Ok long story short, I ordered some parts w/o really doing a lot of looking into it. [ noob mistake ] But I will redeem myself! If you see what I have ordered below, take into consideration that the mobo/ram/psu are going into another system as of right now. [building one for my gf]
[[[ MIR = mail-in rebate ]]] [[[ FS = free shipping ]]] - prices are BEFORE mail-in rebates.
Why get a solid state HD? Western Digital 640Gb are very fast and provide much better value per $ O_o That would be one of the first things I'd replace, and then put the extra $200 towards something else..
I'd stay away from nvidia chipset as eklipz was getting at. If you fancy using more than 1 graphics card at some point, go with a P45 motherboard and one 4850 now, then add a second 4850 down the road during a sale. Best performance/$ on the market right now.
I know you said to leave out other components because your heart is set on them, but it just makes more sense in terms of value and future upgradability to go P45 + 4850 (and a second one later).
You could also go with an X48 motherboard, that's more in line with what you'd be spending on the XFX SLI board. If you go X48, get a 4870 graphics card and again buy a second one later to run in Crossfire. I wouldn't Crossfire 4870's on a P45 due to bottlenecking starting to be noticeable (imo, not nearly enough testing has been done on this).
You only need DDR2-1066 if you plan on overclocking past 3.6ghz. DDR2-800 will take the E8400 up to 3.6ghz. Again, you'll probably want an Intel motherboard vs nvidia for overclocking.
If overclocking, you'll need a heatsink like the Xigmatek or OCZ Vendetta 2 (and buy a retention bracket), or the Sunbeam Core Contact heatsink (comes with a bracket).
you can save $20-30 by getting the Coolermaster 690 case, it's very similar to the Antec 900 but I find it more spacious and has better cable management. Add in a couple Scythe SSF21E fans and you're good to go!
You'll need Vista 64 bit if you haven't got it already.
I know you didn't ask for all that but I wasn't sure on what parts you actually already have and what ones you just have your heart set on. Just tryin to save you some bucks and a lotta headaches
Let me clear a lot of this up by stating a few things.
1.) I want to go with nvidia. (whether ATI has better p/p) (no exceptions there)
2.) I would prefer NOT to overclock this system.
I got the SSD because I have over 2TB of external storage. I want faaaaaster than any regular HDD or even my old 10k Raptors in raid-0 can provide. (64GB is more than enough for my OS and games.. I wont have more than 2-3 games on there at any given time)
So when it comes down to it, I would like to have a mobo/ram combo that is perfect for what I have already ordered.
That mobo/ram should have the following -
Atleast 1 or 2 PCI-E 2.0 slots. (might be looking into getting another gtx 260)
1333 FSB Support (to match the cpu)
1066 RAM Support (to match the ram)
1066 w/ low timings
So with those requirements set, I think I have chosen the right components... if any of you can lead me in a better direction it is appreciated. (newegg only)
(please refrain from stating anything other than mobo/ram related)
Okay that's cool, I'll have to let someone else recommend on the nvidia motherboards though since it's been a long time since I've looked at them very closely.
If you don't plan to overclock, then technically you actually don't need more than DDR2-667 to run 1:1 with your E8400. Going up to say DDR2-1066 is basically ONLY going to benefit you if you choose to OC.
Because of what the market is at for price/specs I'd just go with 4-4-4-12 DDR2-800, and that gives you room to OC someday if you choose. OCZ and Corsair are both generally safe bets these days, but again I'll have to let someone with more nvidia chipset experience take over
^ That is a big mistake, stick the P35/45. Yes, I am an Nvidia fanboy. Yes I am also not blind to the measured superiority of Intel chipsets.
Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - $119.99 [$40 MIR & FS]
^ A stylistically dubious case, heavy STEEL, with no slide out tray and a light leaking side-panel and too many fans no matter how quiet they are (fans draw power, get dusty and vibrate and do make noise)
If you plan on staying alive for more than 2 years, get a better case made of aluminum with a slide out tray, with openings for air access, let the PC components do the fan work. All the junk in the case gets taken out sooner rather than later, the case will stay.
This is what I'm running right now. About the same price (before MIR), 2gb more, 4-4-4-12 timings at 2.1v but you'll want to do some checking just to make sure whatever nvidia chipset you settle on will get along with it fine before buying.
You can also do a search on Newegg for "DDR2-800 4gb" to see what other 2x2 kits show up. I'd buy 4gb of 5-5-5-15 before 2gb of 2-2-2-12 for about the same price. Again, probably safest to stick to OCZ and Corsair unless you want to search for compatibility between ram and motherboard.
Ok, and now im adding a second gtx 260. What powersupply would be good for a GTX 260 SLI rig? Please keep it ~$150 ? Remember the PSU will need atleast 4x6 pci-e power connectors... and can someone explain the who "12v rails" thing? Thanks!
I just did a calculation with the power supply calculator with the following setup similar to yours with the components added in to cover anything you might have neglected to mention for example DVD-drives, USB devices, etc and here is what components I used in the calculation:
E8400 wolfdale (no OC), 2 sticks DDR2 RAM, 2x GTX 260 via SLI, 2x SATA HDD, 1x SSD, 2x DVD-RW/DVD+RW Drive, 1x Blu-Ray Internal Drive, 1x PCI NIC, 1x Additional PCI Card, 1x PCI-e x1 card, 2x USB External Devices, 1x Front Bay Card Reader, 4 Cold Cathodes, 2x 120mm LED fans, and 2x 120mm high performance fans.
Well you're looking at a 700W PSU if you want it to last. I actually have this PSU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... and it happens to be on sale at the price I got it at, however I'm on my 2nd unit the first failed after 3 weeks but I think it's a winner and the price can't be beat right now. I'm using it for my upcoming GTX 280 SLI setup.