Budget Range: (e.g.: 300-400) Before / After Rebates; Before / After Shipping: $1200
System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming
Are you buying a monitor: Yes
so i have experience building many PC's but it has been a couple years so i am out of touch with the newest components, etc. i currently game on a decent Dell laptop but as with any laptop, it's sluggish. i need to start from scratch, even a monitor. only things i have are keyboard and mouse. i would post a starter build to work off of, but again, i just do not know what is worth the money these days for a good gaming rig. i normally do not ask for "free" help, but in the past the fine folks of the Tom's Forums have succeeded in helping so here i try once more. anyone? anyone? bueller?
i prefer AMD on the proc side and NVidia on the GPU side but am open to Intel/ATi as well...
It has flipped -- AMD CPUs are not competative with Intel anymore (according to most), but their GPUs are great buys right now, especially if you are doing high-res gaming, multi monitors, etc. I think the 7970ghz edition (they did something to it that made it faster) is the fastest single GPU card on the market now, although it still trades blows with the 680 depending on the game.
That being said, I personally prefer nvidia GPUs--I have a pair of 670s in my system as I game on a 120hz 1080 monitor and they provide excellent performance. It's a bit overkill but I really like high FPS. The 670 is a great all-round GPU and only a tiny bit slower than its more expensive big brother, the 680.
At the end of the day, however, I would recomend trying to fit that 7970ghz edition into your build--I'm sure there are people here who can make it work The card is an absolute beast and it will demolish any game at 1080. I think the guy above me suggested getting that if you can skipp buying windows, etc. If you spend the extra cash now you will be set for a good while!