Originally Posted by ninman
If you want to do serious gaming then go for a NVIDIA video card. The better quality your graphics card, the better your experience. You'll want at least 512mb, although I'm not sure if you get 1GB now.
As far as casing, hard drives, fans etc, goes, most of that stuff is pretty similar. Basically you want to get good quality casing, and fans, with lots of ventilation to keep the system cool.
You'll also want a powerful processor, and a lot of RAM (at least 8GB). I would also recommend the latest LCD screen, not too familiar with specific manufacturers.
A general rule thumb though is performance. Gaming PC's need very, very high performance. You're using the machine to the limit of it's ability, so the best quality equipment and the most powerful.
You'll also want a fast, responsive mouse, particularly if you like FPS games. Hope that helped.
I don't really know what to say, here. There's a lot of inaccurate information, and wildly generic statements (get good EVERYTHING... duh). Unless OP gets a $600 video card, the above statement is not true. Per price point, there's always a competitive offering in the GPU space. They're also pretty flexible about pricing, if they notice that they're getting dominated at a certain price point, they'll just drop prices. Silicon is cheap
The fact that you are rating "goodness" by memory on card is indicative that you don't know the ins/outs of GPUs, and IMHO you should be careful making blanket statements like that. I'm probably coming across as overly harsh, but silly statements like that aren't helpful, IMHO.
Cases/HDDs/Fans, while similar, CAN make a huge difference depending on your budget. I personally like Lian Li cases because they're designed well, are understated in their aesthetics (read as: will age well), and they are very, VERY well made to work in. If you open your case once while building, and never touch it again, sure, go for a crappy steel mid-ATX case. I do a lot of modding on my cases, and run a relatively unorthodox setup (RAID5 with 8x 1TB HDDs (soon to be 8x 2TB). So the case matters a little more to me... As far as fans, many current stock case fans are OK, but if you value silence (AND good cooling), you may want to eventually swap them out, but most people don't care enough to do so.
8GB is nice, but most people don't need
8GB. Since RAM is so cheap, though, that recommendation is fine by me..
As far as the performance claim, this is only true IFF OP is playing the latest titles, specifically FPS. This is also only true if OP turns on all eye candy (AI/AA, etc). Any mid range card, even from a generation back will be able to play modern titles smoothly at a reasonable resolution. IF you want the added eye candy, or demand higher FPS, sure, get a high end GPU.
IMHO, unless you want to play the latest games, a previous generation high end video card, or current generation mid range card is the best bang for the buck. Make a point to get an SSD. This is the single "upgrade" that you really "feel" in a system build. They're extremely reasonably priced these days. Check out slickdeals to get an idea of pricing. Even if you're using the machine strictly for gaming, the transfer rates (sustained or not) are excellent on an SSD. It will cut down load times, which is something that's very nice
You'll feel it when you're NOT gaming, too.