I don't build monster machines anymore, just midrange ones that have a good tradeoff between price and performance. For example back when I made my last machine I picked up a Shuttle AN35 as opposed to other offerings because it didn't have a buttload of features that I would never use, it was solid, it still performed as well as the competition AND it was only $50. I'm looking to do that again.
My problem is that my mental Rolodex of hardware information is out of date. I don't know what qualifies for 'midrange' anymore. Here's the upgrade list and what I think about it. Ideally I want to only spend in the neighborhood of $600.
CPU - AMD or Intel? I would go either way. I like Intel's Dual Core offerings and I don't mind shelling out like $200 for one.
Mobo - I'm sure I can score something for at most $70. I don't need integrated sound or RAID or any of that stuff. Just something to plug my CPU, RAM and videocard into that isn't a flaming piece of shit.
RAM - $100 for a gig isn't a problem. Can anyone find cheaper?
Videocard - $150-200 sounds reasonable. Who's the top dog in that department? nVidia or ATI? What's the offerings?
PSU - I've had the same 300 watt Enermax PSU since 2000. It's been an excellent piece of hardware that may actually be retired before it can manage to die. With the above hardware will I need to upgrade? How much more powerful should it be? Will $60 cover it?
So with that list I could spend between $570-630. Can someone make some suggestions and get me looking in the right direction? I want to get this rolling before Xmas so I can surprise my wife.