It's been a while since I've looked at building a new PC, because the PCs I build tend to last a very, very long time. My current system is still extremely fast, but XP is starting to show its age, and upgrading to Win7 is impossible with the dated motherboard I have. It's pretty rare that hardware specs outlast software requirements, but here I am.
So after doing a bit of research, I built a cost-effective but very high performance PC on Newegg, and I thought I'd share. A few things are missing (like a keyboard, mouse, video card, and monitor) because these things will be re-used from the last system since they're still essentially perfect (Razer Mamba mouse, LG Flatron W2452T 24" LCD + secondary smaller old Dell monitor, Microsoft Ergo 4000 Keyboard, and a Geforce GTX 460).
My goal with any PC is simple: Find the FASTEST parts that aren't ridiculously priced due to being too close to the cutting edge, and keep the overall system cost within a reasonable amount. In the past this was typically under $1000, but the new SSDs cost a bit more.
I went with 16 GB of RAM - probably overkill, but I thought 2 GB was overkill when I built this PC, and I hit the cap all the time with all of the apps I run.
The Core I5-2500K is the overclockable version of that processor, and while an i7 would have been nice, the cost just isn't justifiable (another $100 or +50%) for the performance gain it provides (+5-10% at most.)
The new PC features a solid state drive for the main OS/Program Files drive, and two secondary 1 TB drives (1 for data, 1 for pure backup.)
It's hard to find good information on fast standard HDDs with all the attention on SSDs these days. But that Samsung Spinpoint is as fast as it gets. There are faster drives available, of course, but again, it's about a reasonable price/performance ratio, leaning toward the high end of the performance range. The trick is to find the items that are priced within the range of standard, slower competitors, just before the huge uptick in price kicks in for the premium, cutting edge parts.
Any quesitons, post to Facebook!