I'm getting a new system shortly, mainly to experience some dual core goodness.
I've based it mainly on this list
Nothing's finalized yet but here's how it's shaping up:
Core 2 Duo E8400 (@3 GHz) - going under the assumption that lesser cores with more GHz per core is better for the average user, as stated elsewhere. The E8500 (3.16 ? Ghz)and E8600 (3.33 GHz) apparently haven't arrived here and the marginal differences I've seen in the benchmarks don't make the waiting/torture worthwhile.
Gigabyte GA-EP35-DS3P (supports FSB speeds of 1600MHz and DDR2 speeds of 1200MHz)
RAM: 2GB DDR2, make undecided - something in the 1100+ MHz range
HDDs - Haven't looked closely at HDDs yet but something fast for the system drive, probably a Raptor running @10000 RPM
1 TB Seagate or WD for data mirroring along with my older (2x) 300GB Seagates.
GPU - I'm leaning towards the 9600GT after reading this
thread but I might spring for something faster, budget permitting.
A couple of clarifications needed from the hardware enthusiasts:
My memory usage rarely touches the 1GB mark as of now, will a core 2 system running the same OS+software utilize more RAM for any reason? The low speed RAM is really cheap but the faster sticks are a bit steeper priced so I don't want to buy any more than I need and use the cash instead to push the other specs up a bit.
Soundcard: I was completely taken in by some Creative X-Fi (XtremeMusic) reviews but just saw the thread reg. poor Creative support. I plan to stick to XP-32 so don't expect to have any driver problems. Any happy X-Fi customers here? Or other cards to consider? Do these things even make a difference to the way music sounds?
Any suggestions beyond what I've asked are obviously very welcome. Thanks.