I've already started ordering the parts that are on sale right now. Waiting on the others to see if they go on sale, otherwise I'll order them after I'm sure all the Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals are over.
Right now, it's looking like:
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks
CPU: AMD FX-4170 4.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($119.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Sniper Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition 1GB Video Card ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Rosewill Blackbone ATX Mid Tower Case ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic G Series SSR-550RM 550W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($99.99 @ Newegg)
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-23 00:48 EST-0500)
Essentially, I was wanting to build on an i5-2500k because I was expecting them to go on sale for the holidays... doesn't appear to be happening, and I just can't afford that kind of money for a single part. I guess that's where AMD finds its niche - making processors for dirt-poor guys like me.
Was looking at a Deneb processor, the Phenom II X4 965 black (45nm), but comparing prices and performance, it just seems like there's no real good reason not to just grab a 32nm Zambezi processor, so I'm grabbing the FX-4170 since it's about the same price.
Motherboard is Gigabyte, a brand my friends swear by, and it comes bundled with a copy of Windows - it's only a $10 discount, but I guess it's better than nothing. And I'd rather go legit for Windows than go through the trouble of getting it through... other avenues, even if it's (IMO) overpriced.
Video card is Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition. I don't know if that means it's better or worse than the regular 7770, but at that price there's no way in hell I'm considering anything else. I was looking at having to go for a 6xxx Radeon, and then this deal shows up. Uncertain about MSi's quality for video cards (I've only ever used Sapphire when it comes to ATi chips), but again... that price!
RAM is 1866 because it's a good deal. I've heard that I'll probably have to set the voltage and timings manually through the BIOS. I've also heard Gigabyte has a great BIOS, so I don't think it'll be hard.
Case is cheap, that's it. It doesn't have front-side USB 3.0 slots, so I'm guessing it'll automatically downgrade them to USB 2.0 if I connect them. As far as I know, I don't own any USB 3.0 equipment, so I don't think it'll matter. And I'm not really interested in paying an extra $30-$50 for a few 3.0 ports on the front of the case. The Rosewill case looks about the same as most other cases in that price range, and reviews for it are good (painted interior, no sharp edges, etc.) I'd just breadboard the damned thing and save myself the money if I wasn't worried about our freaking cats deciding to investigate the new toy sitting around.
Had to edit in the PSU. For whatever reason, PCPartPicker doesn't have it listed. Seems like a complete steal at that price - it's 550W, it's SeaSonic, it's Gold Plus certified, and it's modular. PCPP says that the estimated power draw for my build will be about 304W, so I guess 550W is a little bit of overkill. But, again... it just seems stupid to go for a $45 ~450W PSU when I can get that PSU with all those features for about $10 more after rebates.
Looking like I'll need to grab a tube of Arctic Silver when I buy the CPU; reviews seem to indicate the Zambezi doesn't come with its own thermal paste and I don't see it listed in the details. People are complaining about the noise the stock fan makes, but my current rig's had a blown fan for a while now so we're used to having the sound of a giant desk fan blowing directly into the case for several months now, so I don't think it could possibly be any worse than that.
I might look into overclocking once I know more about it, and it sounds like I'd need to have a better cooling solution than stock for that, but that'll be down the road, I think.
I don't expect to be trying to push maxed out settings on all the hottest games with this. I'm used to playing at mid-low settings in virtually every game with 20-30 fps, so anything better than that will be a substantial improvement. Most likely games I'll be playing are PlanetSide 2, Tribes Ascend, and I'm sure I'll pick up and heavily mod Skyrim at some point. Re-using mouse, keyboard, and monitor; might upgrade them later, but it's hardly a priority. 1680x1050 resolution.