Summer break is coming up in a few days, and I'm going to have lots of time on my hands, including hours of nothingness (ie gaming). Right now I have a Macbook Pro from five years ago, and another custom computer my mom's coworker built. But I need want my own, and it seems that building one will be the cheapest option.
My biggest concerns are compatibility for all the parts and whether I'll be able to run both Mac and Windows on it. I've read up about making a hackintosh and it seems doable. It'd be great if you guys could help me with all this stuff.
Purchase time - the next few weeks
Budget - around $1000 for the desktop
Use - gaming and regular computing
Preferred website - doesn't matter, as long as it's reputable (newegg, amazon, j&r, b&h)
Aside from actual power and number of cables, are there any other difference between PSUs?
The PSU is the most important part of any system - you don't want to get the wrong one or it could be disastrous.
Will 8gb be enough, or is it safer to get 16?
For what you need it to do, you'll never use 16GB of RAM - if you're using multimedia intensive applications like CS5/6 that's where the extra RAM comes in handy.
I'm not too sure about the rest, so it's open to all your suggestions.
I'd actually throw out all of those. Don't get an SSD when it cuts into your GPU budget - on a gaming build you want the best GPU you can afford - and the 550TI certainly is one of the worst on the market. You don't need 16GB of RAM for what you need your system to do - you'll most likely never use it all. The case and secondary HD are overkill - the shortages are being lifted on HDs but it will still be a while before they return to pre-flood prices and you're paying ridiculous premiums on the Caviar Black HDs when you should put that into the GPU. Also go with the newer Ivy Bridge and Z77 motherboards as opposed to Sandy Bridge and Z68/P67.
You will need a Z77 motherboard for a 3rd gen i5, Here is a good one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 8gb is plenty of RAM. The crucial SSD is the best of the four. For the keyboard and mouse you can get whatever you want. Personally I don't like wireless components, but its all personal preference. Your video card sort of doesn't live up to the rest of the build, you may want to get a radeon 6850 or 6870 or a gtx 560ti. This is only if you can afford it though. What you have is fine. As far as the hackintosh goes this is the wrong forum for that.
Since you're buying the 3570K I'd recommend going with the AsRock z77 Extreme4. Or any good, budget z77 board. Get the 8Gb RAM's. What kind of games will you be playing? You might be able to get a better video card.