I'm looking to build a dual monitor system for use doing light office work: having source documents on one screen and typing on the other, backing up those documents for access on my laptop through drop box, and gaming use. I'm assuming any PC that can handle gaming would be more than adequate for my office tasks. I don't need a high end gaming PC but I don't want to have to swap out the graphics card in a few months.
I'm looking to buy ASAP.
My budget is around 1000 out the door with OS and monitors included. Overall, I want something that will last for the duration of grad school.
Given my parameters, what would be the best bang for my buck with regards to gaming and the office type work I have to do. I prefer AMD processors and I'd like to have compatibility for the Bulldozer chips in the future.
2) Is there a real need for windows ultimate, vs home premium, or are you getting it at a discount through school?
3) Cases are a personal thing. Get it if you love it. But, in general, cases that come with psu's are not very good on the psu side. It looks like you will dump the CM 500w psu that comes with the case you linked. An exception might be Antec which makes very good psu's. I would suggest the Antec 300 and add a quality psu of your choice.
4) My short list of quality psu's would include Antec, Seasonic, Corsair, PC P&C. and XFX. A 600w unit should be sufficient.
Once you get into the $150 range for gaming cpu's, you should really consider a Intel sandy bridge cpu of some sort. They are faster per clock. Most games do not use more than two or three cores, so the 6/8 core amd cpu's are not much help. Read this article on <$200 gaming cpu's. You will see that the Intel 2120 is better than the X6 1075T and the Phenom x4 970. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-gaming-cpu-cor...
A P67 or Z68 based motherboard will allow "K" overclocking. You can find one around $100. Most users do not need a full sized atx motherboard unless they will be using dual graphics cards. Consider a smaller m-ATX size which will usually be a bit less expensive.
The prices for hard drives are now very high. I would suggest you start with a 80-120gb SSD for the os and apps instead. It will make everything you do feel much quicker. If your needs grow to exceed the SSD, then add a hard drive for overflow when the prices come down to earth. I would favor Intel or Samsung for reliability. Expect to pay about $1.50 per gb
Ah, ok. So with that in mind, could you hold my hand and list the components you would use? The SSD will be fine for now.
For the cpu, pick the 2125($150) or the 2500k($200) whichever your budget allows.
I suggest a Z68 based motherboard that has more features like usb3.0 and will be upgradeable to ivy bridge cpu's in the future. It will allow overclocking of a 2500K which will give you an easy boost from the default 3.3 to 4.0 and higher.
Here is a asrock board: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
The 6850 is a good graphics card. But If you have the z68 motherboard, you do not need a discrete graphics card except for fast action gaming. The integrated video is suitable for HD movies.
My suggestion is to defer the decision on a discrete card to later. You will be better able to identify just how strong a card you might need. If fact, you may not need one at all.
If you will be doing fast action gaming, then the graphics card is all important, and you may find a 6850 lacking.