I haven't been keeping up, and don't really have time to do much research as I am in the middle of exams. My stepmom wanted me to build my step brother a gaming computer for christmas. She wants to keep it around $900.
My questions are, i3 or i5? my stepbrother will be using it for gaming, so I'm not sure if he will utilize the quad core in the future.
If get just gets the i3 i will take the extra money and get an SSD. I'm not too sure what type either, but i was thinking of the kingston SSD now 64gb.
__________________ (whitty saying to be plagiarized at a later date)
Get a true quad core. It's not worth getting dual core even with HT.
Unless this computer is only supposed to last 1 year, I really suggest quad core and even then I suggest quad core. Although SSDs can be great, they can easily be lived without. Hybrid sleep mode can be used if fast boot up of win7 is the issue and although all applications will take longer to start, load, etc, from a gaming point of view it may not matter. A lot of games make you wait for everyone to load before you're allowed to start or there is no advantage to loading faster. Also, once you're in game (past the loading screen), the performance increase of a SSD isn't noticeable. Plus, at that budget, you can't get enough SSD capacity to do much more than OS + 1 or 2 games (SSDs degrade in performance once they start to fill past the 80% mark according to OCZ).
Buying SSDs is a process that can bit you in the butt if you're not careful. Really important is the iOPS or 4k random speeds as they determine how snappy the SSD is and read/write speeds are only applicable for large file transfers as most applications/games rely on 4k read/write not sequential. Also, make sure that is has TRIM or Garbage collection (all new SSD will have one of the two).
I'd look into micro ATX to save money on the mobo without having to compromise other features of the mobo and you'll probably be fine with 500w PSU or around there for whatever you get (I assume your spending under $300 on a GPU). I'm actually surprised at the great price/performance of my 500GB caviar green (WD) HDD as it has 32MB of cache and a dynamic RPM between 5400 and 7200 for energy savings, for < $50. Otherwise, the Caviar black is great performance for about $15-25 more... OR if you have some money to spare, the MomentusXT at about $110 has been getting tons of great reviews!
mATX board and a Core i5, with a Momentus XT and if needed a Caviar Black or Green storage drive.
I wouldn't go for that Kingston SSD, I'd much rather have a G.SKILL Phoenix.
What games will he be playing?
For a mostly-gaming rig, a dual-core with HT is okay; the i5-655K overclocks like a beast.
__________________ Who needs a real doctor when you got my machines and their scary needles?
I also go by Silver Blues in lots of other places.