Approximate Purchase Date: e.g.: Within the next month (take advantage of holiday sales?)
Budget Range: $700 for hardware after rebates, before shipping. Budget is flexible - could increase or decrease depending on feedback. Software (OS) would be additional to this budget.
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Work From Home, Low-End Gaming, Folding@Home, Internet Surfing (see Additional Comments for details)
Are you buying a monitor: Yes. Optimally would like to have 2 monitors, but depending on pricing am willing to have one for now with the ability to purchase a second one later. Would consider using my current monitor as #2 despite its vastly lower resolution if that's possible.
Parts to Upgrade: Almost everything. I have DVD and CD drives that I could reuse, as well as keyboard/mouse/speakers.
Do you need to buy OS: Yes. Windows 7 preferably due to work-related programs and familiarity. May need my own Microsoft Office if I cannot get a copy through work. Cost of these is in addition to the budget range specified above. Also open to recommendations for security software - preferably freeware.
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: No preference, and no active registrations anywhere.
Location: City, State/Region, Country - Harrisburg, PA, USA
Parts Preferences: No preferences.
SLI or Crossfire: Don't think either would be necessary for my uses, but open to suggestion.
Your Monitor Resolution: No real preference - shoot for 1920x1080?
Additional Comments: I would prefer proven, reliable products rather than the best and newest products (a problem last time around), as I don't have the time or patience these days for unnecessary maintenance. I'm a civil engineer so I intend on using programs like Bentley View (can remote into work computer for AutoCAD or Microstation), HEC-RAS, and HEC-HMS. The minium requirements for all of those are satisfied by my current ancient system (see below) but due to their calculation-heavy nature, bigger is better. Additional work I do involves work with large aerial photos and other mapping, which my current system hates me for. I have a few computer games that I play once in awhile mostly for nostalgia's sake, of which Call of Duty 2 would be the control. Yes, CoD2, no laughing from the audience please. Rumor is that there's a Battlezone 3 in the works, and considering my love of flying bombers in the Colliseum (all dating back to 1998) I'd likely consider picking it up. Overall, I'd like this computer to last me a few years without significant work or upgrades, so I am not opposed to strategically overbuilding it as seen fit. I intend on running Folding@Home but don't want that to be a sizing consideration.
And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: Built my current computer in 2003 (Abit NF7-S mobo, Radeon 9600 Pro vid card, 1GB Kingston Hyper X RAM, 2x60GB Seagate Barricuda SATA hard drives, etc) . If it were a horse I should have taken it out back and shot it years ago. I've managed to keep it going with only a few minor upgrades/fixes (like using rubber bands to mount an extra 80 mm fan onto my video card when the stock fan crapped out), but I've finally put nostalgia aside and decided I need something more modern and something more reliable. I could probably go out and buy something stock which would meet my requirements, but it would likely be more expensive and - let's be honest here - not nearly as fun. However, since the last time I did a build was 2003, I'm way way way out of date on hardware. I don't have much free time to sort through product reviews and compatibility checks for a new system so I've come here. I've browsed around a bit but a lot of the builds seem to be geared towards hard-core gaming. Any advice or suggestions are very much appreciated. If you guys have questions please do not hesitate to ask.
For low power consumption and low noise , combined with effective gaming
intel i5 3450
mb with an H77 chipset . Probably micro ATX because H77 has limited pic-e lanes anyway
2 x4 gig of 1600 Mhz RAM rated for 1.5 volt operation
500 gig hard drive
40 -60 gig SSD cache drive to speed boot and loading
a quiet office case . Antec Solo , CM silencio , Fractal Design
radeon 7770 , or for better gaming then the 7850 which is much more powerful