PSU--I don't have one yet, but I'm not worried about that. I guess I would probably look at a 750watt since I might want to go CF or SLI down the road. It will be plugged into a 1080p tv... so 1920 x 1080 is given...
I'm not really a gamer anymore, but I'd like to have that option since I'm already spending some money on this HTPC, plus I want it to be at least on par with my son's console systems. I could also do an i3-2100, since after doing some research, that seems to be a great HTPC/Gaming cpu for the money. The problem is for a little more I can have an unlocked i5-2500k.
So basically, I have some freedom as far as budget goes, but I don't really want to spend more than I need to, if that makes sense. I use an older mac laptop as my daily system for media consuming, email, etc...
okay thanks for the recommendation guys. I'm still not certain that it makes sense to spend more than the 5770 CF for the 6870 if it's not really any faster...but you guys are definitely recommending the 5770 CF over the 6850, correct?
The graphics card is going to be your bottleneck. There's a HUGE, HUGE difference in a system with a $120 versus $200 graphics card.
Why spend $1000 on a system for gaming and save $80 on the most important part?
Forget about SLI or Crossfire. There's a pretty good article talking about micro-stutter here at Tomshardware that would scare you away.
I've got an HD5870 which seems to be at a "sweet spot"; dropping below this seems to drop the quality fairly quickly, but on the other hand most current games can be run at, or near full quality with my card.
The HD6870 doesn't perform quite as well as the HD5870.
I don't know the best deals, you can look that up, but I do recommend getting a card at this level:
GTX560Ti or HD6950
FYI, there are several games that benefit from a tool called Radeonpro to force AA or VSYNC on if not supported. examples:
- Mass Effect 1 and 2 (I force AA on with RadeonPro and it's a HUGE difference)
- The Witcher Enhanced (#1) (It's the only game I needed ATITrayTools for to enable VSYNC)
- The Sims 3 (wow! I enabled the "Double VSYNC" option and the game runs at 30FPS with full quality! The game works awesome at 30FPS and the screen tearing is gone and stutter is mostly gone.)