I don't think it's too early to plan. The main component that will vary in price (decreasing) will be the graphics card, most everything else should stay fairly constant. I suggest the following if you're going Intel:
CPU: Core i5-3330 3.0ghz socket 1155. Get used because there is little risk with used locked CPUs. Currently trading at ~$170.
Cooler: You indicated that you wanted something better than stock cooling. My choice would be Cooler Master Hyper 101 for $15
Motherboard: Get new. New 1155 motherboards are still readily available, and there are a few decent H61 boards for under $50. My choice would be Gigabyte GA-H61M-S1
. Let's say $50 there.
RAM: Get new, or used if you can find substantially cheaper maybe. H61 only supports up to 1333mhz, but cheapest new RAM is usually 1600, it will also work at 1333mhz fine. Suggest going with 8gb, 1 x 8GB and 2 x 4GB are both around $65 new, your choice. If going with only 4GB, be sure to get a single stick to leave an upgrade path to 8GB.
HDD: Definitely get new! Suggest WD Blue 1TB (WD10EZEX) which is faster, slightly cheaper ($60), and IMO more reliable than the Barracuda.
Optical: Toss in one you have lying around.
PSU: Get new. 650w is gross overkill
for a build like this, and modular is unnecessary in a build this simple. Recommend Antec Earthwatts 380W which is sufficient - old version currently selling on eBay for $38
is a very good deal, I would snap that up, otherwise get new version for ~$52-$54, the only difference between old and new versions is the color!
Case: NZXT Source 210 Black is indeed a good budget case for ~$46 shipped. Even cheaper and still not bad is Apex SK-393-C - currently $34 shipped
Cheapest legal way to get Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit is from Snaggstuff.com for $69
So far we have:
.... if your budget is $600, we have $87 left for a video card. Going used, right now your best options would be either a HD5870 or GTX560ti. I would go with the 560ti because a lot of 5870s were used as mining cards. Of course the GPU is the part that will drop in price the most over the next few months, so this situation may change and it's best to wait as long as possible before buying.
If you don't feel you have enough left over for a video card, it would be best to step down on the CPU. The next logical choice would be AMD FX-6350 3.9/4.1ghz for $140 including a stock cooler that actually handles that cpu quite well at stock speeds. Motherboards are cheaper too. An ECS A960-MV(1.0A) for $35
will do the job being as we're not overclocking. Everything else ends up being the same so we have:
CPU: $140 (includes cooler)
... now, on a $600 budget, we have $147 to spend on a vidcard. $150 gets us a new R7 265, or used, ~$145 gets us a HD7950, which is actually a respectable 1080p card!
Hope all this helps.Edited by synge - 5/14/14 at 9:05pm