However, instead of trying to purchase everything in the one go, I'll pick up the case, HDD's, ROM's, sound and graphics cards along the way. That way it'll just be the CPU, RAM and mobo when the time comes/I've saved enough.
This really is not a good way to buy a computer. Prices on everything for computer components trend downward over time. If you pick up a graphics card (say, a GTX 260) right now, but pick up the rest of your computer four months later, chances are that the very same graphics card you purchased will be significantly cheaper by the time you actually build your computer.
Assuming you aren't the kind of person that will just blow money being saved, it is (almost) always vastly superior to save whatever your budget is, and then spend it all at the same time.
The only exceptions being one-time style deals (If you can get a GTX 260 for half of street price today, then do it!)
Yeah, you're probably right.. particularly when it comes to the graphics card price. The GTX295 is running at around $595 to $665 AUD at present, and it will come down in price by the time I'm ready to build, so I shall hold off of getting that until I'm ready to purchase the CPU, mobo and RAM. However, the other components (case, HDD's and ROM's, etc, are fairly much static in price here, unless there's a special, so I will still collect those along the way. I use PriceSpy to keep an eye on things, so I can pounce on really good deals when they're available. For example, I saw a Creative X-Fi Xtreme Gamer Pro on special for just $75 AUD the other day... I paid around $135 for mine, which is still about the going price, normally.
My 'upgrade' was an entirely new machine. There was no option for adding to the old components as it was a quantum leap in upgrade.....
I realise that, Jafo, but my comparison was moreso to demonstrate what I could afford at the time... which was just a partial upgrade of a better processor, a higher rated PSU and some extra RAM. I was able to do that because of the Phenom II's backward compatability. Therefore it was the most economical way for me to access greater power than what my AMD Athlon x2 6400 gave me. Had I been able to go with a complete new build at the time I most definitely would have gone with the i7 and forgot entirely about doing a piecemeal upgrade.
A Phenom II is not enough of an upgrade to justify going to the trouble.
Now that entirely depends on what you'd be upgrading from, doesn't it?? I went from a dual core 6400 @ 3.3 to a Phenom II quad @ 2.88, and the difference is significant and well worth it. So anyone on a lower rated AMD CPU is going to notice a distinct power and speed improvement. That is not to say, however, that anyone with a low-end Intel dual or quad core would benefit from a Phenom quad. By the time they paid for a new mobo to match it, they'd probably be better off going for a same socket upgrade, something like an Intel Core 2 Q9650 @ 3.0ghz, perhaps.