$400 intel build

I am looking to build my first computer and I need some help. I'm on a really tight budget right now, so production/price is really the main factor for me right now; I am really not interested in any unnecessary extras. I will mainly be using it for general tasks like email and surfing the web, light to medium gaming and streaming video.

I was completely computer hardware illiterate until a few days ago, and have developed a basic understanding via surfing the internet since. As I've done some research, I realize that building a capable intel based computer in the sub $500 range is not exactly going to be an easy task, but that is why I am approaching you to help me achieve as much as I can for the money.

As far as gaming goes I will mainly be playing Diablo 3. I know it is not demanding in the graphics or processing departments (like most blizzard games) but it would be enjoyable to play on med to high settings if possible.

I would really like to get an intel cpu over an amd. Nothing against amd, just personal preference. From benchmark tests I have seen the i3 duo core series is outperforming the FX bulldozer quad cores and even 8 cores (octo cores?), while the Phenom II is being phased out (I think). I know a quad core FX would offer more raw computing power outside of gaming, and is more overclock friendly, but I am out of my league with overclocking and would prefer to use stock ghz, so please consider that when recommending a processor.

Now, I will upgrade to to better parts when I have the money and deem it important, so this is where I come to a dilemma:

Apparently the integrated HD3000 graphics of the i5 sandy bridge series will run Diablo 3 on low to medium settings (and possibly even the HD2000 from the i3 sandy bridge on low settings--confirm or deny if you can, and elaborate on smoothness of gameplay please if you have firsthand experience or knowledge). So, if they will both run D3, would it be more economically feasible to buy the better i5 cpu or even settle with the i3 duo core (if it will indeed run D3 smoothly, low settings ok for now) and wait a while to purchase an external video card when I can afford it.

I already have a case, so I will be needing a cpu, mobo, hard drive, ram, psu, some extra fans, and possibly a gpu (did I forget anything?)

I would prefer to have 8gb of ram, but 4 would do for now if it will save a decent chunk of change. (leaving room to upgrade would warrant 1x4 gb chip rather than 2x2, right?) 1333 is fine.

While price is definitely one of my main concerns, I do not want to compromise quality, especially in the psu and cpu. I don't need the best, but I don't want something super off-brand that won't last either.

If I do need to buy an external gpu to enjoy my experience, I'm probably not interested in exceeding the HD 6670 or equivalent nVidia video card (440 I think).

If you have a build that goes slightly over, please post it and let me take a look and we can go from there.
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  1. You might want to jump on over to the Systems > New Build section of the THG forums where they handle about a couple dozen of these requests per day.

    If you fill out the form in *How To Ask For New Build Advice* you'll answer all the standard questions that help things get started
  2. Alright, thank you I'll try that.
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