This is a PRIME example of how a "budget build" can be every bit as sexy as an, ummm, "non-budget build"(??)! Excellent work!
I really look forward to seeing the Intel aspect of it. I am a long-time AMD Fan myself (my first computer build was an FX-51, Asus SK8V, 1GB Corsair XMS3200RE, and an X800XT-PE), but there is nothing in AMD's lineup that can come close to competing with the better Intel chips. I think the APU's (A10-6800K, is that the top one? It's drool-worthy!) are fantastic, and if I was building a rig for a family member or any non-gamer, it'd like be based around the top APU and a solid FM2+ motherboard.
However, if you really want some serious horsepower, the 2500K/3570K, 2600K/2700K/3770K, and of course the 3930K are on a whole different level! While I do miss the fun of baseclock overclocking, I also LOVE having a 6C/12T CPU running at 4.8Ghz with room to spare
The new Ivy Bridge CPU's have made RAM overclocking nearly as fun as it was back in the DDR1-days, with speeds of DDR3-3000+ possible with a strong IMC. Intel has come a long ways from the Pentium 4 Emergency Edition
Just a bit of advice:
When you go to Micro Center, be sure to look at their Clearance and "Open Box" motherboards! I got my Rampage IV Extreme for less than the price of a P9X79 Pro as it had been mistakenly marked Open Box, yet they still honored the price on it! If you get lucky, you can end up with a motherboard that is a big step up from what your budget would otherwise allow, and still save money. The Micro Center near me has Maximus 5 Extreme's for $248, Z77 Sabertooth boards for $175, a Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP7 for $289, and the P8Z77 Workstation board for $236!! I have been practically losing sleep over the P8Z77-WS as I REALLY WANT IT for a server/media server/media box/storage box build, with its array of SATA ports and enough PCI-Express lanes for a few hardware RAID Controller Cards, a single GPU (Folding, of course!), a sound card (possibly, for output to receiver), and some extra USB3.0 and/or eSATA add-in cards!
Also, for $229 the 3770K is a steal! People will argue about whether or not it has any advantages in gaming, and while they are not HUGE advantages, they are there... However, one of the biggest advantages is that every 3770K I've used has had a better IMC than any 3570K I've used. With the same pair of Samsung WundeRAM 2x4GB DIMMs, I was able to get DDR3-2800 11-13-12-34 1.625v on a 3770K but only 2400 11-13-13-31 1.635v with the 3570K installed.
A few other things to look for on sale:
- Hard Drives: I've picked up a number of drives for extremely cheap prices, both new and refurbished, and haven't had trouble with any of them. This includes 2 WD RE3 1TB HDD's for $58/ea, a Barracuda ES.2 1TB for $45, a WD Black 500GB for $38, 5x Seagate Cheetah SAS6Gbps 300GB drives for $55/ea, a quartet of Hitachi Ultrastar 1TB drives for $44/ea, a Seagate Barracuda 1TB/platter 3TB drive for $75, 3x WD Scorpio Black 750GB 2.5" HDD's for $60/ea, and quite a few others.
- "Micro Center" Branded Solid State Drives: available in 64GB and 128GB capacities, these are just relabeled ADATA drives that can be flashed with the ADATA firmware and they are quite fast considering they are ~$35 for the 64GB and ~$60 for the 128GB. Some places don't seem to have them anymore, while other stores do. I use them for "write dumps" to keep my 830 256GB fresh
- Cooling Component Sales: The MC here has a huge metal rack as well as the bottom of a shelf dedicated to marked-down fans, CPU HSF's, memory/MOSFET/Motherboard/etc heatsinks, fan controllers, digital thermometers, fan grills/filters/"silencers"/etc, and LIQUID COOLING PARTS! Most are between 40-60% off, but I recently picked up a pair of 92x38mm Vantec Tornado fans for $8 TOTAL! I have also gotten 4 4-packs of Akust Pure-Copper BGA RAM-sinks (13x12x5mm) for $1.17/ea, NZXT RF-FZ140 140mm Fans for $8.48/ea, and tons of Bitspower and Swiftech Fittings for cheap!
- Monitors: This depends entirely on luck, but open-box monitors can be had for ridiculously low prices. The Auria 27" 1440p can be had open-box for as little as $270, the Dell U2711 for $518, and so forth.
- Audio: I got my Titanium HD for less than 1/3rd the retail price, BNIB, from Micro Center!
- CABLES: SATA Data Cables for $0.20/ea, ModRight individually-sleeved cables for $2.50-4.50, Regular SATA-to-SLIM ODD cables for $2-5, SAS-to-SATA Breakout cables for under $10, and lots, lots more! Stock up!
The trick is very much to look at the stuff that most people would pass over, and the sale bins are usually on the ends of aisles but sometimes are at the bottom shelf of the aisles themselves.