be enough to bump you from the 5770 to the 5850. If your running a 19" CRT, I'd probably bump the mobo up to something better, grab an x4, and pocket anything left over.
The adapter should be fine. I used one for awhile on my old 17" CRT. I eventually grabbed a 20" 1680x1050 LCD. The only problem you might have is the adapter adds to the back of the card, so it sticks out farther. It might also work itself loose so make sure you tighten the screws. You'll be fine using it as long as you want to however.
Thank you for the information and advice so far-- I'll definitely switch to cheaper PSU and more efficient memory (I had no idea about CAS7). I just have another question:
Of GPU (5770), CPU (X3 720), and mobo (870A), which is the most limiting?
The next step up for the mobo, to either 890GX or 890FX, would be anywhere from $50 or more. Near as I can tell, the only thing the 870A is missing is the ability to properly Crossfire. Going forward, am I more likely to buy a second 5770 or just use a single 5850?
A 5850 would run me $300 or so (cheapest I saw was $289 for an XFX), over the 5770's $150.
An X4 955 costs $160-- for gaming, is it really going to exceed an X3 at $105 by enough margin to justify spending there? Before seeing that the X3 cost $5 more than the X2 555, I was just going to go with that and try to OC it.
The 5770 would be the most limiting of those three, but you're still limited by your monitor (that doesn't mean you have to buy a new one now to enjoy games at high settings, it just means the 5770 has the muscle to handle higher resolutions).
Instead of getting a Phenom II, have you considered the Athlon II x4? The 630 is the same speed and price as the 720 but it has an extra core (true, the l3 cache is missing, but overall the extra core should help you more than l3 cache would) and they are just as overclockable as the Phenom IIs.
When/if you ultimately upgrade your monitor, you'll probably want to buy a new single card solution rather than add in a then-outdated HD 5770, but that does depend on when/if you decide to upgrade your monitor.