From what I hear someone like me will only need 4 gigs ram for gaming, but I will likely get 8 since quads should have extra memory. Since I'm not gonna overclock that much I think any gaming line of memory would be sufficient, but If I'm going to need something fancier just tell me.
I could use some guidance on motherboards and video cards. The issue for me is really just a debate of ATI vs nvidia. I've always known nvidia to have less driver problems and hassles, but alot of the good brands are gone (BFG XFX went to radeon). My target price is $150.
Overclocking: Yes but only a little like to 3.2GHz or so (I should be able to do that without too much fuss right?)
SLI or Crossfire: No
Monitor Resolution: 1024x768, 1280x1024 (I don't need to max out all the settings, but I would like to at least run the most games 2-3 years from now, even if its on the lowest settings)
Additional Comments: I prefer at least 3 year warranties, especially for video cards.
Its mostly just the motherboard and video card I can't make my mind about. For both I'd like to find something that performs well for the price and is going to last (has a 3 year warranty, reliable brand) which especially on the nvidia side is harder to find.
The card is good enough for your resolution and the CPU is better and has an unlocked multiplier which makes it easier for you to overclock. The motherboard is sufficient and gives you the support of AM3+ for future proofing.
Well 955 hits the wall after 3.5 ghz after overclock. You will need to do volatge tweaks for more OC (which is not very safe if done wrongly)
i3-2100(HT with 2 cores, 4 threads) gives considerable more performance than the 955 even after overclock in games and most applications. Plus its newer hardware and doesnt heat up (You might need an off market heat sink to OC the 955 to 3.5 ghz)
Here are the benchmarks http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/289?vs=88
Note: More cores doesn't always mean more performance. i3-2100 gives more performance per clock.
^ Not necessarily true, my 955 is at 3.6 no tweaks to the voltage. Tweaking voltages is fairly easy to learn. I'm not exactly the best at overclocking and easily I was able to obtain the fabled 4ghz mark.
I was in your shoes not too long ago, building my AMD 720 BE-based gaming comp for SC II & diablo 3 (when the time comes). I looked at both the 6770, 6790, and similarly priced nvidia solutions, but ultimately went with a gigabyte 6850 and don't regret the extra dough. SC II is playing on ultra at 1280x1024 on my current monitor, and looks beautiful. Have had 0 driver issues, and the card is cool and quiet. Next project is dual 22" monitors, to see what it can really do ;-)
Also, for the price of DDR3, get the 8 GB! Here's my specs
AMD Phenom II 720 BE Heka - unlocked 4th running @ 3.3Ghz stock voltage
G-Skill DDR3 1333 8GB 7-7-7-21 1t
NZXT Beta Evo, Zigmatek fans & CPU Sink
I think I will go for the phenom 955 and I found a xfx R6850 for $130. I don't think I'm going to find better than that unless I wait for black friday and cyber monday. I like nvidia but they just suck at making cheaper cards these days, so its time to give ati a try.
@sync_nine: Honestly the first thing I debated was should I get a quad or a really fast dual core? I play a lot of RTS games and the ai can be a heavy Cpu hog, so the amd quads are cheap enough that they are actually pretty practical. Some games allow you to put physics on the Cpu instead of the gpu too.
Random fun fact: several PSUs are listed on newegg as having a 5 year warranty, but only have a 3 year (corsair being the most notable one).
955 is good choice, but since this is just a gaming rig I would recommend an i3-2100 or 2120 if you can afford it. 6850 IS a good upgrade and future proof as well. Get a motherboard with crossfire capabilities though as it will allow you to add that second 6850 down the line.