So the setup I'm looking at would be Q6600 based (I like mutli-tasking). I'm open to safe overclocks, but I don't have loads of time to pour into trying/testing extreme oc setups, so I think the price performance of the Q6600 is a good starting point. From the future proofing standpoint I am thinking of going with a x38 based motherboard. From this link http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/250927-31-gaming-buil... I see that they are recommending a P35 based mobo from the standpoint that you will never reach the potential of the x38 board. I wonder if this would limit further processor upgrades (i.e. QX series processors)?
Memory wise, I am going for 8GB of DDR2-8500, for a Vista x64 setup. Will this board support the Kingston memory?
From the video side I am thinking a 3870 based card, from the price performance standpoint, but also to allow for a Crossfire upgrade path when warranted (Crysis?). Right now I play World or Warcraft, and Call of Duty 4, so i think the single 3870 setup will have enough horsepower, even at high quality settings.
Case, cooling, and PSU are tailored for reliable power under load, heat dissipation, and low noise. Any comments about the expected noise levels are appreciated, along with thoughts on the level of overkill; I've designed this part of the system for a 3 year lifecycle, based on the future upgrades mentioned above, but have I overdone it?
If you can afford a 3870X2 instead of a 3870 go for it.
You don't really need DDR2-1066 if you're not after a major overclock. DDR2-800 could save you some cash and you lose nothing.
Same for the Xigmatek, it's excellent but not really needed for a mild overclock.
I love the P182, but it's not the best choice for something with two video cards. How about a full-tower instead? CoolerMaster Stacker, Thermaltake Armor for example.
RAID - don't bother. You won't get much benefit in games. Besides, you only picked one disk. RAID 0 needs two disks and is bad for data safety, and smarter types of RAID need 3 or more disks.
You could save about $50 on the motherboard by going P5E. It will reach 400MHz stock. That puts a Q6600 at 3.6GHz.
You can also save some money on the RAM.
Unless you decide to go above 450MHz FSB quality DDR2 800MHz RAM will do just fine (Corsair, Geil, Mushkin, Kingston,...).
EDIT : 1066MHz RAM would be needed to run native FSB above 1800MHz (450MHzx4). That would put a Q6600 at 4.0GHz+.
At that point it will likely melt during the hot summer months.
The ASUS HD3870 is the most expensive one in local shops about ($40 more than Sapphire or Gigabyte) so recheck the price you might get a cheaper one.
All right, buy the Xigmatek, it makes sense for 3.4 GHz. I thought we were talking under 3 GHz here.
The P182 is fine for two HD 3870 cards (they are 9" long and there's enough room for them). If you get a HD 3870X2 instead of the two HD 3870, you get a chance to add another card later, but that card is 10.5" long and it interferes with the upper hard disk cage in the P182. If you get a single HD 3870 now and later add a newer ATI card, that card may also be 10.5" long or more. The way I see it, cards keep growing, even if the transistors get smaller. This is all probably OK, especially if you don't need a lot of hard drives. You can just use the lower cage.
All right, I retract my objections to the P182. I'm just annoyed because I wanted one myself but couldn't fit an 8800GTX and 5 hard disks in it so I ended up paying $200 more for the TJ-09. You don't have to do the same, fortunately.
I just wanted to mention there are two Silencer 750W models. Get the one labeled Crossfire Edition. It has 6/8-pin PCI-E connectors rather than fixed 6-pin, and that's good for ATI's high-end cards.
Q9300 is a strange chip. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone at it's current $285 pricepoint. Make it a $190 pickup and I'd get one myself. As it stands. The Q6600/Q6700 both own it in price/performance aspects. The price difference makes it better to buy a good aftermarket cooler for a Q6600/Q6700.
Aside from that the top potential overclock for a Q9300 is only 3.6GHz (480MHz FSB).
Case, cooling, and PSU are tailored for reliable power under load, heat dissipation, and low noise. Any comments about the expected noise levels are appreciated, along with thoughts on the level of overkill;
I have read several respected reviews that say the PC Power and Cooling Silencer PSU's are not that silent. They are more silent than PC Power's standard units, but still noticeably louder than quiet PSU's like Corsair CMPSU and Seasonic. However I don't have one - can any users comment?
^In a very quiet environment (like running 4 Scythe SFF21F @ 1200rpm) I hear coil whine (motherboard and graphics card) over the Corsair PSU.
I also hear it spinning very slowly at times (not enough load I guess). Silencers (from what I've read in reviews) only get "loud" when the 80mm rear fan spins up (hot ambient). In a good silent case like P182 both would be close to inaudiable.