I've been browsing NewEgg now for about 2 or 3 days and spending a lot of time looking at a bunch of different parts, with the exception of the CPU and GPU, which I was pretty set on from the start. My goal originally was just to build a great PC with the most bang for my buck, but eventually I settled for something that winds up being a bang-for-buck PC that starts somewhat low, but has a lot of room for upgrade and to become nearly a monster.
Here's the list. A * denotes a part that will come after the non-* parts are all put together and the PC is finished and working initially.
There's a chance I'll include the Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro in the initial parts list just so I don't have to switch coolers and reapply thermal paste later.
Also, on a side note, I'm considering taking the E6600 and overclocking it to the speed of an E6700, maybe even an E6800, so it can keep up with the SLI GeForce 8800GTS's and also give me a slight boost overall. If anyone can provide a simple guide for me on how to do that, please do.
Oh and any comments, suggestions for better parts, etc. are appreciated. Just keep in mind that my budget (for now at least) is around 1000 - 1200 USD.
PS - I probably won't actually be ordering a lot of these parts until late July. Any recent price drops or new products I should know about in the next 2 months?
I'll make a few suggestions and YES there are price drops coming that you need to wait for. I'll get into those details in a sec. Here is my first tip. Hold off on SLI and redistrubute that cash spent on a 2nd vid card on either 1) getting a full tower case instead of a midtower and 2) getting a better board. If your going 8800 you'll need a fairly good sized case. These cards are between 9 to 11 inches long and will need room in your case to fit without hitting other parts (in most cases the HDD's) or being very VERY tight. I've seen this many times sometimes with bad results so that is why i always recommend getting a full tower for the room. Mobo wise i'd look at some Asus boards. Skip the 2nd vid card and maybe get a Asus Commando ($209) a GREAT overclocker board with some nice features or the Asus Striker ($330) which is a good 680i SLI board which supports FSB speeds of 1333 (The importance of that will come later).
I'd get a bigger Raptor Drive as well. Maybe its just me but i've seen 36GB drives just get filled up way to fast these days. No idea if your a gamer but if your looking to fill that 36GB drive with just games and your high end programs 36GB will go by pretty quick. I'd look into a 75GB or even the 150GB depending on your use. You can even partition it off and install your OS on about a 10 to 12GB portion and dedicate the rest to your files and such (Windows will boot much faster). If your thinking of doing that on a 36GB then your looking to only really use like 26 to 24GB for your files which, again depending on your use, may not be enough for your needs. If your budget is tight i'd go 75GB or hold off on the 36 till ya can afford to go higher.
DVD wise i'd start looking to ditch the old IDE interface and go look at Sata connecting drives. Instead of using the annoying IDE ribbon you use a sata cable instead. Much better than IDE and i'd say within a year or 2 this may be the new standard for DVD drives. Look at Lite-On or Asus for these kinda drives or just do a NewEgg search for Drives with "Sata" as the interface and see what pops up.
Now onto CPU's. You'll have alot of options. Come Jully 22nd Intel is making way for its new CPUs and cutting prices again. They are releasing three CPU's with 1333 FSB, E6850 3GHz @ $266, E6750 2.66GHz @ $183 and the E6550 2.33GHz @ $163. Quad core's are also coming down. The current Q6600 2.4GHZ chip which is priced at $530 will be cut nearly 50% to $266 (for a Quad core that is CHEAP). This is to make way for the new Q6700 which will be priced at the Q6600's old price of $530. This is also why i suggested relooking at your mobo because now your going to need to look at boards with FSB 1333 support. The Asus Striker Extreme is one. There are other options of course but that is the best one i can think of at this exact time. If your looking for one a lil cheaper then do a search on New Egg and see. So right now your CPU choice just got a bit bigger and better.
Okay, I'll look into a ATX Full Tower and see if I can get one about the same price range or maybe even cheaper than the Mid Tower I picked out.
I'll also look into a SATA Interface DVD Combo Drive.
As for the Mobo and CPUs, I'll take your advice and look for a better board, probably one that has a 1333 FSB and SLI support, and if your prices are correct, then I think I'll wait and get the Q6600. Even though Quad Core may not be that great a boost from Dual Core at the moment, I'm hoping that eventually someone will release technology that can make programs utilize all the cores (like Intel's proposed idea of a small program or BIOS fix that can split up workload). This way, instead of being stuck with Dual Core and only getting, say a 50% boost once this tech hits the market, I'll have Quad Core and get like a 80% boost or something, and all at spending not so much more money that I originally wanted to spend on a CPU.
Also the Raptor drive I'm not going to buy for a while, but yeah I do see your point in the 36GB drive filling fast, so I'll look into a bigger one.
The only thing I'm kinda worried about is that because I'm getting a much better Mobo and a Full Tower, that it'll drive my total price for this thing a little higher than I plan to afford. But we'll wait and see I guess.
Edit - Ok, I found some more Mobos and Cases that could work well.