I'm going to browse through all of the information that you just gave me in a minute, but first I'll give you the specifics on what I'm trying to create.
Ideally I don't want to spend any more than $600, but if I absolutely have to I'd be willing to spend a little bit over that mark; at the most, $700 (yes, I live in the U.S.A.)
When I say I want to play video games on maxed out settings, I mean that I want to play the games I like with quality graphics (one of the reasons I'm switching over to PC gaming, the graphics are so much better on PC as opposed to console) and no lag or frame rate issues. It doesn't have to be literally on maxed out settings, but I want to be able to play a game with definitive visual improvement.
The games I'm interested in are pretty common and mainstream. Your standard FPS's, Elder Scrolls games, Dark Souls, Borderlands, etc. Essentially, I want to be able to play anything that's available on Steam on my PC with quality settings and have no issues. You think that's possible with a $600 budget?
I hope that's enough information, please feel free to ask for more if I wasn't specific enough. You've already been a tremendous help for me, and if you don't mind I'll probably shoot you a message over the next month or two while trying to build this behemoth (it may seem easy to you, but from my viewpoint, this seems almost impossible haha).