I bought all the parts and am happy to say they went together smoothly. No problems at least so far. The only problem I had while building was when I was installing two 120mm fans in the front of the case. I wasn't sure which direction to put them in. I knew that they were intake fans, so I blew on one and when the fan moved the correct direction, I figured that would be the direction I should install them. I looked online and found the best advice: install them and start up the system and then if it's not right, power down and change them. Turned out that's what I had to do, but it was no big deal.
I spent a little more money than I had planned, though that is not really surprising. Once I got into the shop there was so much tempting stuff. I might have been a (not altogether unwilling) victim of the old bait-and-switch. When I got there they didn't have any iCore 5 2500K processors in stock, but "if you buy the 7, you can get $50 off the Asus p8/z68v-gen3 motherboard!" So, I ended up spending about $100 more than I had planned, but I'm really happy with my system.
One thing that was really great about this experience was that after all the research that you helped me to do, I was really familiar with all the parts and the strengths and weaknesses of each. It made the buying process easier and I was sure that I was buying the correct parts. And because they were all the correct parts, the building experience was fun. There's nothing like the feeling when you get the main parts on the mobo and turn it on for a test post and it actually posts!
Thanks for all your help.
Here is what I ended up with:
MB: Asus p8/z68-v/Gen3
PSU: OCZTech 750w
Case: Antec 300 (illusion was not available there)
GPU: Zotac GTX 560 TI
Ram: Patriot 8 gb 1600
Samsung 22x sata DVDRW
Arc Silver TIM
2 120 mm fans
Anti-static wrist strap
Windows 7 home premium
2 year service plan for the motherboard ($20--I know, I'm a sucker).
2 games came with the GPU: Assassin: Brotherhood and Batman: Arkham City
Grand total: almost exactly $1100, not counting the rebates totaling $70.
One thing: I'm happy I got the DVD burner as I was expecting my old DVD burners to work--I just wanted one cause the old ones were getting sticky (difficulty opening). Didn't occur to me that they would not work on the new MB because they are not sata!
Thanks again for all your help and answering all my noob questions.
Edited by mclimbin, 12 January 2012 - 11:34 AM.