Need Help Building a Student [Budget/Gaming] PC

Hey All,

I'm looking to build a new system. Currently the only thing I have is an Alienware m17x provided to me by Dell as a free upgrade (love the Complete Care Warranty!). It's running a Dual Core Duo T9600 (2.8Ghz) and has 4GB DDR3 and a NVIDIA GeForce 260M. It runs well enough but it's kind of slow for gaming and I also am starting to do a lot of NetSec and VM work and it's really laggy - it also has some serious heat issues. I'm thinking of building a new desktop and getting a netbook for class. I'm looking for help figuring out what I need and if it's the right time to buy.

Price Range: $1,000-$1,200 (I also need to get a keyboard, mouse, and monitor - I only have a 19" 720p LCD TV)
Processor:I'm thinking Intel just because I have some brand loyalty to them, I wouldn't rule out AMD though. I'm looking for at least 4 cores, HT would be nice if you all think it would be an improvement.
Video Card: I don't own any consoles or anything for gaming. I do like to play me some occasional WoW and I love playing Battlefied BC 2 - if I get a new system I'd start playing more games. I'm open to both SLI and Crossfire, and if I can build an alright system with 1 card and then have the option to get a 2nd after that'd be great.
Disk Space: I'm not concerned about disk space, I'll prolly get a 1TB drive or something, maybe 2 500GB's.
RAM: I currently have 4GB ram, it seems to be working okay but I wouldn't be opposed to 6GB.

Basically I'm looking for any and all suggestions here. I'm looking for something that will last at least 3-4 years through it's current power or upgrades. Is now a good time to buy or should I be looking to hold off a few months to see what comes out. Would that help with pricing or future upgrade options?
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More about need building student budget gaming
  1. If you can wait, the new video cards from ATI will be oout soon. even if you don't go for one, they will affect the pricing of current gen cards.

    I'd recommend going for a core i5 build with that price range, but if you are going to wait for the ATI 6xxx cards, you may as well wait until then to look at other parts too. since prices are likely to drop.
  2. Best answer
    Just to contribute to HDD, The best of all HDDs for the price is the Samsung F3 1TB, 500gb platter size gives a bit faster than most WD Black series. Plus the RAID 0 of the F3 is just a beast.

    As for CPU, welsh has said the i5, I agree. The i5 750/760 is the specific ones you want, beyond that there really is no point unless your using your cpu crazy, by that moment I'd recommend going with the i7 950 (but Sandy Bridge is coming soon so I'd recommend staying away from 1366 builds currently).

    As for cards 2 GTX 460s are best for the budget right now. Specially since you can find em so cheap in the US. One on newegg is only 170$ so two will put you at 340$. Which is great because it'll give you the option of Physx if you ever need it. And the fact that it'll run BF:BC2 like a beauty. IF you didn't know, 2 GTX 460s = 1 GTX 480 with cooler temps. So it'll give you room to OC. I recommend the DirectCu model if you do end up going with two 460s.
  3. If your near a micro center their processors are cheaper than anyone, but only in store. I7-930 for 200 950 230. I5-760 169 if you do have one locally it also supports your local economy, which in these times is important. my buddy runs starcraft 2 on sli'd 460 768s on ultra...bumps up the heat a bit...
  4. Best answer selected by InternshipsSuck.
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