I'm planning on going with the Asrock X48 Turbo Twins (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157129), which follows the ATX form factor. For video, I'll be getting either a 4850 or a 4870. I won't be going Crossfire right away, but if I do end up taking that route will I need a full-tower case (if so, I'd probably get the Ultra Aluminus)? Or would I be fine with the mid-tower Antec Sonata III (in which case I'd start off with the included 500W PSU, and then upgrade the PSU when I add the second video card)?
I'm also concerned that cooling might be a bigger problem in a mid-tower, but I've never had a two-card setup so I don't really know.
4850s have a single slot design and put their heat back into the case. The antec sonata has pretty poor cooling and air flow. I would not put 2 4850s in a sonata. 2 4870s might be ok as they reject their heat out the back of the case. I have a CoolerMaster 690 that is excellent (replacing a sonata III that I bought for the PSU). I would steer clear of the sonata if you want CF. The PSU would not be enough for CF 4870s (prolly not enough for 4850s) and the case would melt down with 2 4850s.
CPU Cooler, Xigmatek S1283 + Thermalright 775 Bolt thru kit.
I have a CM 690 and it is pretty similar to the 590, the harddrives are turned 90 deg. and the 690 has cable management, top mounted ports and chrome trim.
I don't think the Corsair 620 has the pcie cables for 2x 4870.
The PCPC should just about do it.
Good luck with the $1100 limit and a high end CF / SLI PSU.
I suggest An Antec Sonata III, with a single 4870. Should be sufficiently cool with the GPU exhausting outside the case and will meet your budget. The PSU+CASE for $100 cant be beat.
So I was thinking about this whole Crossfire-in-the-future-someday-when-I-get-the-extra-money thing, and I compared the situation to my current setup... Athlon 64 3000+, an evga 6600GT, and 2gigs of Ram--the RAM being the only upgrade made to the whole system, even though I had bought it three years ago with full intentions of upgrading over the next few years.
And it's tough, but I think I need to be completely honest with myself about the extra expenses involved just to have Crossfire compatibility. Adding that second card probably wouldn't happen for at least 2.5-3 years, and by then there will likely be a single-slot solution better than two 4870s. So in reality, I'd spend at least 200 extra now on a PSU and Mboard just to have compatibility for something I'll possibly never use.
If my budget could stretch just a little higher, I think my best choice (since I don't really upgrade, even if I intend to) would be to just start off with two 4870s in Crossfire. And if my budget can't do that (should know in a few weeks), then I don't see the point in even being Crossfire-ready.
So with that in mind, any pointers on this non-Crossfire build (which could end up being what I go with)?
$125-- Antec Sonata III + 500W PSU (without Xfire, I think this would be plenty)
The motherboard is what I really need help with. Biostar's P43 is supposed to be a great overclocker, but I've heard that the P45 chipset is where it's really at. Assuming a MB cost of about 100, the total for a non-Crossfire system would only be about $935 (adding Crossfire compatibility--even if I would never add that second 4870--would bring the total to at least $1100 no matter what, possibly even higher).