Good to see You on OCN, Mate!
Dependent upon how "in the know" You have been in the last 2 years, You may have heard of a relatively new Intel Architecture, named Sandy Bridge
I highly suggest considering a build with this as Your base. Many of us here could agree with the
I felt when seeing that this "mainstream" Intel socket gave the very best the previous socket had to offer at a third of the price. Moreover, the RAM and Motherboard needed for such a build are also comparable if not lower than the previous Intel socket.
I will use an example, for Your consideration:
See my Signature Rig below. As You can see, I have an Intel i7 Build, and I am happy with it! However, we all live and learn.
Intel i7 960 3.2GHz Bloomfield
Quad Core CPU ($289.99 US)
ASUS P6X58D-E Socket 1366 Motherboard ($219.99 US)
Corsair XMS3 6GB (3x2GB) 1600 (12800) DDR3 RAM ($99.99 US)
Total Cost = $609. 97
This has been a great set-up for me. Backed up by a 2GB ATI 6970 Graphics Card, 90GB SSD, and a Noctua NH-D14 CPU Cooler. Have reached 4.0GHz with little effort and time. YAY!
Now, a look at the above mentioned Sandy Bridge Architechure in a similar build:
Intel i7-2600k 3.4GHz Sandy Bridge
Quad Core CPU ($299.99 US)
ASUS P8P67 DELUXE (REV 3.0) Socket 1155 Motherboard ($239.99 US)
G. Skill Ripjaw Series 8GB (2x4GB) 1600 (12800) DDR3 RAM ($129.99US)
Total Cost: $669.97 US
Price Difference: $60.00 US
So, why fork out the extra $60? Quickly, You can see that the Sandy Bridge suggestion includeds 8GB of RAM, unlike the 1366 suggested 6GB. 2 more GB of RAM Fun-ness. Also, there are tons of people running their new Sandy Bridge CPU's at 4.4GHz on the STOCK COOLER, and others that approach and break 5.0GHz when applying a smart BIOS and appropriate cooler.
Please remember that these two suggestions are, while not the very best out there, commonly consider great build bundles. Also consider that there are less expensive hardware in either the 1366 or Sandy Bridge architechure to look at - and if You want help looking, I would be willing.
I would start here. Just start looking around Your area to see what You have available and decide how much You are willing to spend, and let these two variables choose a path for You. And best of luck! Don't settle. StayThirsty, My Friend.Edited by Cloudbreaker - 3/27/11 at 7:11pm