Advice needed: Phenom 9850 Gaming Rig

I am seeking some advice on what parts I should go for. My premise is simple.

I want.
1) To use the Phenom 9850
2) Utilize crossfire
3) Play games (starting with AoC) on a 42inch HD plasma television (as the pc monitor, may go for dual monitor set up later)
4) Use raid 0 (this is not my main PC, so I do not care if my data gets fragged etc)

System Specs so far:

Case: XCLIO A380BK
Phenom 9850 black edition
2X 500GB Seagate SATAII 300, 7200RPM 16mb cache
Sound Card: Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Platinum Audio Card (refurb from creative)
Speakers: Logitech G51 155 RMS 5.1 Surround Sound Speakers

Parts I still need to acquire/pickout:
ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2 Graphics card -- (haven't decided which make to go with)
2X2GB Memory, ddr2 @ 1066
The Right Motherboard
The right cooling system for the phenom that fits on the motherboard
Whatever cd/dvd drive I go for

Future Capabilities:
The possibility of expanding for Dual 3870X2's
1 more HDD for Raid, and 1 more for storage
2x2GB more (for when windows vista 64 gets on track)
Dual monitor support

What I need from the folks out there are simple. First I would like help picking out the parts. In particular the motherboard, and the memory that works fine with it. Compatability is key, as it must work with crossfire, the phenom processor, and have the expansion capabilities to grow with the PC. Overclocking capabilities are a plus. A cooling system that fits on the motherboard would be nice as well.

Currently I am eyeballing: the JetWay HA04-Extreme AM2+/AM2 AMD 790FX ATX AMD Motherboard
My main concern is 1 x PCI Express x16@16-lane for the card. It has 2 8-lane's, but should I be greedy and demand 2X16-lanes? Will it impact performance?

Are there other options as well that would meet my specifications?

Should I buy extra fans for the case? Would some sort of hard drive cooling system help with potential raid failure? If so any suggestions?
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  1. A couple suggestions for you, as I will be building a simialr system this summer.
    If I were you, I would go for the cheapest 3870X2 I could find, unless A) heat is an issue on the card and B) you have plenty of money to kill. And the 8x PCIe lane should hardly affect performance at all, cards today can't use all that bandwidth.
    A comment on your memory, you can save money if you buy DDR2 800 with timings rated at 4-4-4-12, it should be able to achieve that 1066 speed easily if you simply adjust the timings to 5-5-5-15.
    I was eyeballing that jetway motherboard you are looking at too. My biggest concern is the size of that heatsink on the board, and being able to fit a cooler. If I was to buy a cooler it would be either a Xigmatek HDT-S1283 120mm, or the cooler master Hyper TX-2. The Xigmatek provides excellent cooling at a low price of $35, while the Hyper TX-2 is about $10 cheaper, but also smaller and not quite as good. Still a good cooler though, and size could be an issue with the Xigmatek.
    And for about $150, you could get a nice blu-ray drive for your PC. If you don't want one, you can get a good SATA CD/DVD burner for about $30.

    Thats all I am going to say, good luck with this.

    P.S. If you can wait about a month, AMD should be launching the HD4870, which will be faster than the 3870X2 for a lower price.
  2. Doom turkey thanks for the advice: The 4870 sounds like it might be a good option. I am of the mind to grab a single 3870 (for now) and grab an HD4870 when it comes out. Do you think they (1X 4870 and 1X 3870) would be a good pair for crossfiring? Do you think a single 3870 would be able to perform decently and look good on a 42inch plasma with HDMI? That is a clincher. This might work into my overall plan of having dual monitor support as well.

    Right now blu-ray sounds great, but I do not have a burning desire for it. The price will have to drop a lot more before I am willing to go for a blu-ray.

    On the consumer reviews under the Jetway board, some people mentioned specific cooling units they used that fitted (or barely) fitted. At least it is not a Giga, I have heard about those boards going on fire way too much for my own comfort.

    Thanks for the tips!
  3. I talked to some people and they convinced me 1 16 lane PCI slot is a true limitation. I am going to skip that, and demand a 2nd slot.

    I am going to get a 7900GTX X2 to hold me over until the next ATI card comes out.

    So right now this leaves me with the burning question of the motherboards yet again. Basically it needs to hold the same standards as before, but needs 2X 16 PCI slots.

    Anyone have any good motherboard recommendations?
  4. After much consideration I have decided to settle for: MSI K9A2 Platinum.

    It supports two crossfire cards running at 16X. That is key!
  5. why would you spend money on 7900x2 they suck and dont perform as well as 3870x2 or the new 4800 that are coming out in a couple of days do you research on the 7900x2 they really sucked , tons of driver problems and what not . anyways its your money to waste !!
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