I've been a Mac guy mostly for a while, but I need to build a Windows system to use for gaming and general use. I've built PCs for Windows and UN*X systems, but that has been a few years, so I'm trying to come up to speed on all the latest gear...
TF2, C&C Generals, UT2004/UT3, Spore, Starcraft 2 (future-capable?), maybe a bit of WoW or Cysis as well...
Ideally, I would like to be able to run most of the above (acknowledging this is tougher with Crysis) at a good framerate/high settings at 1920x1200 for lan party and solo play. Starting with one videocard, but possible upgrades include 2nd 4870, Blu-ray drive, more HDs...
Right now you want to play games on high in 1900x1200. Most games only take advantage of two cores and if you look at the benchmarks here you'll see alot of cases where an E8400 will wipe the floor with the 6600. It's going to be a while before the programming tools develop that really take advantage of 4 cores. Also the new wolfdale cores seem to overclock really well. You will loose a few fps if you want to crossfire your 4870 latter if you go with a P45 board rather than one that has two full bandwidth 16x PCI-E 2.0 slots. Still considering your budget that's not too bad. You should also consider that in the mean time your goint to only be using one slot so paying alot of extra money for another full bandwidth 16x slot will go unrewarded until you get that second 4870. If you can spend a little more though then go with a good x38 board instead of an x48 board primarily for budget concerns.
As for the burner, get a lite-on, and get the retail package. The retail package is only a little more and comes with useful things like cables and a copy of Nero. The power supply is fine, and may even hold up if you want to go 3 way crossfire with a 4870 and a 4870X2.
What board would you suggest then because I'm looking at almost the same setup - and one that wouldn't cost too much more. If figure by the time I go to upgrade in 2 yrs, nothing I have will be able to be used in a new gig, so why spend the extra now? The only possibility is that I would crossfire 4850's. So what board will still do me well and not break $200?
So do you think for the next year or so, an e8500 would better suit for games and computing? Because honestly, if that is the case, e8500 would be better. If in a year Quad proccessing was in full force, you'd probably be able to pick up a Q6600 (or even better) for $100 - if it was really needed.
One other question - anyone of thoughts on RAID'in raptors? How much and what does it benefit?
I've already followed mazda6_stealth's suggestion and order the case and psu from Buy.com as it saved me quite a few bucks.
The samsung burner looks good too as I like the brand...
I'm going to stick with the P5Q Pro motherboard. I can always upgrade later and I think it will suit me for the price...
I'm leaning towards the E8500 based on all that has been said around game performance. I'd rather pick up a quad for the long term, but I don't know how long until it really can benefit me for gaming and the E8500 will kick in now.
Is there any advantage to going with higher end ram at this point or is general DDR2 800 good enough? Just to note, I'm changing my tune on overclocking the CPU at least, so I'll like try to hit 4GHz if that affects that ram decision
Do you know about the Vista memory limit? Vista (non 64bit) will only recognize 3.3ghz, so you lose a little. I'm wrestling with if I should really pay $100 for an OS to get the full 4gb. Right now I'm not going to
Looks like a good call on the RAM. I'll switch to the Corsair memory.
As far as Vista and the 32-bit limitations, yes, I know, but I'm not worried. I have Vista Ultimate which comes with both 32 and 64-bit versions so I could honestly dual boot if needed, but I'm going with 64 first and seeing how it goes... If I lose some ram in the process due to 32-bit it's okay as I know it's happening
As far as everything else goes, like I said before, this is what I'm probably going to be getting (90% same as you) unless my other deal comes through which would save me $300 off newegg. I should know tomorrow.
If I don't get that deal, I think I would go with the e8500 because it will be better for now, and if in 6-12 months quad is king, then I could pick up the Q9550 for under $200 easily... That's my thoughts anyway. But then, think about this. If you get the e8400, you get a $35 combo savings with the P5Q Pro, and from what I hear, the difference between the two isn't much of anything. I'll have to cross that road when I come to it!