what do you want the system for? What are is teh use going to be?
How much do you want to spend?
actually i always felt that rather than buying a gaming console it is better to assemble my own gaming PC. it will serve multiple purposes. i can use it as an movie player, a gaming console as well as a PC. and it will be more compact!!
anything around $1500 is affordable!!
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For that price you cna def get a good system. Do you have any parts already that you are going to re use?
You want an Intel CPU i assume as you are here..... personally i went for the I5-750 found it provided the best bang for buck, i would suggest using that for your starting point on CPU research.
For a motherboard, personally i would go for an Asus, i like the amount of options they have in teh BIOS and features they come with. Intel MSI, and Gigabyte also do good boards. It does somewhat come down to personal preference, price, reviews, and specific features that individual boards have...
For a GPU, that again, you will need to look at the reviews and benchmarks of each one, usually ATI is a bit cheaper but teh say Nvidia is a bit better again probably comes down to preference. Also make sure to check the warranty from teh specific manufacturer as it can vary. (definately get a graphics card, maybe two, but don't use teh onboard graphics)
RAM, i would say 4Gb is about the norm althoguh a lot are going to 8 Gb, check teh mothgerboard CPU compatibility for this and go for one of teh good makes, also make sure to check the warranty details. i personally went for OCZ platinum.
Other than that, get a good PSU, ive got quite a basic setup and still am usign a 700w ATX2.2 PSU, no point being chep on it, as if you get a rubbusih one, it copuld give you loads of probelms, or even mess up your other components.
There are quite a few websites, like toms hardwrare and anadtech amongst tehm that provided mothly updates on best buy GPUS, CPU etc also lots of performance graphs and system builds for certain prices ranges, it is a good idea to read through all that too.
In terms of a case and CPU cooling, again, teh size of teh case will depend on teh size of teh motherboard and so will the CPU fan depend on teh size of the case. Again look at the price and reviews.
Lastly read, read, read and ask ask ask! Also you may get some people telling you to wait till the new sandy bridge platform comes out, or to go AMD, or even go core2quad, they are all valid point , but at the end of teh day i am afraid it will come down to personal choice and cash!
Hope this helps, i didn't reallyw ant to just give you a lost of components to buy/look at as it will take all the fun out of it for you!
thanx a lot!!! i was so helpful and informative and once again thanx for taking so much of pains to answer me!!