Advice for a computer building novice

Hi I'm planning on purchasing a new computer since all I currently have is a laptop and it won't run Diablo III. After reading up on it I found that assembling your own pc is a much better alternative than a prebuilt one and am now asking for advice from people with experience on what components I should buy and how much I should expect it to cost.
CPU:
What are some of my best options? I have been researching the intel i5 and i7 processors and I am not sure if the extra price on the i7 is worth it. Or should I go AMD?

Video Card:
What are some good video cards suitable for running current games (such as bf3 d3 etc) on high-max settings?

Motherboard:
I am most unsure of what I need in a motherboard. What are some things I should look for when choosing a good motherboard?

Harddrive:
I'll probably just get a cheap 1TB HDD. Also SSD's look pretty cool yet pretty expensive and I'm not sure if theyre worth the price.

Sound Card/Case/Monitor/RAM etc
Anything else I should look out for?

I am willing to spend around $1000 on this computer ( more if neccessary) and I'm hoping it will be able to last a while.

Thanks in advance for your time and expertise.
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  1. It really depends on how much money you want to spend on this build.
    I think the hardest part of building a computer is determining what components that you want! The actual putting together of the pieces is pretty easy.

    Right now I think the i5 is the best bang for your buck. With the hard drive make sure it has a fast read/write speed or it may take a little longer to get things on and off. Sound card: if you are hard up for money, you could always use the onboard sound, but I recommend a SoundBlaster audio card. Ram: you want at least 4gigs of ram and 16 would be best.
    There is to much debate out there over the best video card for me to decide. Right now I am using an ATI Radeon 4850HD Sapphire. I am able to run all the latest games on highest resolution with only a slightly lowered FPS. I am going to have to replace it within the next year or so.
    Sorry that I can't be anymore specific as you need to say the amount of money you want to spend before deciding on parts.
  2. Check in the system builder section here, there are also articles about doing gaming builds in different price ranges on toms as well.
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