Approximate Purchase Date: Before Black Friday, otherwise, will postpone purchase
Budget Range: $750 or LESS Before Rebates
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Computational simulations (Folding@home)
Parts Not Required: Already have Win 7 Professional; Will buy a monitor on a separate budget, please suggest a resolution for the monitor.
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg.com, Microcenter
Country of Origin: US
Parts Preferences: AMD Phenom II X4 BE or i5 750; preferably Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, or ASRock for Mobo
Overclocking: Yes, but don't know what to look for when choosing parts
SLI or Crossfire: No, can't afford or plan on getting another gfx card, maybe if there is a good xfire or sli board that fits in the budget.
Monitor Resolution: No monitor, will buy with a separate budget. Please indicate what kind of resolution I can play (Crysis, max settings if possible) at so I can get an appropriate monitor
Additional Comments: Experience assembling, but no experience with overclock. Need help choosing parts for an overclock
There is a Microcenter nearby where I can get the PROCESSOR for cheap.
The combo is pretty good performance-wise, with a 10% discount across the board. It's geared to gaming at 1920x1080, so that's your target resolution (working backwards lol). So lets see where we can save some money, and spend it elsewhere.
Memory: You won't notice the difference in gaming using 1333 cl9, so a 2x2GB 1.5V kit from Mushkin or G.Skill will save you $29.
Case: You can use a HAF 912 instead of the 922 . . . saving $30.
CPU: Substitute a 955BE and save $13.
HD: Substitute the faster Samsung Spinpoint f3 500gb for $55, saving $5.
PSU: Substitute the Seasonic S12II 520 Bronze saving $30. High quality, plenty of power for this rig.
Now we've "saved" $107 . . . IOW, we are now $36 lower than the combo without giving up any real gaming performance
So unless you can find combos using the above parts and what remains of the original combo . . . oh, and add a $100 OS to it . . . you're not going to save eough money to get a noticably better video card. Which you prbably don't need anyhow.
The other upgrade that will add some performance is to use an i5 750 and mobo for ~$310, vs $263 for the 955BE we are now using. That will put you $11 higher than the original combo cost.