Hi! I am going to do a little holiday project and build my own desktop (I hope)! Unfortunately, I am limited by knowledge and budget. My goal, is to build a CPU that can play games at smooth framerates at medium settings at 1280 x 1024 resolution spending between $500-$600. Right now, I am playing SWTOR and would really love some constructive feedback. I know that some of these parts may not be top of the line but I'm most concerned to make sure the processor has enough juice for the video card and the motherboard will work for it all.
CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black 3.2GHz Quad-Core
Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus 76.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing
Motherboard: Asus M5A78L-M LX PLUS Micro ATX AM3+
Memory: Patriot Intel Extreme Master, Limited Ed 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition 1GB
Case: MSI TC- (Black) ATX Mid Tower
Power Supply: Corsair 600W ATX12V
Operating System: Windows 7
$535 including the Operating System!
Pay a bit more for the case and get something like an Antec One or Cooler Master HAF 912. I can't stress enough how important a quality case is on any budget - there's a lot of good ones, but there's also a ton of crap in this area. MSI makes decent motherboards and good GPUs but I'm not sure about their cases.
Also get a full ATX motherboard like the Asrock 970 Extreme 3 - it will be more future proof and allow for better expansion opportunities.