I just want to preface this with: I don't have any experience with AMD processors. I'll be speaking of intel.intel Core 2 Duo E8400
- One of the newer Core 2 Duo processors, it offers pretty good performance, and it's basically the last processor before the price:performance ratio levels out.intel Core i7 920
- This is where you start getting pretty serious. One of the newest processors being sold by intel, it offers awesome performance, a few steps short of bleeding-edge.
Concerning motherboards, NewEgg is a good place to read reviews on motherboards because any decent mobo on that site will get tens to hundreds of diverse reviews. Recommend ASUS and MSI as good board brands for high-end rigs. Or, if you want to go extreme, get the world's first 4-way SLI board.
Video cards: Same bias seen here. Do not know ATI cards well, so I will not mention them.
After the 9800- or GTS 250
series, performance increases on current games are not noticeable, except for the super-graphics games which I don't think are that great. But, just for the sake of being future-proof, a GTX 280, or on the super-high-end, a GTX 295 is a good gaming setup. I don't recommend SLI, it's for the major-performance-every-last-frame-per-second user or for users looking to improve a current rig, and the performance increase is not 2x. With current SLI efficiency, you'll probably see anywhere from a 125-175% performance increase with SLI cards. Basically, I'm saying "SLI is trouble. Just get a good single card." Well, that's my spiel. Thanks for your time.
Edited by Ryan 3000, 01 December 2009 - 10:09 PM.
No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land.