Hello, now is not the "best" time to buy. We are on the verge of 3 new generations of hardware. These are ATI 6XXX (18th this month), Bulldozer (AMD CPUs, Q1 2011) and Sandy Bridge (Intel CPUs, Q1 2011). It obviously would be best to wait though I understand that this is not possible for many people. I would encourage you to wait, what current PC do you have? If you are able to just upgrade the GPU now then do the rest of the system later this will also work well.
Also why are you limited to "itsdirect"? I live in Australia as well. I do not believe your shop offers pickup, if you are in Brisbane/GC then there are two sites I recommend. These are gocomp.com.au and umart.com.au, both allow pickup and have prices close to the cheapest around. I have cross referenced some of indirects prices with shopbot (searchs all shops to find cheapest price) and it is substantially higher. I would not recommend indirect in anyway, why is it that you are forced to go with them?
I would prefer you giving these to question/ideas a thought before doing you up a build. What I think would be suited would be probably an i5 760 with 2 GTX470s in SLI or similar.
When I have used itsdirect their prices always seem to come up on top, I had compared with about 5 other Australian based sites and itsdirect came out on top in price each time, some things would be slightly more expensive, but a lot of parts came out a lot cheaper. I couldn't get a close enough price comparison with MSY because I couldn't find a lot of the things I had selected on itsdirect. Here is the list of what I had on itsdirect, came it at $1645:
Antec Dark Fleet DF-30 Case (No PSU) - $135.30
Antec Earthwatts 750w Power Supply Unit - $147.40
ASROCK X58 Extreme3 Intel X58 Chipset Socket 1366 Motherboard - $236.23
G.Skill 6GB (3 x 2048mb) DDR3 1600 (PC12800 - F3-12800CL7T-6GBPI) RAM Module Kit (Suits Core i7) - $182.60
G.Skill Phoenix Pro Series 2.5" 60GB Solid State Hard Disk Drive (FM-25S2S-60GBP2) - $163.35
Intel Core i7 i7-950 3.06ghz Quad Core Socket 1366 CPU (8mb Cache) - $352.00
Sapphire ATI Radeon 5850 1GB VaporX PCI Express Graphics Card - $339.46
Samsung 1TB Full Speed SATA Hard Disk Drive 32mb Cache 7200RPM (HD103SJ) - $88.39
I can wait for the new tech to come out, but I have a friend looking at upgrading his PC soon and he was interested in buying my current setup which makes things a lot easier on me, my current setup is:
EVGA nForce 780i SLI mobo
MSI 8800GTS (never got around to upgrading)
4GB RAM (RMA'd 2 sets of OCZ SLI so now it's just some random kingston stuff)
Thermaltake Toughpower 750w
WD 320gb hd
I know I would see a huge improvement adding an SSD and a new gpu to my current setup but I would much rather a brand new system.
Even if indirect is cheaper you still have to post it right? If you cannot wait then don't. Check if your friend can wait, do some reading on the new tech and make up your mind. If you do wait you could buy the graphics card/cards now to put in it then upgrade the rest later. This way you get performance, get to upgrade to latest tech and your friend still gets the PC.
I believe the i5 760 is a much better option, if you are only gaming you won't see any extra performance from the i7. The only real point to the i7 is if you are running more then 2 cards as it has more available PCIe lanes.
Think I've come to a decision if I plan on buying before the new tech comes out, had a look at umart and came up with this:
Antec Dark Fleet DF-30 Gaming Case - $125.00
Intel Core i7 950 Processor LGA1366 3.0GHz 8MB Cache CPU - $333.00
ASRock X58 Extreme3 Intel X58 ICH10R ATX MB, DDR3 2000 (OC), PCI-Ex1 - $235.00
Sapphire HD5850 Vapor X_OC 1G GDDR5 PCIE - $339.00
G Skill 6G(3x2G) DDR3 PC12800 8-8-8-24 (6GBRM) - $165.00
Antec ATX EarthWatts 750W - $135.00
G.Skill Phoenix Pro 60G SSDHD 2.5 inch SATA2 - $162.00
Samsung 1TB Spinpoint F3 SATA II 7200RPM 32M - $66.00
Now I'm just unsure if I should pay them to assemble it, get it done locally or have a crack at it myself. Thanks for the advice, but I think I'm a bit too impulsive to wait until early next year for this .
Are you not confident in building? I would definitely build it, its very easy.
You should get an i5 760 instead of the i7. You will see NO performance increase with the i7 with gaming. They are the same CPU but one has Hyperthreading, hyperthreading is not used in any games and can actually have a negative affect on gaming performance. The only reason to get the i7 for gaming is if you are getting more then two cards.
With the money you save you could easily get the 5870, which will actually give you performance.
Going with PC Case Gear since I can't find that mobo on umart, reason I picked it is because I want USB/SATA 3 and only skimmed over the range, are there any other boards at a similar price offering similar? Would I be better off buying 2 cheaper 460 cards and running them in SLI or running a single 5870?
EDIT: These are the 3 scenarios with the i5-760 I'm seeing now,
Keep the 5850, wait for 6xxx series to be released and pick up a second 5850 (saving $170 at the moment)
Get a 5870 without any plans on going Crossfire (saving no money)
Get 2 x 460's (costing around the same as a single 5870)
Thanks for the link, that was really helpful. I was reading another article which compared 2 x Galaxy GTX 460 Overclocked cards to 2 x 5870 cards and the 460's came out on top, now I'm thinking for $60 more than the single 5870 I can get 2 of those 460's and have a pretty nice setup that is still within my budget.
the price diffrence between the 5850 and the 5870 in your country doesnt justify the performance gain,
I have the 5850 and I easily overclocked it to 850 mhz the same clock rate as the 5870, if you are looking at a difference, you can either get SLI GTX 460 which are awesome or one GTX 470 if its priced similarly to the 5850
also one point of advice, dont do SLI or crossfire, I know alot of ppl gonna disagree with me on this, but they are bad for two reason in my opinion:
1. new technologies are always coming, and if you do SLI or crossfire on even the newest of cards you would have put a large investment on an old technology by tomorrow standard, where if you waited about two years you can just sell your old card and get the newest shiny(also if you noted this, the DX11 market is still new and till now all the new cards whether from ATI or nvidia dont use all the benefits of the DX11 and if you look at metro 2033 they are not even optimized to that much technology)
2. selling two cards after the lifetime of the system is troublesome for me I lost about 60% of their original prices when I did, while if you sell one about 2 years or so after the initial purchase you will get much better deals for that card and you wont lose as much investment.
your choice, note also that in todays game there are no games that are too hard on a 5850 let alone anything higher so whats the point.