Indeed, your spot on. I have a good number of people tell me to get AsRock for SLI/CX but in all honesty, if I wanted to do that I would be buying a system on a whole other level.
Still though [this is for my mom more than anything]
Let's take a look at other gaming pc's at the same price as mine
Warning: Alienware $1008 With Monitor (Click to show)
... let's analyze why the Mshenay/Bowei/Hybrid MONSTER, is better and cheaper
Notice the crummy little i3 processor for starters, next take a look at the 6gb of 1333mhz ram, in addition please note the HDD with only 32mb cache, also take note of the Last Gen gfx card... I couldn't even find a price for it!
Now let's see what it would cost to buy my system from Alien Ware!
Well at $1208. I can get a Sandy Bridge i5, and 8gbs of 1333mhz ram, were getting close ^^
There's still the last gen Gpu in that $1200 one, as well as the slower HDD, well I went to the Auroa unit which starts at about $1500, it was a +63 dollar upgrade for the HD 6870 So it's about $1800 for a Quad core i7 with 8gb's of 1600mmhz Ram and that HD 6870 card, the only real improvement dell offers is that i7 Quad,
[OMG I got a guy on LIVE CHAT TROLOLOLOLO time, I'm sure he'll catch on to me after a while but he's a good sport for offering his assitance]
So far, Alienware is about $800 more for the system we've built [-200 since I'm sure that CPU is expensive]
Next is Digital Storm [I might actually post this some where elese later]
They have an i5 3570 Ivy Bridge set for about 1299, much better than the AlienWare by far, and it has a much nicer Gpu [nicer than the one I'm getting]
So it's better than Alein Ware,
SO the point is, at the most exetreme my bare bones is a $750 pc that I could have paid around $1200 for. Hopefully my mom will get off my tail now -.-
Lastly, my step dad has Silver Thermal Paste [in fact I think he;s got the stuff you recommneded as it looks farmillar]
My chat with teh Dell guy was enjoyable, he's knew a good bit