My friend came to me recently and wanted me to spec out a new gaming rig for him that cost $1000 or less. I tried to put together a machine on that budget but ultimately failed due to lack of experience with lower-high end parts (my builds are all $3000+ =P). I asked him his preference of AMD/Intel and ATi/Nvidia, and he likes both AMD and Intel and would rather have an Nvidia GPU.
I was thinking maybe a Phenom II x6 1090t BE (stock cooler), an ATX AM3 mobo (derp), a GTX 460 1GB, 4-6 GB DDR3 1600, a ~$100 LG BR reader/writer, Coolermaster HAF 932/922/X, 7200RPM 1TB HDD on SATA II 3.0 GB/s, possibly a small (20GB) SSD for boot, and a 750W PSU.
Can you guys give me a hand? Especially the motherboard. I have no idea what's going on when I look at AMD based mobos >.<
For gaming, spend your budget first on a great graphics card. At a resolution of 1920 x 1200 or so, try to get something like a GTX470; they have recently been reduced in price. If you can swing a GTX480, even better. They will be under price pressure from the new GTX580.
For the cpu, I think the 6 core AMD processors are a poor choice for gaming. Very few games use more than two cores, certainly not more than 4. Once you get to two or 3 cores @ 3.0 or better, you will have sufficient cpu power for gaming. The Phenom II X4 965 or the Intel i5-760 would be a better choice.
Once you pick the cpu, you can pick the motherboard. Most any will do, unless you have some special requirements. I would not spend much of the budget preparing for SLI. It is easiest to replace a single video card for an upgrade if you ever need to.
A 650w psu is plenty, and don't skimp on the quality. Look for Antec, Corsair, Seasonic, XFX to name a few.
The XFX 650w unit is modular, and reasonably priced.
Budget about $100 for a boot SSD. It really makes everything feel snappier. 20gb is too small. The 40gb Intel X25-V is about as small as you can go.
Get your friend to pick out a case he likes. If the PC will be used for lan parties, you want portability.
Look at some of the micro-atx motherboards. They can fit in some nice small cases.
AMD Phenom II x4 965 (stock cooler)
Nvidia GTX 480 or 470 (I told him to look on Ebay since everybody is dumping their 480s to buy 580s. The deals on cards in great condition are unbelievable.)
LG Blu-Ray Burner
Coolermaster Haf 922 Blue
XFX Black 750 Watt
WD Caviar Black 1TB 7200RPM
He also already has a copy of Win 7 so I dont need to price that in. All this comes in at about $1000 on the nose. Is this any good?
In regards to the Black Edition WD vs the f3, the f3 has faster sequential read, while the WD has a faster access time.
If you do go with a boot SSD(nothing under 32 or 40GB) I'd agree that the f3 is the better drive, but the WD should boot a bit quicker, and feel snappier, though both differences are pretty negligible; if either one is much cheaper that the other it becomes the better value. This generally tilts towards the F3, though depending on sales and combos can change.