Approximate Purchase Date: A week at least. I was contemplating waiting until labor day in hope that I might get better sale prices. At this point I am committed to buying an upgrade however I'm not set in stone about much.
Budget Range: Around $600 However I can wait and save more if it will be very beneficial.
System Usage from Most to Least Important: OpenCL rendering, Gaming, video editing/Photoshop,
Parts Not Required: Monitor, Mouse, Keyboard, Headphones, Case (Antec Sonata), Power supply (Ultra x3 800w), 1TB WD HD, Windows 7 (Yes, it is a fully legal copy)
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I have experience with NewEgg but if somewhere else is cheaper I will be happy to jump ship.
Country of Origin: U.S.
Parts Preferences: See below
SLI or Crossfire: Maybe, if it's worth it
Monitor Resolution: 1920x1089
Additional Comments: I am a highschool student with a steady job. I can hold off building if it will give me any advantage. Here is the list of parts I'm think of so far.
ASRock 870 EXTREME3 $90 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I specifically wanted USB 3.0. This motherboard also supports Crossfire in 8x / 8x mode which should work decently if I decide to do crossfire down the road. It is also the only board I have seen in this price range with that option.
OCZ Vertex 2 2.5" 60GB SATA II MLC $110 AR http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I definitely want a SSD and 60GB seems about right for the price. However it does seem like around holidays there are often sales that give great prices so I figure it's probably worth waiting for labor day.
First off, trash the Ultra, sorry. If possible I'd try to hold off for those uses. If not, I hate to say it since you seem set on it, but I would drop the SSD. IMO, you would be better off dedicating that $125 towards a better CPU. Then again, if the photoshop and gaming is very light, then that may change.
I guess I should have clarified my use more. I don't do much heavy gaming. The only game I regularly play is Urban Terror which is a very undemanding FPS. http://www.urbanterror.info/docs/texts/105/#1.6 I also play other games from time to time, but nothing terribly demanding, so I don't see anything more then a 6850 as necessary.
As far as the SSD goes, the main reason I wanted one is because it seems to me that load times are what slow down systems the most. At the moment my core programs and Windows only take about 25 GB. (This is with CS5 production premium installed.) That should leave enough room for whatever project I'm currently working on.
On the PSU, I know why you guys suggest getting a high quality power supply and that Ultra has a bad name. I only have the ultra because I got it for free a while back. Now then, from what I've seen of it, it appears to be good quality. Also, the price bears that out, the cheapest I've seen it is $170 and it appears to usually cost around $200. Granted it's from 2007, but I don't see any reason not to trust it.
I do appreciate the advice. You guys already made me do a bunch more thinking about what I will actually be needing. I'll also go and read up on processors. I was just sort of assuming I wouldn't need anything much more then a quad @ 3.0 GHz.
Edit: I've been doing some more reading and I'm considering upgrading to a Phenom x6. That should give me large gains in CS5 and I don't do enough gaming for it to be worth going a different route. However the next question becomes, what is the best value in the X6 family? Any suggestions.
Another thought I had, I might be able to get a second hand 8800GT for relatively cheap. Would it be worth using that short term and holding off buying a new graphics card? I realize it's pretty old, but there had to be a good reason why Nvidia stuck with the G92 architecture for 3 years. (I know, Fermi took a while, but the 8800GT was a pretty nice card.)