I would avoid synthetic benchmarks and look at real-world gaming situations comparing the Phenom II and the i5 before choosing which one to get. From some of the reviews I've seen, depending on the resolution and GPU, there is about a 3 to 5 FPS difference between the Phenom II and the i5. In other words, they are similar but there are differences, but performance does vary based on the game. From what I can tell, the i5 goes in between the Core 2's and the i7's, an area where the Phenom II performs well. Looking over the list, everything looks good, but I would suggest getting a GPU that has 1GB of VRAM in it since some games are taking advantage of higher amounts. The XFX HD-487A-ZWFC Radeon HD 4870 1GB
will work. Remember, you will need to get Windows so factor that into the price as well. Mid sized cases may work for a single card, but be prepared to move things around. Also, a Crossfire setup should be avoided in such a case. I can understand using a Mid ATX tower, it makes moving into a dorm easier. Last year, I carted a full ATX tower into my dorm and box could barely fit through the door so I had to unpack the thing in the hall.
Edited by DJBPace07, 19 September 2009 - 05:51 PM.