I have been pouring over these forums and guides and have realized I am confusing myself with too many options!
Approximate Purchase Date: This week!
Budget Range: 500-800 before rebates
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming (Shogun: Total War, Dragon Age 2, The Old Republic)
Parts Not Required: OS, Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor, Speakers. Just need the box!
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I have no attachment to any in particular. Trustworthy.
Country of Origin: USA
Parts Preferences: by brand or type: No preference
Overclocking: I would like the option to explore in the future but not a deal breaker.
SLI or Crossfire: I would like the option to explore in the future but not a deal breaker.
Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080
Additional Comments: I have a 2008 mac pro as my main computer for work. I am looking for a PC rig 100% for gaming. My main concern is to be able to play the games listed above and to not be left behind for a reasonable amount of time. If possible at this budget, I would like a decent platform to expand on. SLI/ Crossfire, overclocking etc would be fun. I would like, if possible, to perhaps start with a single card setup with the ability to expand to 2 cards in the future after the prices drop. I realize I may be asking too much in this budget. If that is the case, SLI/ crossfire/ overclocking can understandably get the axe. Thanks so much!
This machine will do everything you have asked including overclocking, with room for a second video card. On top of that the case has a window, and is outfitted with extra blue LED fans. It matches the one I have on my desk right now.
Total: $588 after rebates and discounts, plus sales tax. Go on-line to Micro Center and make sure all these parts are in stock at your store. Order the major ones before you go, and they will have them for you when you arrive. Good Luck.
ScrewySqrl has a really good point here. He is recommending that you wait a few weeks to get the SandyBridge processor. It costs more, but there are definite performance advantages. Check this Tom's article out for comparison: Conclusion: Sandy Bridge Has Game.
Also, Micro Center has the 2500k CPU on sale for $200, but the motherboards will not be out until sometime later this month.