I’m upgrading my desktop, and I’m looking at a few options. First off, what do you think would be a good processor? Either AMD Athlon 64 x2 or Pentium D. Those are my favorites at the moment.
Next off, what graphics card should I get? I read a thread about not using ATI. Is that true? Should I get nVidia, GeForce? What do you think?

well my machine is really cheap, i have a sempron 64 1.9ghz with 1 gb of ram and a geforce 6150, it can run blender and games pretty well, amd rox

Only Pentium D? I recently upgraded from that processor.

Get a Core 2 Quad and a GeForce 8800GT, I have those in my machine and it has powerful performance.

I’d read up on some hardware (check out reviews, newegg, etc) to get an idea of what’s currently out there. Based on this information, choose a price range. I recently built a really great computer for ~$1200. Core 2 Quad, 8600 GTS, 4GB RAM, 22" monitor. A pretty sweet rig. Once you have a price range, you get a better idea of whether to get a part or not.

I built my computer with the intel Core 2 Quad 6600 (it’s getting too popular) and a nvidia 9600GT (ATI does have problems with blender) both are really good and are quite cheap.

Let me put this in perspective for you. I’m about to shell out a large sum of money for tuition for my last year of college (computer science degree coming up!). I’m also saving up for a wedding. I’m also trying to upgrade my hardware enough to sustain my most recent habit of game making (I’ve been on a 6 month binge). My current hardware is a hyperthreaded pentium 4 3ghz with 1gb 667mhz ram and a 40gb hard drive, with really crappy onboard graphics. I need to upgrade my hard drive anyway, because it’s full. I won’t be getting a graphics card for a few months yet most likely, but I still want to know what plays well with Blender. My budget for a processor is a little over $100, and my budget for a graphics card is a little under $100. Keeping that in mind, even though I’d love a quad core, or an 8 core, this is what I’m working with. So what do you think?

lol, my 64 bit machine with integrated nvidia 6150 graphics (really good, the hypertransport thing is fast, faaast!) costed around $250 (i’m in argentina, in usa it might be even cheaper) including motherboard, processor, memory, a cool case, and a 160GB sata hard drive.

You can get an Athlon X2 4000+ for around $60. While it is a “budget” CPU it is still dual-core, and it can perform ;). It is what I’m using in my rig, along with 2gb DDR2 800 RAM, an NVIDIA 8600 GT, and a 500gb SATA hdd. And this thing does great, all for around $500 or maybe $600. However, I didn’t buy a case, dvd-rw drive, or a cd-rom drive, as I had these already.