New Game/Photoshop/3D Modeling Rig

So it has been some time since I built my last computer. I have been trying to research for weeks now and still feel unsettled on some things. Okay everything...

Budget: $1,000-2,000
Purpose: Graphic/Web Design (Photoshop), Gaming, 3D Modeling (Never had a computer powerful enough to learn)
Want: Something powerful enough to handle 2-3 monitor gaming (racing/flight sims), and of coarse Crysis ;), something that will handle future games, system upgrade ability for future (I don't want to pay a premium for a system that I will have to replace everything to upgrade, I might as well buy low/midrange and buy two $1k PCs every 2 years rather than a $2k PC every 4 years) Also, if I can spend less now I might be able to use the saved money for a LCD HDTV (would be awesome!). I do not know the first thing to overclocking but I have friends that should be able to offer good guidance with that. I would like to order and build now but could wait 1 to 2 months if something worth waiting for is coming.

MONITORS: Two X2Gen 22" 1680x1050 (HAVE) / Future Upgrade of 3rd Main Monitor (SAMSUNG 226BW, bad color?)
CASE: <Antec P182 Gun Metal Black )or( Cooler Master Cosmos 1000 )or( Other?>
PSU: Ultra X3 1000w PSU (HAVE)
CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 G0 Stepping Kentsfield 2.40GHz (TO BUY)
RAM: <I am not sure if 4G vs 8G is worth having to buy 64bit XP or Vista :{ , any issues with 64bit OS?>
VIDEO: (2x) EVGA GeForce 8800GTS (G92) 512MB in SLI (TO BUY)
SOUND: On Board
HDD: <Raid 0 with around 500GB>
OPTICAL: SAMSUNG 20X DVD±R DVD Burner w/ LightScribe SH-S203N (TO BUY)

THANKS FOR ALL THE INPUT! I really, genuinely appreciate it!
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  1. Well, you're in a bit of trouble.

    System upgradability comes at a cost. With your price range, a intel processor is heavily recommended, but all motherboards die at the end of 2008 when Nehalem comes out, it will requires a new socket and chipset. So that idea just went out the door, Phenom is also lacking heavily and not recommended. So you have to choose either way. Personally, Go with a intel based machine, better for your uses, even though penryn is the last stop for upgrading, you can OC and get a LOT for your money if you plan to do so.

    Regarding monitor, If color accuracy is important for you, you'll want a IPS based panel monitor since you stated web design. But if your web/graphic projects aren't extremely important (as a business), than you can get by with a PVA panel. This is what I'd put together for your rig..

    Regarding waiting, it's a good idea, penryn will be out, also the rumor is for February that the 9800 series will be released. This will be HEAVY for gaming, If you were to build today, I would recommend this.

    cpu -

    mobo -


    memory -

    hd's -

    Heatsink -

    thermal compound -

    optical -

    Sound card -

    case -

    Fans -

    video card -

    Total = 1,644 before tax and shipping.

    With tax and shipping, it'll be around 1,830 or so.

    Now, an explanation..CPU for obvious reasons, q6600 is a great processor that OC quite far. Amazing performance for the money. Regarding the mobo, I chose it because is has a 1394 firewire just incase you plan to use it for video, If you don't, you can nab this instead.

    If you don't plan to raid, you can nab this even to make it cheaper.

    you'll have to get the mobo above from somewhere else though, it keeps selling out fast thanks to the amazing value.

    Those memory modules use Micron D9HNL chips, 2x2 gb's are harder in terms of density and quality IC's but at least they use micron. I chose the 2x2 since 4x1 has issues at times for overclocking. You can also nab two of those if you wanted for 8 gigs of ram, If you want the 4x1 flavor, this would do well. They are mostly D9GMH and D9GKX ic's, best you can get for OC'ing

    I nabbed a raptor to help out on the workstation performance, as well as gaming. It's a long debate, but it's still a factor that raptors are much faster in IO and access times, which means faster file pick ups (very beneficial to MMO's), and overall a great workstation drive. The 500 gb seagate for reliability and storage.

    You could probably get the heatsink from somewhere else for slightly cheaper, could knock off around 10-20 bucks from somewhere else. But when you order everything from newegg, the shipping is actually quite cheap. Even if it's an entire rig, it ends up being like 20-40 bucks, which is great considering the size of everything.

    Regarding the fans, only get those if you plan to replace the case fans also, 4 of them would bring them down to 13 a piece, one for the heatsink, and two to replace the ones in the case. Great blend of cfm and low noise. If you want to stick with stock cooling, just pick up the fan from somewhere else for around 10-14 bucks.

    Optical drive, if you want another, nab it, retail is most likely more worth it since you get software with it. Regarding the soundcard, Creative licensed out their X-FI chip to Auzentech, it uses more high quality components. Totally top notch, planning to pick one up for my rig, I'm not sure if audio matters to you, to me it's extremely important. If it isn't, you can drop it and just go with onboard, or nab a x-fi gamer from creative if you wish.

    Video card, 8800 GT from xfx, this should handle your two monitors fine, if you want a 3rd monitor, you'll have to either get a board that has two pci-e 16x slots and run them separately, or you can nab a cheap PCI graphics card that can handle an additional monitor, choice is yours. Why XFX?, double lifetime warranty, if you sell it, the buyer gets the warranty also, so you can sell it quickly on ebay and get more value for it even though it's used. It helps in upgrading in the future, helps more if it's a high end though, but still great. Also a lax mod/oc warranty. Personally, I find them better than EVGA, but EVGA might be useful with the step up considering the rumors about the February launch of the 9800 from nvidia.


    I left the OS out so you can choose, 4gb of memory would require a 64bit os though. Modify the list as you please, I was considering going SLI/Crossfire for your list, but if you plan to wait for the 9800, it wouldn't be necessary as a 9800 would be the way to go. If you plan to buy now, crossfire or SLI is a possibility, but we'd have to nab a x38 board or a nvidia chipset board for that. All depends on you waiting or buying now. Penryn will be beneficial to use since the SSE4 instruction set can decrease encoding time for certain codecs. I'm waiting for my new rig for Feb/March...Waiting for penryn and 9800.

    Choice is yours, that's all that comes to mind right now. There are numerous things you can degrade if you want. Sorry if the thread has some grammar errors, too lazy to re-read everything. If you have any questions ask. If you want to buy now and get SLI, I can re-modify the rig to stay within budget, just ask away ^_^.
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