Sorry for being another of the countless people coming here just to ask for advice on a new build, hopefully some of you either don't mind or are bored enough that you're willing to waste your time to answer my questions. Any help is much appreciated and I thank you for your time.
For it's intended use, I want to be able to game fairly well at 1920x1200. I do intend to overclock in the future. There's no specific budget but I don't want to spend an excessive amount unless it's justified by the increase in performance.
CPU: Can't decide between a dual or a quad, mostly a cost thing. For dual, E8500, for quad Q9550/Q9650. For the Q9550, is there any way to guarantee the E0 stepping? Also does the E0 stepping give that big of an increase?
lol I wish I had enough for a 4870 x2, would take a lot more needle pokes than planned if I wanted to get one although once I figure out my total build cost I'll consider it. For now I'm just planning to pick up another 4870 or gtx 260 to sli/crossfire when I get a job in the future.
As for the Q9550S, from the prices I saw it was about $40 more than the Q9650. Wouldn't I be better off going with a Q9650?
All the suggestions and advice are much appreciated.
I picked up the Q9650 because it has a higher multiplier for $40 the other day. Worth it probably not because its just .5, but I would recommend going with 8 gigs of ram(quad core) or 6 gigs of ram (I7) at the minimum. DDR2 800 is fine for memory with no overclocking. If you are going to overclock look at 1066 because it is rated higher for people that are going to overclock. DDR3 is expensive but required if you go I7. Look at gaming benchmarks with I7 thought before you think because it is faster in most things it should be faster in gaming. Just my $.02
At that price level, it's surely not the best value out there, but if I were to overclock a Quad, then the Q9550S is the one that I'd go with, if I had the budget. Think a little more about whether you want quad or duo and do read Proximon's guide--it's very helpful.
My sense is that if you're looking for an overclocked gaming rig to play on a 24" monitor, then your best route is to go with a fast Duo and spend your savings on the graphics card instead, leaving open the option of using a second graphics card later.
For processors, the E8500 is fine, but also have a look at the new E7500. That might fit the bill too.