Just got robbed, time to build a new computer

Sooooo I came home from work last week to find someone had broken into my apartment and taken almost everything I value (Macbook Pro, HDTV, 360, brand new Red Wii, dozens of games collected over years, digital camera, etc.). I've had some time to recover but now I'm in the very real situation of not having a computer.

I'll be frank, I've been using macs for the past 4 years and am a little out of the PC scene right now. That being said, I'm not an idiot and usually very much enjoy researching these sorts of projects. However, due to circumstances beyond my control, I'm in need of a computer sooner rather than later.

I'll primarily be using this as a media computer (storing and watching videos etc) with some gaming on the side (SC2, New Vegas). I'd like it to hook up via HDMI to a primary monitor as well as my television (which I don't have anymore, but will hopefully have one in the future) and I'd like to hit the 6gig RAM mark if economically feasible, mostly because I see it as an upgrade from my previous MBPro but I'm not sure if it's necessary. Same goes with having a small SSD installed- the idea intrigues me and I see that there are benefits but I'm not sure if it's worth my money.

Obviously, this is a pretty newbie post and I'm very aware of it. Usually I'd spend weeks researching these sorts of things but right now I could just use some straightforward advice on what sort of builds are recommended. My budget is about $1300-1400 including the monitor/keyboard/mouse. So far the Dec 2010 $1000 enthusiast build looks nice but I'm not sure if it meets all my requirements.
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  1. Sorry for your losses, those are substantial.....

    I'd skip the SSD for now, as it can quickly consume 20% of your available budget in short order, and, there are a plethora of available 1 TB drives for sub-$100. The idea of $300-$350 for the monitor and $1000 for the build pretty much puts you right in line with THG's $1000 guide.... (keep in mind, Windows 7 costs right at $200, too)
  2. Thanks for the feedback- just some follow up questions:

    1) Suggested monitor? Just looking for something comfy and one that's an obvious upgrade in size from my 13in macbook.
    2) Will the Dec 2010 $1k build have the HDMI slots I require?
    3) Is it possible to add a SSD in the future should I be so inclined? Just worried about putting the OS on there after I've already installed one on the other hard drive
    4) General request for tips/experiences switching back from mac to pc. Honestly, I remember back in the day with my Toshiba laptop overheating, crapping out on me, and getting viruses up the wazoo. Just want to be past all that.
    5) Will I get anything out of it if I try to upgrade to 6gb Ram? If so, any suggested replacements?
  3. 1. For the monitor you can get a 27" (big enough?) for $250. If you go for a used or smaller sized one there are significantly cheaper monitors as well. Here's a good one, with a 2ms response time: http://cgi.ebay.com/140492512023

    2. Yes, but the specific video card model they used has a mini-HDMI connector port, although you you can easily use an adapter and don't have to buy that specific model.

    3. Sure, why not? However, if you're buying a legit OS with a single computer license, you might not be able to reinstall 7 onto your SSD. I may very well be wrong though, since I never buy legit licenses.

    4. Not sure about this one either, never had a Mac, though I can assure you that with $1,300 today, you can make a freaking supercomputer waay past all your Toshiba days

    BTW, I also happen to be building a 1k build, though I'm leaning more towards pure performance than the Dec 2010 build here. Here's mine: http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx?WishListNumber=12956091
  4. Dell has some excellent prices on it's assorted 24" widescreens, IMO....; Ive had a few of their 19" and 20" LCD models for 5+ years; all seem quite excellent.
  5. Looking back, I was actually referring to the Sep 2010 $1K build, not the Dec, which seems to have gotten a better response.

    Looking for info on upgrading that to 6gb ram. Thanks!
  6. I don't know much about computer parts but I have an recommendation for a moniter. Back in April I bought an Asus 25'5 inch moniter

    It's 289.99 but with a rebate it is 259.99

    I have loved it! Works perfect for school, gaming, etc.
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