I'm getting back into gaming this summer and recently purchased a Xbox 360 over the next generation console. After watching a few live stream game play on Twitch, I'm not considering to build a gaming PC for two reasons:
1) Windows based Steam games library
2) Live streaming with Open Broadcaster Software (OBS)
My hesitation to build a gaming PC has always been the cost to build and upgrade over the next few (5) years to keep up with system requirements of new game releases. I'm really considering this and want to keep my budget within the $500 - $800 limit, what would you recommend based on current available hardware without breaking the bank.
Note: I did not post this in the PC gaming thread because I wanted an unbiased response, or as best as I could get.
Please be ready to pay $1000 for the desktop proper, not including a monitor. If this is for gaming ONLY, then you're better off getting a PS4 or X1, or sticking with your 360. Unless you just want the joy of having a PC, then sure why not?
I am saying this with no ill intent or cynicism, but if you want to tap that so-called "master race" feeling (i.e. enjoy the sheer power advantage of a desktop PC), then you'll need to spend more and also figure in the cost of a nice monitor (preferably 1440p or even 4K). For under $1000 you will get a decent desktop, but it won't be much more impressive visually than the current consoles, plus it'll have the slightly higher complexities of gaming on PC.
Disregard all of what I said above if you need a PC for gaming and other applications. In that case of course put together a desktop. PC remains the most versatile platform, obviously.
In terms of your build, yes, I agree min 8GB is needed these days. You do not really need an SSD, i'd spend that money on a better CPU or GPU. The i5's are all great for gaming, and a 280 or 760 will handle any current game in 1080 high settings. Never expect a build to "last" more than three years, though.