Want a totally new system

i am not sure where i should post this message, so i will begin here. I have built a comp (for my kids not me) with toms hardware forums help, i own this comp (HP) and a lousy HP 9000 custom laptop which is now shot. i also own vista, which i detest. this comp is runing xp, which isnt much more to my liking. so, i am now willing to build a system again.
I refuse to put win 7 on it. To be totally honest, i dont want a windows os again. i am really kinda in the dark what is available, as all i ever had was windows. my kids suggest i get a mac. i honestly dont know much about mac's either, except you can't get a lot of software for them. my kids suggest i build one again and put all sorts of gaming stuff on it. I DO NOT want a gaming computer, but i would like one that could handle HEAVY graphics with all my hobbies i do. i am not even sure if i can get away from a windows os, but right now i sure am willing to try. last system i built was well into $3,000. my darn laptop was near $2,000, so i am not too leary to build another in that price range.
I have a brand new monitor (very LARGE) which my kids comp has right now, since this darn hp comp cant handle it, so i would like to use it. everything else can be new. please give me some direction so i can start my research.
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  1. You obviously have the skills to do it, so you can save some $$ and build one yourself.

    The top systems out there now are using the intel i7 or phenom II cpu's. So there's your first choice. Intel or AMD. The i7 is the better overall CPU. Here would be a good build:

    i7/Asus p6T combo - $480

    4870 VGA - $160

    6GB OCZ RAM - $90

    Corsair 650W - $90

    WD 640GB caviar black - $75

    This comes to $895. Since you already have a case, you could use that and keep your optical drives if you wanted. You could also keep the HD, but I would recommend upgrading, as it's probably an old IDE drive. The video card may be overkill, you could scale it back if you wanted to shave some $$ off. This doesn't include an OS either, since you aren't sure what you want. This would be able to handle anything you can throw at it.
  2. Hi,
    um, are you sure it can handle anything i throw at it, and not to be joking here, but seriously, do you guys realize what graphics/scrapbooking throws at a software and video card? I seem to blow every computer I've had. But nothing seems to handle the graphics. I use photo impact as i am familiar with it but have the older versions of paint shop pro and photoshop and occasionally use them. and not one computer can handle them.
    Um, I want a new case... :) pink or purple preferably, but I know I cant get it. You think anyone will notice gals build computers also? I do not want to scale back on anything, but I want to be able to update as I go. We did that to the 1st one I built, but now cant go any further. So I am willing to buy "more than i need" now, so i can add/sub later.
  3. Here's your pink case, though you may want to add another fan or two in it.

    That board has tri-SLI and Quad crossfire support. If the single graphics card isn't enough, you can add a couple more. The 4870 is one of the top graphics cards. I don't know how much you want to invest into graphics, but if you upgrade to the 4890 or the gtx 295 and then want to add a second card, the price is pretty steep. The board gives plenty of room to add another card if you so choose.

    Though, if you are thinking of SLI or Crossfire, the PSU should be upgraded as well.

    There is also the option of looking into workstation graphics cards.
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