My post the other day about how Intel's Sandy Bridge Core i7-2600K processor offers far better value for money has prompted you folks to ask me to come up with an outline for a build your own Sandy Bridge system.
So let's get cracking with the build!
Note: As usual with these builds I won't recommend a case or an optical drive or peripherals. Feel free to choose whatever suits you or scavenge parts from an older system.
First you need the processor - Intel's quad-core, 3.4GHz Core i7-2600K. It is around this bit of silicon that we will build the rest of the system.
I recommend that you save money and stick with the stock cooler supplied with the CPU unless you want to overclock the system or want something quieter.
Note: Alternatively, you could grab a Core i7-2600 (no K) which is some $30 cheaper, but doesn't overclock as well, doesn't support VT-d hardware virtualization and has the more inferior HD Graphics 2000 as opposed to the HD Graphics 3000 found in the 2600-K.
Alternatively, you could always go with the Core i5-2500K and save $100!
Picking a motherboard is tricky, not because there are plenty to choose from, but because the Cougar Point chipset problem that caused SATA degradation has temporarily cleared the market of most compatible boards. This means that there's a shortage of boards to choose from.
With that in mind, I've chosen to go for an Intel board, because Intel has started shipping boards with the fixed B3 stepping chipset. I've gone for the Intel DH67BL board.
Going to go here with G.SKILL 4GB (2x2GB) 240-pin DDR3 1333.
You need a decent power supply, but there's no need to go nuts. A Thermaltake TR2 W0379RU 500W unit is more than adequate.
Let's add storage in the form of a Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB drive. You get high-performance and high-capacity in the same package.
Total system price: $617
Optional Extra - Graphics card
Since the chip we've chosen comes with on-board graphics, and the motherboard chosen can leverage that, technically you don't need a graphics card. However, for gaming I'd recommend that you fit one. Something like the Radeon HD 5670 can pump out the pixels at a rate to keep the current game lineup running smoothly and will only set you back around $80.