I am currently looking to build a new PC for Crysis and beyond gaming. I am well aware that nothing is "future proof", nor do I expect it to be. I am going to include the price and where I would be buying the part from just in case anyone could tell me where the part could be purchased cheaper relative to the additional shipping.
With this build I have several expectations. (please feel free to tell me if they are impossible). I would like to overclock my CPU to between 3.2 -3.4 ghz on air using the Tuniq CPU cooler. I know this will lessen the lifespan of the CPU, but at $300 a pop it doesn't really matter to me. Also, should I stick with the 800mhz PC 6400 ram or would I be able to increase performance with PC 8500 1066mhz. Ideally I would like to take the fullest advantage of my CPU/Ram/Bus Speed @ 1333. The two 8800gt are running at 700mhz, but I wasn't sure if I should go for the 650mhz or the 600mhz models that Newegg also has instead. I would like to run all my games (including Crysis @ Max) at 1080p which the Planar lcd monitor is capable of. Lastly, is it worth it to get a sound card I heard that with Vista it is a waste... is this true or have I been grossly misinformed? I am sure I am rambling on too much. Let me know what you guys thing.
Looks like a rockin' build. I would suggest dropping the soundcard for now and putting the money into a third hard drive. Evaluate the onboard sound and if you're not satisfied you can always drop in a new sound card later. I assume you're going to run the pair of raptors in RAID. A 500+ GB secondary storage drive would go nicely, leaving the high performance of the raptors for your OS and apps/games installs.
It might just be me, but it seems like prices for parts, graphics cards especially, have been ramping up in anticipation of the holiday season. When x1950pro cards have been costing as much as $200 this month, you can bet other cards are seeing the same type of inflation. My advice would be to wait until the holiday season is over. Now isn't such a great time to be buying computer parts for a custom build. I've heard rumors, even, that 8800GTs will be going for as little as $200 at the beginning of next year. That could save you $260, or the price of a sound card and a decent set of speakers.
Drop the X-Fi, it doesn't play nice with Vista. HT Omega or Auzentech cards would be better on Vista. Why not just try the onboard audio for a month or two, and in the meantime find a sound card, just in case you decide onboard won't do.
Drop the Raptors, get WD7500AAKS disks instead. About the same price and speed, 5 times the capacity, quieter.
At large resolutions in Crysis with the eye candy maxed the 8800GT is no longer that great, and the GTX is the only card that still does well. If you can afford 8800GTX cards instead you'd be happier in the long term. Maybe get one now and another later. Or wait until the G92 8800GTS is out, it will basically be the same as 8800GTX but at 65nm. Also, 8800GT SLI means a lot of heat and noise. The GTX doesn't have this problem because it has dual-slot coolers.
i got my Q6600 from clubit. Its a G0 stepping for sure (its stated), unlike newegg which does not state which stepping you will get. You can get the OEM version, which is what i did, for $270 from club it.
Seriously drop those raptors, they are overpriced and can't compare to the AAKS HDs in terms of performace and price.
Also what aevm said, the X-Fi sound cards from Creative Labs does not work with Vista. Crackles fizzz booom type of thing. There are no drivers to fix this, it has been what, a year? I doubt there will be any drivers.
Saving some money here and there, I suggest you get the Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme. It performs better than the Tuniq Tower 120, but you may need to lap it.
As for those 8800GT, getting the 700mhz may or may not be worth it. Many people like to overclock them by themselves, and I believe a 600mhz one should be able reach ~720mhz.
I agree with everyone else who suggested a HD replacement. For the price of two raptors you could go with one 1K gig drive, which will rival a raptor in almost every benchmark plus have a huge increase in capacity. Getting a pair of 750G drives and doing RAID 0 would also net you nearly the same performance along with 5x capacity.
you should be able to find a Q6600 G0 for less than the one you've posted. look around a bit more.
And yes, the Thermaltake Ultra 120 extreme is a MUST.
Windows caps RAM usage at 2 gigs for alot of applications for backwards compatibility (older programs go nuts for some reason when they're given more resources than their preset maximum, something like that...) but 4gigs would be nice provided you're running the 64-bit version of vista. otherwise stick with a 2x1GB config.
personally i would wait for a new high end graphics card to be released which should be within 2 months. Also i wouldnt bother with 2 western digital drives. Just go for the single and then add a 500 or 750 gig western digital storage drive for all that music or videos etc.
nice choice on the monitor btw i read about that one
i think ocing a q6600 to 3.4 is unreasonable, you may be able to hit 3.2 and be ok. i would personally stop at 3ghz.
but yea the main thing is probably waiting a couple months for a new high end gpu from nvidia