Intel is now way better than AMD for gaming. (I'm assuming you're coming back to gaming from the days when the Athlon 64 smoked Intel's offerings). And they just came out with new processors. Now if you also do video editing, heavy autoCAD work, whatever, there may be a more cost-effective AMD offering. Not a better one, though.
But for just gaming (I'm assuming a 1920x1080 monitor since you didn't specify), here's what I'd get if I were you:
Case: haf 912 is actually one of the best budget cases, it's cheaper here ($53)
you can get the bit fenix merc alpha, which is decent for a bit less, but the 912 is slightly higher quality
PSU: Antec Earthwatts 650 ($65)
This is tremendous overkill in terms of wattage, but it's a pretty good sale on a quality unit. Enough power for a second GPU if you ever decide you want one. It's not modular, but you can just set the cords on the bottom of the case, which is out of the way of airflow and saves you money you can spend on video card...
DVD burner ($17)
Hard Drive: 1TB 7200rmp ($95)
2TB for $115. 3TB for $165, 500GB for $75 depending on your favored size.
RAM: G.Skill 1600mhz 2x4gb ($45)
the ram rdr09 recommended is better for an AMD system, because it's cheaper, but Intel systems prefer 1.5v ram.
Motherboard: Asrock z77 ($118)
If you want to leave open the option of having 2 video cards (generally not worth it unless you have a multi-monitor setup or a really really high resolution), you can get the upgraded version at ($143)
CPU: i5-3570k (~$215)
Should be available soon... the ivy bridge processors launched today but they're not in stores just yet for some reason. Any day now. This will be the best processor for pure gaming on the market.
CPU Cooler: HR-02 Macho ($53)
Good performance, very quiet. You can spend less for slightly worse with a Coolermaster 212+ or spend more for slightly better with a Noctua NH-D14 or Thermalright Silver Arrow.
Sound Card: Asus DX ($62 after $20 rebate)
Unless you have good headphones/speakers and not some generic gaming headset, you won't hear a benefit over the on-board sound cound, which are pretty good these days. But if you really want a sound card, the one above is very, very good, particularly for the price.
Video Card ($267)
What you spend here depends a lot on your monitor and your toleration for image quality. For one standard (1920x1080) monitor, with most games, the 7850 will be absolutely fabulous. For the very hardest games to run, you might have to deal with just "high" graphics settings rather than maximum - but the games will still look good. But if you're one of those people that has to have tops graphics settings, you'll want to spend more on the 7870 or 7950. If it were me, I'd get the 7850 and save the extra $100. If you have a 1680x1050 monitor or less, I'd get whatever 6870 is cheap on newegg, and it'll run games fantastically on that resolution - the extra money not being worth it without a better monitor.
If you get a 7870, I recommend the sapphire version with 2 fans. That heatsink has reviewed as very quiet and effective.
Tenative total (7850, cheaper motherboard): $990.
Compared to your wishlist that's
1)The best gaming CPU on the market instead of a decent CPU
2)a non-modular PSU
3)A more highly recommended sound card
4)More expensive by about $55
Better ways to reduce cost:
1)Don't overclock. (-$100) Overclocking costs money: in this case about $90. (Drop cpu cooler, get a non-K i5 processor, get an H77 instead of z77 motherboard)
2)Get a cheaper video card (-$110). A 6870 is still a good card, and is much cheaper.
3)Don't get a sound card (-$63). On board is good for most people
4)Get a cheaper PSU (-$20) A good 450w unit will be plenty for you - I didn't recommend one only because none are one a good sale this week that I saw.
5)Get a smaller HDD (see hdd section above)
Better ways to spend more:
1)Get an SSD. (+$140). With 128GB SSD you can fit your OS and most of your programs on the SSD for lightning-fast load speeds.
2)Get a better video card (+$100 or more) See video card section above.
3)Get a bigger HDD (see hdd section above)
4)Get a monitor upgrade (+$ lots and lots) if you don't have a good monitor now, there's no point getting a hot-shot video card. Higher resolutions or capable frame rates (the 'standard' monitor is 1920x1080 @ 60hz) can utilize more power.
5)Buy better peripherals - mouse (I love my mionix naos 3200), headphones, whatever.
Hope this helps!
P.S. The Earthwatts doesn't come with a power cable. If you don't have an extra from somewhere, pick one up.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812270406Edited by MisterFred - 4/23/12 at 10:08pm