First time PC builder (Gaming/Photo-editing)

Hey guys, as the title indicates I'm a first time PC builder. I've been in internal conflict for months now about whether I should make the splurge and build a PC and I figured I would be better off getting some advice as my inner gamer tries to convice my conscience for a loan.

First things first, I'm from the UK but I'll do the legwork to find a gbp equivalent for any usd shopping :). My budget is around 800-1000 pounds which is like... 1000-1500 dollars in the current economic climate iirc. I'd probably like to keep closer to the 1200 dollar range but I want to do this right so if I need to delay purchase to save I will. Ideally I'm looking to purchase during May (ideally).

The computers primary uses will be for photo-editing (mostly photoshop), CAD work (autocad, revit) and of course video games - though it's primarily for video games. The first two are some kind of justification to my wallet. Heh.

With regards to any kind of preference, I'm not 'that' picky but I would prefer to stick with an intel based PC. For graphics cards, I've been hovering over 670's or 680's (I've heard that 660ti's are running well for the cost and that 7970's are also doing well) but I still haven't really come to a decision. I also have a strange love for NZXT cases, which I can't quite explain why.

I'm totally open to having SLI or Crossfire in the present, or the future and the resolution I'll be working at is 1920x1200 (I was able to pick up a Dell ultrasharp 24 for a bargain recently). I will probably be using two monitors if I can find another bargain - as going back to one after working on two for so long feels like losing a limb - but when it comes to playing games I'm quite content with playing on a single monitor.

I don't need any peripherals and I'm fairly sure I have a lisence key for Windows 7 ultimate which is still valid, though I'm probably going to upgrade to Windows 8 once the software I use has most of the kinks ironed out.

As for overclocking, I wont say no but this is my first build and as such I would probably have to aquire some knowledge on the subject so that it doesn't end horribly. 

Sorry if the post is a bit long winded and thanks again.


a 7970 would be a good choice for gaming but if CUDA will be handy in editing. not sure about CAD though.

that xeon is sever grade chip that's cheaper than the 3770K and is an i7 and with a lower TDP, meaning it uses less juice and its cooler

the Heatsink is meant for reducing noise and overall heat in the case


With monitors


Without monitors