Hi! I tried to follow the template as well as I could where it made sense to. Here it goes:
Approximate Purchase Date: Soon. Before Christmas, anyway. I was hoping to leverage some holiday-type sales in order to get good prices
Budget: I'm not trying to stick to a budget so much as I'm trying to figure out what I need, and some components that are good choices. Then I'm going to try to get stuff for as cheap as possible, maybe leveraging some holiday sales. If I had to throw out a number, I'd say ~$500, I guess.
System Usage: light gaming: WoW, Starcraft II, Portal, Half-Life 2
I was thinking about basing this around a Core i3 ($100 at Microcenter) unless somebody can give me a reason not to.
Probably 4GB of RAM -- I don't really know what I require speed-wise...
Monitor -- Something bigger than 20'' with at least 1920x1080 resolution. I'm open to the idea of a refurb here (I've heard that Dell's Outlet is good for monitors?)
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg I guess. I'm open to others.
Country of Origin: USA
Parts Preferences: I don't really have a preference... Looking to get good performance for my money, and was thinking about an Intel Core i3 initially.
At your budget, stick with an AMD system. You get more bang for your buck. Also, it's better to get more real cores than just 2 with hyperthreading. For gaming, Tom's has tested that you would need on average about 2.75 cores at most and at all other times you would have a GPU bottle neck.
Awesome, thanks for the input guys. I will definitely take a closer look at the AMD route... One question about the motherboard though. Is there any room in there for even more savings? I realize that $99 is pretty damn cheap, but I thought I'd ask since it seems like it has lots of bells and whistles that I won't necessarily use (2xPCIe, USB 3.0, SATA 6.0, optical audio, etc.)
Okay cool, that's kinda what I figured. Any gut feelings on what kind of performance I could get overclocking it? I'm going to do some googlin' to see what I can find, but I thought I'd ask if anybody here has success.
Also, do you think my 430W Thermaltake PSU will hold up?
What atotalnoob said. Although you probably won't use the extras immediately, they provide much room for expansion and futureproofing. If you'd rather not, here's an even cheaper cpu/mobo combo that's just as good. It has an older chipset so you may not be able to unlock the 4th core on the Athlon. You need one of the newer chipsets with core unlock and also a bit of luck to get the 4th unlocked, then you'd have a Athlon II x4 for the price of a x3.
I didn't realize that Thermaltake PSUs were considered to be such crap. Pretty sure the thing had excellent ratings when I bought it, or I wouldn't have. I haven't had any issues with it running a slightly older Athlon CPU and Nvidia GPU.