Thanks for the quick replies. I've been enjoying this forum for a couple of days now. Wish I had found it a long time sooner.
It has become obvious to me that I should have done a lot more research before ordering the parts for my new build. After placing the order, I started looking more closely at other options and realized that I could have gotten a better setup for only a few dollars more. But I intend to continue with the original pieces and maybe upgrade things later on, if necessary. Here are the parts, in transit now:
CPU: AMD Phenom X3 8850 @ 2.5 ghz (triple core, older version Phenom, locked.)
Motherboard: ASUS M4A785-M (came with the processor as a discounted bundle. $130 for both.)
RAM: Crucial DDR2 800 mhz (4 gigs total... 4x1gb sticks... two matched pairs. $90)
Storage: WD Caviar Black 500 gb sata2... $55
GPU: Sapphire Radeon HD 5770... $150
PSU: Ultra LSP 550 - 550 watt... not modular
DVD: Lite-On IHAS 124-04 burner... $20
Case: Ultra X-Blaster ATX Mid-tower (bundled with the psu... both for $80)
CPU Cooler: Thermaltake TR2-R1... $15
Monitor: Hannspree HF237HPB 23", HD, widescreen... $160
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit OEM... $100
Wireless: Sabrent PCI-G802 pci card... $15
Also: 2 case fans and some patch cables... $20
So all of this plus tax and shipping came to a grand total of $933 U.S. dollars, which seems like a fair deal, assuming everything works properly.
I'm a casual gamer. Maybe not even casual (my favorite games are still Diablo2 and the original Halo), but I might look into some that are more current. I do occasionally rip a dvd and re-encode to xvid or h264, so the tri-core processor should be an improvement over my current pentium 4. Someday I might dabble in overclocking (if I decide to upgrade the cpu to a Phenom Black Edition).
To be honest, I feel that this new build will be such an improvement over my current old system that I'll probably never upgrade anything. Although that idea is subject to change at any time.
EDIT: Actually, I could have gotten a better setup for less money... should have done more research before ordering the parts.
About partitioning the raw hard disk: I'll be using the gparted live cd which gives a nice graphical interface to work with. Intend to dual-boot or triple-boot Windows 7 and various Linux distros. Great fun in distro hopping.
Edited by 4Orbs, 05 October 2010 - 06:26 PM.