I've been doing the research for a year now, reading all the reviews I can find and waiting patiently for the latest tech to come out (waited until reviews of ATI's 3800's were published). Finally, I've ordered it yesterday morning, and I'm hoping it all arrives by Monday, with the video card making it here a few days following the bulk of it. This is my first homemade build, before this I've been using a modified Dell 8400 (Intel P4, 7600GT, 2GB Ram), so I'm really excited about this.
I have a friend to help me build it to, in case anything goes weird.
I expect to use this for moderate gaming, with the most demanding game being at least Oblivion, and possibly Crysis. So you know I'm not going to cheap out much on this one. I'm installing my legal copy of Windows XP Professional SP2 on this machine; I'm not sure if I'm going to upgrade to Vista, but I suspect I will eventually (not a fan of DRM).
So here are the components I selected, did I make good choices?
I wanted to get a mobo that supports PCI Express 2.0 expansion ports, but it would either need to support SLI (I don't plan on getting ATI cards), or have just one PCI Express 2.0 slot... which is a board I haven't been able to find yet. So, I'm spending a little less money in this area on a board that supports everything else I'm looking for (SATAII, Core 2 Duo, etc), until my next upgrade which would be that first board I'm looking for.
This is the one item I wasn't able to find many reviews on, there are only 2 reviews in the Newegg page alone, too. But I've read much on the success of the Core 2 Duo line and I believe it's still a safe purchase.
I wanted a 2.4GHz stock clock for the processor, but I'm a little concerned with the low FSB (800MHz). Should I be?
Probably the best buy in my whole build, this memory kit didn't even cost me $50. I've been using G. Skill on my modded 8400, and I haven't had any problems yet. I decided on these over a Patriot kit, anyone disagree on the choice?
I'll admit, I did jump on this as soon as I saw it since they are becoming harder and harder to find by the day. I'm using an EVGA 7600GT right now and I'm not dissapointed, and this product comes with a lifetime warranty, so I feel safe.
My ideal build would've been one where I wouldn't have to upgrade the critical components often, like this video card. Since I made this choice, that list now goes down to only the motherboard, processor, and memory. I expect that I won't change those until at the earliest two years down the road, but I want to try and extend that as long as I can.
It's certified at SLIZone.com to run two 8800GTS' in SLI, which was what I was originally looking for early this year. Since 8800GT's have shown in tests to draw less power than the GTS', I think I'm still in the safe.
I don't think you'll be disappointed when you get it built. The only thing I think I would have done differently would be the CPU, but again, I don't think you'll be disappointed as long as it doesn't bottleneck the 8800GT. The only other thing, and I believe that this is just personal preference, I would have gone for a monitor with a faster response time and higher contrast ratio even if budget required the screen be a bit smaller (quality over quantity sort of thing) but over all, IMO, very good decisions and excellent price/performance.