Hello! I was directed here by a friend of mine, and I could use a bit of help!
For the past few years, I've been using a laptop as a gaming machine, however, the graphics card is well.... bad. *cough express family chipset cough*, so I'm looking to build a nice tower. If anyone could point me in the right direction that would be really helpful, or if you have an idea for a good tower I'm all ears.
I have about a budget of $1k(not a set cap, but something close to would be nice), and I'm looking forward to the suggestions. I don't have any particulars on brand, but I would like to have something that will run next-gen games fairly well. I would like to have a solid state drive included in the build, if its at all possible.
I suppose I can wait a while. I mean, it doesn't have to be top of the line by any means, but something that can get the job done, and done well. If the upgrades are worth the wait and the price, then I can deal with it. I just want something so that I can stop lagging on the lowest settings (i.e. now, on team fortress even). 6 months is a bit of a wait though.
Toms has their own "system builder marathons" periodically and they build machines at various price points. You could read these and see what components they chose for their builds, and how it worked out for them. Sometimes they discover that what they chose didn't work so well, and this is also good information. This is the most recent one, but you could search over the past year or so for previous ones:
Except for the case (older model, with crappy cable management), Why_Me's build looks good. I also have had very good results from ASRock.
It will be hard to fit a SSD into your budget. If your only interest is gaming, the sacrifices on the GPU (down to a GTX460) and likely other areas probably wouldn't be worth it. I say that reluctantly, as I won't build for myself any more without including a SSD, but that's just how it is. In your case, considering what you have now, you may consider such sacrifices entirely acceptable.
Check out Rosewill's gaming cases. They have quiet fans, and are similar to the Coolermaster in many ways. In my experience, Coolermaster cases are likely to have minor, mostly fixable quality issues, but Rosewill will not. I have a CM690 myself, and will probably toss it when I rebuild in the next couple of months. The panels aren't quite aligned right, and cable management is poor. The CM690 II Advanced looks nice, but being a Coolermaster, I'm reluctant to risk more quality problems. Check out the Rosewill Challenger for $55 shipped: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... or the Blackhawk for $110 shipped: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I will definitely utilize this information and see what I can put together ultimately from everyone's suggestions. I greatly appreciate the help! I wouldn't quite know where to begin in constructing one myself, so this is excellent information.