New system, opinions please

So I believe the time is right for me to build a new system, as my old one is having trouble keeping up with newer games at the graphics settings I want. My expectation for this system is the ability to play the latest games and games coming out in the near future with a good (like 30+) FPS at 1680x1050 resolution and something like 4xAA 8xAF, with an upgraded video card if required, but no major overhaul. I don't have any specific budget requirements, only that it is "reasonable", so in most cases I'll pick the highest product before the price jumps by a huge margin to the extreme models. With that in mind here is what I've put together so far:

Case: Antec 1200
Mobo: eVGA nForce 790I Ultra (SLI to leave room for extra video cards in the future)
Video Card: eVGA GeForce 9800GTX SSC (i'm hoping the 9900GTX comes out in july as planned at which point I can use eVGA's Step-Up feature to upgrade)
VGA Cooler: depends if the Arctic Cooling Accelero Extreme 9800 will be compatible with the 9900GTX, not sure how I can find out
CPU: Core 2 Duo E8500
CPU Cooler: Thermalright IFX-14 + a 120mm fan (any recommendations?)
Memory: OCZ Platinum 2x1gb DDR3-1333 7-7-7-20
Sound Card: Auzentech X-FI Prelude
PSU: PC Power & Cooling Turbo Cool 860W

For hard drives I currently run a couple of Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 (i think its .9) 320gb drives in raid 0, which is plenty of storage for my needs at the moment and I don't think there would be any real performance increase if I got newer drives but I could be wrong

My old system also has CD RW and DVD RW drives which should hold me over until games start getting released on blu-ray which probably won't be very soon

As far as overclocking goes, I'm not an experienced overclocker but I believe the nvidia drivers have some kind of tuning application that will overclock your entire system while keeping it stable, but I'll have to read more into my options.
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More about system opinions please
  1. Well I'm now reading that the back plate of the IFX-14 interferes with 790i Ultra motherboards, so I guess that combo is out of the question

    Now I'm thinking of just running with one beast of a card and switching to an x48 motherboard, which according to newegg narrows my search down to:

    Asus P5E3 Premium
    Gigabyte GA-X48T-DQ6
    MSI X48 Platinum
    Intel BOXDX48BT2

    or maybe an x38 motherboard
  2. I believe 7200.9 drives don't have perpendicular recording. Upgrading to 7200.11 or WD6400AAKS should in fact bring some real performance increases. Since the HDD is often the bottleneck, this might be important.

    Some good combinations you should consider:

    1. eVGA 780i, 2x2GB DDR2, 9800GTX.
    2. X38 mobo (Asus P5E, GA-X38-DS4, aBit IX38 QuadGT), 2x2GB DDR2, HD 3870X2.

    This way you can add one or two more 9800GTX cards, or another 3870X2. I wouldn't get X38+nVidia card, that can't be expanded to multi-GPU.
  3. looks like a great system... the psu is way more than u need tho, with the spec youve listed i would use a ~400w psu, taking into acount you want to sli in the future and maybe an overclock ~600w will be more than enough.

    i always tell people that they have gone for a psu thats too big and get a thousnad ppl trying to tell me im wrong... so before any one trys to correct me, read the following links

    if you look at any review which has power consumption measurements of a high end system you will realise that most high end systems only NEED AT MOST 500w... add 100w for peace of mind and overclocking and youve got a balanced psu for a system like yours...

    also ive read that the 9800gtx isnt as good as it should be. im not really up to date with news on graphics cards right now but im just saying it might be worth looking at a few reviews, 'cos ive only scanned over one review and they werent impressed. the review may just be an odd one out though ( its the only one ive read)
  4. Well the main reason I went with a 9800GTX over an ATI is like i mentioned in my first post, the 9900GTX which is scheduled to come out in July which should be a noticable improvement since it's based on a newer chip rather than the 9800GTX which was based on the same G92 chip as the 8800GT.

    and also I would prefer to use DDR3 ram, I'll have to see how it does compared to DDR2 taking into consideration factors like overclocking etc.

    At the moment I think I'm leaning towards staying with the 790i Ultra motherboard and finding a new heatsink
  5. A different heat sink will do the job with no trouble. The Xigmatek HDT-S1283 is a very good performer, and easy to install. No compatibility trouble at all.

    I think you're going above what you need for the system by getting the latest parts. The performance gain vs. cost just isn't reasonable. Going X38 with a single high-end graphics card is all you will need.

    A lot of the reason to go with a DDR2 board is that the new intel chips will be coming out, and will not be compatible with the current 775 boards. Going with DDR3 won't make sense until the cost comes down, and by the time that happens, it will be time for a full system upgrade anyway.

    That being said, if you still plan on latest and greatest, I still say stick with X48. SLI just isn't worth it, and by the time you want to put a new card in, the current single card solution will be superior to the SLI setup with your older cards.
  6. OK with the recent posts in mind here's the latest revision:

    Case: Antec 1200
    Mobo: Asus Rampage Formula x48
    Video Card: eVGA GeForce 9800GTX SSC
    VGA Cooler: depends if the Arctic Cooling Accelero Extreme 9800 will be compatible with the 9900GTX, not sure how I can find out
    CPU: Core 2 Duo E8500
    CPU Cooler: Thermalright IFX-14 + a 120mm fan
    Memory: G.SKILL or Corsair Dominator 2x2gb DDR2 1066 5-5-5-15 (not sure which one to choose, both are around the same price where I buy my stuff and both get great reviews)
    Sound Card: Auzentech X-FI Prelude
    PSU: OCZ GameXStream 600W (this one's up in the air too but it seems to get good reviews, nowhere I can really compare PSUs though)
  7. You could save $170 by going with a GA-EP35-DS3R instead of the X48. What are you getting from the Asus Rampage Formula that isn't in the DS3R and it's worth so much?

    The IFX-14 is overkill, especially if you're only getting a dual-core. Oh well, you've been told about the Xigmatek already.

    The GameXStream 600W is not a bad PSU. Not top quality but good. I'm just surprised you're getting everything expensive and overkill and then skimping on the PSU. At least get the 700W version, it's $10 cheaper than the 600W version at newegg right now if you include shipping and rebates.
  8. Thanks for for your response, basically I would prefer the latest chipset to have the latest features etc, whatever they may be. Also I do intend on overclocking, and I hear the Rampage Formula is great with that.

    Keep in mind the cost is not really a big issue, this system fits well within the "soft cap" I set for it which was $2500 with shipping and taxes, at the moment I believe it's around $1850 with taxes where I buy my stuff at Oh yeah I'm also Canadian so I can't do newegg

    Overkill is good, it leaves room for improvement in the future, the IFX-14 is the best air cooler I've seen and can also be among the quietest if you use the right fan.

    About the PSU, I realize it's not the greatest, but it's hard to find a good comparison among PSUs. On further research, the BFG ES-800 power supply appears to be the best quiet PSU with high efficiency across the board, and so replaces the OCZ one
  9. Check this out:

    The GameXStream is included as "Tier 2 Brands - Top Quality components With Top Notch Stability - For Those With Price/Availability Issues With Tier 1". The BFG goes under "Tier 4 - Not Recommend With Tier 3 In same Price/Wattage Range".

    I'd pick one of these:

    PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750 Quad CrossFire 750W ATX V2.2 EPS12 24PIN Active PFC Power Supply Red (S75CF)

    Corsair TX750W 750W ATX 12V 60A 24PIN ATX Power Supply Active PFC 120MM Fan

    The first one is Anandtech's best PSU of 2007, but the other one is very good too and $50 less.
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