I've been lurking on this forum for about a month now in preparation for my new build. I think that I'm finally ready to take the plunge.
What I'll be doing with my PC
Gaming: This is the absolute most important thing for me. Although this PC will be used for a handful of other things, gaming is the #1 priority by far.
Media Playback: This is probably the next most important thing for me. I will be using this computer to play movies on my HDTV, either through streaming or a direct connection. Most importantly, I'm looking for something that can handle high definition movies flawlessly.
Video Editing: I will by no means be doing anything professionally. Instead, I'll be doing the occasional "frag movie" featuring game footage. Please take this into consideration, but don't let it sway your recommendations drastically as this is pretty low on my list.
Mapping: I enjoy creating maps for my favorite multiplayer games. This isn't too demanding on a system from my personal experience, but it's just something else to keep in mind.
With all that said, these are the parts I already have or have decided to purchase at this point based on all of my research:
I was torn between several cases for the longest time including primarily the CM Stacker 830 and 832, the Thermaltake Armor, and the Antec 900. In the end, I chose the Stacker 832. I really don't care too much for flashy looks such as side windows and tons of LED lights. The Stacker 832 provided the simplicity I was looking for while also giving me tons of room and great cooling options. I also love the removable motherboard tray, as it seems like it will make assembly much easier for a novice like me. The things that sealed the deal for me were the $60 MIR and $15 Newegg promo code which brought the price down to $95 with free shipping, making it just as affordable as the Thermaltake and Antec cases I was considering.
I chose this motherboard due to it being one of the most highly recommended motherboards on this forum. I don't plan on going SLI yet, so it seems to fit my needs nicely. However, I have also seen several other motherboards recommended highly on this forum, so I am still open for suggestions. Please keep in mind that I do plan on pushing my system to its limits as far as overclocking, so I would like a motherboard that will aid me in this department.
I am still up in the air on this decision. Provided that most games today are just starting to utilize two cores, much less four, and the fact that the E6850 will simply provide the higher clock speeds at the same price, I feel myself leaning slightly towards the E6850. However, I don't want to be left in the dust should quad core games just happen to start flooding the market in the coming year.
The games that will be played most on my system will be Call of Duty 4 and Team Fortress 2, with a little Unreal Tournament 3 and Counter-Strike: Source on the side. Crysis really isn't on my radar...I'd like a system that can handle it nicely, but I'm more into hardcore multiplayer gaming as opposed to singleplayer games driven by eye candy.
Therefore, taking today's games into consideration, I think I would be better off going with the E6850 now and upgrading to a quad core processor in six months to a year when both the software support is vaster and the quad core hardware is more mature and priced more reasonably at higher clock speeds. Does this sound like the right choice?
I feel pretty settled on this decision. For me, it was between the 8800 GT and the newer 8800 GTS. I've heard nothing but good things about this card. From the benchmarks I've seen, it outperforms the 8800 GT at stock speeds in nearly every aspect. Sure, it is around $70 more expensive, but from what I understand it has much better stock cooling compared to the 8800 GT, which should increase its lead over the 8800 GT even more once both have been overclocked to their max speeds.
The onboard audio should be just fine for me. I use a headset exclusively while gaming, so I really couldn't care less about having an amazing sound card.
PC Power & Cooling seems to be one of the most trusted names in power supplies around here. I was a little confused about this model in particular...according to the tiered PSU listing, the PCP&C Silencer > 610 is Tier 1, while the PCP&C Silencer < 610 is Tier 2. I'm not sure where a PCP&C Silencer of exactly 610 falls. Either way, I don't think I can go wrong with this particular model, but I am still open for suggestions that might shave a few dollars off without sacrificing too much quality.
I've decided to go with 4 GB of RAM since it is so affordable these days. I had trouble selecting between brands like G.Skill, Patriot, and OCZ since most are rated fairly even and priced pretty comparably. In the end, I went with G.Skill since I have heard many good things about their customer service. Once again, I would still love as much feedback as possible, though.
At first, I was tempted to go the route of running a Raptor for the operating system and program files and a second drive for general storage. After looking at some benchmarks, though, it seems like Raptors don't hold as much of an edge as they used to. Therefore, I think I'm going to go with a single drive. I'm looking for at least 500 GB. Does this WD drive look like it will suit my needs?
I know that the Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme is pretty much considered to be the king of coolers right now, but given its price and lack of a fan, it just seems like the Tuniq 120 would give much more bang for the buck. From what I've seen in benchmarks, the Tuniq doesn't trail very far behind the Thermalright anyway.
My only real concern is whether I'll have any problems with fitting the Tuniq into my case. I know that the Stacker 832 is humongous, but I've heard of people having problems fitting coolers under the top left fan mount on the side panel. I don't think it will be a huge issue though since each fan mount apparently comes out pretty easily.
Optical Drive: No idea...
This is the one thing I'm completely lost on. Most drives seem to be pretty identical, so I don't even know where to start. Please advise...
I decided to go with Home Premium because of the built in media center capabilities. Would it be worth it to spend the extra $70 to upgrade to Ultimate?
Networking: No idea...
I need something to connect to my wireless network, whether it be a USB adapter or internal card. I'm completely open to suggestions for this.
Total before MIR and S&H: Approx. $1,350
I'm sorry for writing such a freakin' novel, but this is obviously very important to me. I would like to keep the total under $1,500 if possible, so try to keep that in mind. I already have a monitor, mouse, and keyboard, so don't worry about those. If there is anything extra I might need, please let me know.
I appreciate all the help anyone can give me. Thanks.
Don't change a thing. I think you have done your homework and analyzed things well.
For the dvd drive, I agree with silverion77 on the samsung 203B. It is a sata drive which has worked well for me and is very quiet.
The mobo will have a 1000gbit lan port already. Normally you would connect that to a wireless router that has 4 lan ports, and a port for a cable modem or such.
Since the P5K-E and P5K-E WiFi version are priced the same right now, I guess I could just go with the latter and not have to worry about buying a network adapter separately, eh? Sounds good to me...
Anyone else have any suggestions? I'd especially like to hear some feedback on the RAM, hard drive, and PSU if possible.
EDIT: I guess we posted at the same time, geofelt. My wireless network is already set up, but the router is in a separate room which is why I'll need the wireless adapter. It looks like the P5K-E WiFi version will take care of that, though. Thanks for your help.
I think if your getting the Asus board the one with wi-fi is the same price. They BOTH have on board ethernet adapters. I personally am getting the wi-fi version because I'll be using the wireless connection for the build. If your getting a board without wireless I wouldn't suggest USB. You might want to consider the Corsair 620 psu. Goog deal at Buy.com, but there's nothing wrong with the one you chose, Just think this might be a little less $$. Good luck
The Emp is back to spreading the knowledge in New system forums again! If I were you, I'd change the Arctic Silver 5 for either Arctic Silver Ceramique or Shin-Etsu X23 which were tested alongside with the Arctic Silver 5 and proved to be more efficient after the burn-in time had passed.
Other than that my assessment of your system is............. Don't change a damn thing about it. Good luck with it!