My first (and only) PC build was almost 3 1/2 yrs ago. With a few minor upgrades along the way, it has sufficed me just fine. But the old AGP system ain't gonna cut it much longer. Most of my PC time is spent with gaming.
I have made up my mind that I want to go with a Core 2 Duo 6700 or 6600, and I especially want one of the 8800GTX GPUs. I plan to go with a name brand PSU of at least 700watt, and 2 gigs of DDR 800 RAM. Brand of RAM will probaly depend on the Vendor's list from ASUS.
The only thing I am having a hard time deciding on is the motherboard.
At present I am leaning toward the ASUS Striker Extreme. I have read the reports here on Tom's website of the new 650i motherboards. But the report doesn't really show much if any advantage over the 680i MBs, especially the Striker Extreme.
Now I have never done any overclocking......never felt the need. But it seems like a handy ability to have if one needs to get just a little more "oomphf" out of your system. Especially with the new games like Crysis & Unreal 3 coming out soon.
The overclocking abilities and the supposed "excellent manual" that some reviewers have spoke of, is what is attracting me to the Stiker Extreme. However the price seems extreme also. Do you "get what you pay for", or is the high price just a gimmick to make you think you are getting more?
Mostly gimmick with the some fanciful options. Striker Extreme is the SAME as "regular" 680i boards with a few extra features (LCD readout, blah blah). Waste of money in most people's opinion. You're better off getting a P5N32-SLI PLUS or a vanilla 680i or something along those lines.
Now, the 650i (the MSN P6N-SLI is probably the best of the bunch overall) are extremely similar in abilities of the 680i.....think of them as just the smaller brother. They still overclock like champs, have SLI, etc, etc. Just not the "high end features" of a 680i.
I believe the main difference in overclocking is that the 680i boards will let you unlink your RAM from your CPU. What this does is it lets you overclock the CPU independently from the RAM, thus placing "less stress" on the RAM speed. Nice. HOWEVER, it's not REALLY needed, as most 800 RAM can handle good overclocks.....unless you're looking to go really high, in which case you can just get fast-rated RAM, no big deal. Which means that the 650i is a very capable board that can perform just as well as the much more expensive ones without any noticeable difference.
If you have the money, 680i will do nicely. Looking to save some money, get the 650i for sure. Striker Extreme if you want bragging rights, but people in the know will laugh because they know better