I'm going to be putting together my first new build in 4.5 years. It'll lie somewhere between the Utility Player and the Sweeter Spot.
I've settled on:
Intel Core i5 2500
Asus P8Z68-V LE
8GB or 16GB DDR3 1600
128GB Crucial m4 SSD (reliability is key, but Intel is a tad over-priced)
WD Green 2TB (snagged last week for $130 just as prices started to take off)
Asus Xonar DG
500W PSU: a good name-brand one, whatever's on sale
I'm pretty settled on the above choices. But the GPU and case are tough to pick, and I'd love to hear opinions.
GPU: either AMD 6950 1GB (probably Gigabyte GV-R695OC-1GD) or GeForce GTX 560 Ti (probably Gigabyte GV-N560OC-1GI).
AMD seems like a bit better bang/buck right now. But, as much as I sympathize with the underdog, AMD's future concerns me. Especially given the repeated layoffs, and given how important continued driver development is to game performance. And, given that VLIW4 is about to be replaced by GCN.
Nvidia may be the more stable long-term bet, especially if I want to use this GPU for 3 years or so.
On to the case. I currently have an Antec Sonata III, and like its reserved looks and its (attempt at) quiet operation. I'd like to spend close to $100, but am willing to go higher if it's worth it. I'm looking for a quiet case, that still keeps the internals reasonably cool.
Candidates: Corsair 600T, Corsair 650D, Fractal Design Define R3, NZXT H2, and even the good 'ole Antec P183 V3.
I thought I was leaning towards the Fractal Design Define R3, but then I got confused