I've based my build off of the August 2012 System Builder Marathon. CHANGES I"VE MADE: Because I'm not currently an extreme gamer, I've gone with a lesser video card, strengthened the motherboard, and selected a different hard drive. Changes are marked in Orange.
QUESTION: My old hard drive (Western Digital Caviar SE 320GB 7200rpm 8MB Cache SATA-300) has Microsoft Office & Windows 7 professional (upgraded from Vista). Will I still be able to use this as a second hard drive if my new computer hard drive has Windows 7 Home Premium? Will I still be able to use Microsoft Office?
I think we are ignoring that he could save on windows if he gets it off of his hard drive. If you bought your PC pre-built or bought an OEM version of Windows you will not be able to transfer, however because your PC is 4 years old you could not have had it pre-built with Windows 7. If you upgraded from the retail version then you will be able to transfer your registration to your new computer, BUT you will not be able to use that licence on any other machine concurrently because you have transferred it to the new build. If you bought the retail version and still have the box then you do not have to get it again, and if you do not have the box I would email MS tech support and ask them about it
Thanks for all the excellent advice. You guys have been incredibly helpful.
I'm starting to realize how casual of a gamer I've become. I'd like to be able to play Skyrim on high settings (which doesn't require a great video card), but don't need much more in video power than what that requires. The quad core is already a large step up from my old dual core (e8400), which will help with general multi-tasking. Simply having 64bit over my old 32 bit should help a great deal with extra RAM utilization.
I really don't need a powerful rig. I'm going to rethink this build. I was headstrong in thinking I needed a $1000 computer. It won't hurt to save some money while I'm at it.
P.S.My old computer still runs. It has trouble booting up on cool mornings... must be a contact point somewhere in the machine. The computer will turn on, give me one long beep, and video feed never reaches the monitor. If I leave my computer running in this mode for about 20 minutes, I can restart it and it will boot up just fine. I assume it has something to do with the expanding/contracting components related to temperature. Both RAM sticks are in working order, which I initially thought was the problem.