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New PC wtf's

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Hello GD'ers... long time no see. For the first time in my life I have left school and got a swell full-time job. Now I am in a position to buy the all-powerful gaming machine designed to WOW my friends and rape my eyes as I play the latest games excessively with their graphics that in some cases are more beautiful than real life. I have started saving... started researching... willing to bide my time before I make my purchase. But for the life of me I have never been a hardware kind of person... I know the purpose of each piece of hardware and can look at specs and understand most of it... but I really have no idea what to get. There are just SO many different brands and types out there. With the recent divisions in technology such as SLI and Crossfire or Blu-Ray and HD-DVD as well as the release of DX10 it would seem that this is about to become much harder in the near future until one branch 'wins' which could take a while. I've asked a few friends and had a geezer in some stores, asking about the latest gaming graphics cards and things like that but nobody seems to be able to give me a list of a few higher-end performers that won't cost more than plastic surgery. So what I am trying to tap in to here is the vast opinions of you all... what are your tips for building a computer that will see you through this current tidal wave of technology? All I know is I definently want a DX10 card... but aren't they usually buggy until a few iterations after DX10's release? What specs should I be looking for with monitors? RAM? Harddrives? Motherboard? I know that there is no definitive "best product" that will own everything else in every game or application, so I don't want any direct company fights (such as ATI vs NVIDIA), but upon further refining on to a particular card or something then that should be acceptable :D Forgive me if this is out of place, I have not seen a thread concerning hardware on GD for quite some time. Thanks again, much appreciated. Jemburula

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Saw that but it only had 210 Threads, I assumed it was dead... but if it's new then I can see why it has only 210. Thanks for pointing it out though.

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On the whole Blu-Ray issue, just get a standard DVD drive. If Blu-Ray or HD-DVD take off, one will have to supplant the other. Wait and see which one, then just replace your drive.

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Throw us a bone here. I mean you sound like my brother that know zip about hardware and wants a fancy laptop and ask me if it's any good and worth the price and I tell him do you even need a laptop?
First thing you need to tell us is what you are going to use this computer for?
I build myself a new computer just about once a year and the first thing I figure out before I buy any new piece of hardware is what am I going to use it/need it for?
I got the fastest vidcard at the time a 7900GTX cuz I wanted to be able to play all the pc games at the time with max graphics quality and it did that for a while until damn Oblivion came out and made my uber-fast handbuilt pc cry like last year's old pc!
I got a dualcore 3800xp amd cpu since I knew muticore was the future not to mention I like to have multiple programs open at once like 20+ IE windows before I discovered firefox and tabbed browsing anyways and burning a cd and playing at game at the same time,etc.
I got a P180 case since I wanted a quite pc and that also helped me pick out the necessary parts I needed for my new pc since they had to be quiet and they are since 7900gtx has huge slow spinning fan unlike previous 7800 card with noisy fan and amd cpu stock fans are quiet also.
I got 2x duallayer burner since it get's job done and will be around for long time.
I got the largest harddrives at time which were 500GB since I didn't want to have to worry about running out of space anytime soon. I supplemented that with a 10,000rpm raptor drive for booting up windows since it noticably decreases boot times and load times and I hate having to wait around for anything.
And I always get 2GB of ram in dual channel since that's winxp 32bit sweet spot.
And of course I put it all on a SLI capable motherboard.
Lastly, I finally decided to get an LCD monitor although I swore I'd never give up my sony triniton monitor and although my new LCD monitor don't compare with my CRT it's advantages,ie less deskspace,lighter to carry and less energy usage,heat generation outweigh it's downsides.
This is the specs on my current main machine which I don't plan to upgrade until either AMD or Intel hit 5Ghz or more since that's the only thing that will make the game I want to run faster on my PC(MS Flight Simulator X) go any faster!
Intel core2 E6600 with Asus P5NSLI Nforce 570sli motherboard
74GB WD raptor newer NCQ drive
2x400GB Segate Barracuda NCQ SATAII drives
SB Audigy 2
2GB PC2-4300 Kingston DDR2memory
plextor px-755SA sata dvd burner
plextor px-740A ide dvd burner
memorex dvd16 ide dvd burner
Antec 550Watt sli certified psu
Samsung SyncMaster 910MP 19" LCD
Antec P180 silent case

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nts: difficult to give a price range... say 3000-4000$AUD, so if you can be bothered converting that to whatever your currency.

daviangel: forgive me all, but this just got on my nerves...you sound like an arse. I said "gaming graphics cards", "gaming machine designed to WOW my friends". I even admitted to not knowing much about the latest hardware, so what is your pickle? But in case you did not get my point... it will be a home computer in which I will be playing games and doing general tasks as well as programming, I hope it will last a long time hence why I am leaving my budget a bit open-ended. How much more specific do you want me to be? I will be playing music and clicking the start button occasionally? I'd love to be able to use both keyboard and mouse at the same time. Come to think of it, I might even run Windows occasionally. Possibly with one or more applications open at once. Sorry about that, but it is one of my pet peeves when people horde it over you that they know more about something in one area as if they were Zeus himself. There's your bone, dog.

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Here are some quick recommendations, all prices in AUD (not sure if all accurate, just found a few Australian hardware sellers online).
Core 2 Duo E6700 (2.67Ghz)               $737    ( $450) for E6600
Intel D975XBX2 motherboard $319
Crucial Ballistix DDR2-667Mhz (2x1GB) ~$360 (~$300) for Crucial value ram
Antec P180 case $209
Enermax Liberty 620W Power supply $215
Seagate SATA2 7200.10 250GB Drive $109 (might want to go higher here or consider RAID)
Total: $1949 AUD
What you still need is a floppy drive (any will do), a CD/DVD-R/W drive (Liteon is a good brand here) and a video card. An 8800GTX can be had for ~900 AUD but I suggest that you wait till March for ATi to release the R600, from what I know about it, it should be quite a bit faster in a few cases.

The Core 2 Duo line are currently the best processors for the money, you can also go with the extreme editions (X6800 or QX6700 (quad core)). I am running the QX6700 and its pretty awesome.

The D975XBX2 is currently the best 975X chipset motherboard out there (ASUS is also good, like the P5W DH Deluxe). Also good are some NVIDIA 680i chipsets but they are having some major SATA issues right now (corrupt hard drives). I have never had a problem with Intel motherboards.

Memory, performance (or brand) memory is better. I have had bad generic value ram sticks and I'm never going back. Can also check out Corsair and Mushkin brands. You can go higher to PC6400 but probably not worth it (running PC6400 ram myself but only like 5-10% increase over PC-5300).

The P180 is the best case I have used, no other recommendations here.

The Liberty 620W is a very good power supply, should be more than enough for anything. Also good is Antec but I recently had a problem with one of theirs (NeoHE line) so the current preference is Enermax. Do NOT buy a generic (no brand) power supply.

Hard drives, depends what you need. You can go higher capacity and higher speed (Wester Digital raptors) or even go with RAID, up to you. Seagate is a good brand, also good are Western Digital drives.

EDIT: Might want to consider an after market heatsink, the Tuniq is currently the best (close to water cooling performance).

Hope that helps

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Thanks nts, that was some excellent info. One query I have in regards to the processor though... I've never really understood the amount of Ghz. I understand that the one you linked was for a two core... so does that mean 2.67 * 2 Ghz performance? Also a side question on laptops... someone told me that laptop processors perform just as well even though the Ghz are lower, simply because the components don't have to travel so far. To me that also doesn't make sense because I thought Ghz was a measure of how many floating point calculations per second? So it laptop CPU's should return similar results then if they were equal in performance?

What would I require for a RAID set up? What is the difference between RAID and regular HD technology. I think there are a few 200 GB raid hard drives sitting at work I might be able to acquire because my boss said they were used for the servers but they were upgraded and no other computer in the company uses RAID.

What does "after market" mean?

Sounds great though, I'll note all of your recommendations :)

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