Cost-effective platform upgrade?

I've had my current system for 5 years, and I can't resist any longer. It's an ASUS P5B with a Core 2 Duo E6850, but I've upgraded some parts that I'd like to use in my new machine. I primarily use my PC for gaming, and I want to make sure I can handle the next generation of games that's hitting us soon (Skyrim, Mass Effect 3, Old Republic, etc.). Being limited to DDR2 RAM has been a killer. Here's what I'm looking at right now:

Reusing:
Graphics: ATI Radeon HD 5770
Boot drive: Crucial m4 SSD 64gb
Data/program drive: WD Caviar Blue 500gb

New stuff:
CPU: Intel i5-2500K
Mobo: ASRock P67 Extreme4 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157229

Need advice:
PSU: Currently have an Antec TruePower 550. Is this enough to support the new system? Would like to reuse if I can.
RAM: Suggestions? Whatever is most cost-effective, 8 to 16 GB. As I said, I'm still on DDR2 right now so I've really got no clue.
Case: Suggestions? I definitely want something suitable for the new components, but I'd be happy to just get something without jagged metal bits around the USB ports. :)

Overall budget: Figuring on around $500 total: $350 for mobo/chipset, $80 for 16GB RAM, and whatever's left on a case and other such stuff. I'll go over $500 for another cost-effective upgrade, like a case with better cooling, or a better PSU if it's needed. I'm looking for whatever's most worth the money.

I'm still kind of new at this, but I trust the pros here to steer me in the right direction. Thanks for any advice you may have.
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  1. You should be fine with that PSU. I recommend the Corsair Carbide case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811139008.
    It is well designed and gives good cooling.

    I recommend that you keep to 8GB RAM if you are gaming because there is a performance downgrade with 16 GB.
  2. ^+1 to Corgi. And the "chipset" is part of the mobo, btw. The 2500k is a cpu.
  3. Just a thought, but you may want to consider the ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen 3. It is slightly cheaper and has the Z68 chipset. I'm currently trying to decide which to go with myself, and I think the Z68 board is better for my needs (quick sync is appealing to me).
  4. Thanks for the replies (and vocabulary lesson). What's the difference with the Z68 board? Is it a straight next-gen upgrade, or is it more of a pro/con kind of sidegrade?
  5. The extreme3 gen 3 comes with pcie 3.0 for ivy bridge, it will run as 2.0 with sb. Z68 can use the igpu on the cpu which the main advantage is the ability to use quick sync which greatly decreases video encoding times for video editing.

    That psu is fine. For ram go with 2x4gb 1600 1.5v. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231416 You did not state a cpu cooler and I would recommend one, the cm hyper 212+. http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-RR-B10-212P-G1-Universal-Heat-Pipe/dp/B002G1YPH0/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1316569259&sr=1-1

    I don't think a $100 case is necessary, I would recommend a haf 912. http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Tower-Case-RC-912-KKN1/dp/B003ZM7YTA Or the antec 300 but the illusion is not on sale right now. It usually goes on sale for $55 every month.

    If you live by a microcenter, you can get the i5 2500k for $180.
  6. You will not need 16 gb of ram. I don't think games currently even use 4 gigs of ram. expect to pay around $50.00 for 8 gb.
  7. k1114 said:
    The extreme3 gen 3 comes with pcie 3.0 for ivy bridge, it will run as 2.0 with sb. Z68 can use the igpu on the cpu which the main advantage is the ability to use quick sync which greatly decreases video encoding times for video editing.


    You also "downgrade"
    * from 4x to 2x Sata 6G
    * have no internal USB3.0
    * from three PCIe 2.0 x16 slots to two PCIe 3.0 x16 slots

    There are a few other minor differences. I think the only meaningful loss is the loss of internal USB3.0.
  8. The p67 extreme4 gen 3 would probably be a better choice, since he doesn't need quick sync, and seems it's $5 cheaper too vs the regular extreme4 (although no MIR). http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157265
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