I am building a PC for the first time, and after doing some research, this is what I've come up with. My main goal is to get as much 3D-gaming performance out of the money for the PC as possible, with some leeway in terms of upgrades in the future. All advice is appreciated!
Power Supply: Hiper Type R II 680W
Motherboard: ASUS P6T6 WS Revolution
Processor: Core i7 920
Memory: 2x OCZ, 6GB (3 x 2GB) Platinum XTC PC3-12800 DDR3 1600MHz CL7 (12GB total)
Graphics: ATI Radeon HD4870 x2
Sound: Creative X-Fi Titanium
HDD: OCZ Vertex 60GB SSD
I already have a case (coolermaster CM Stacker) input devices, a display, a 500GB HDD for data, and speakers/headphones I intend to use. I would like to get a LightScribe capable DVD-RW drive, but have no idea which one to pick. I am not sure if I need any extra cooling, and if so what to get. Will the motherboard come with all required SATA and other cables? Do I need any sort of thermal paste to be able to attach the CPU to the motherboard?
Also, if I buy a Vista Home Premium Academic Upgrade version of the OS, will I be able to install it from scratch?
If you buy the retail version of the motherboard, it will come with the cables. The stock fan will come with a coat of thermalpaste. It's not a bad idea to buy some in case you need to re-seat it at some point. It's pretty cheap stuff. The OS upgrades will only work if the HD already has a OS installed on it. If it is a raw HD, then you need a full copy of the OS.
Is there a reason you chose that Mobo? Tri-sli/xfire is great...but you already have a 4870x2 card in there, do you really think you will need that many slots for the GPU's? I think the P6T Deluxe V2 is a much better value, it will be able to run 2 of those GPU's in xfire which will be plenty for any configuration you want to dream about, and also overclocks like a champion. However since your PSU won't handle another 4870x2 in xfire, you don't need those extra slots anyways...If you wish to run or SLI later, then you need a more powerful PSU, like this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
12GB of ram isn't really necessary, you will get almost no performance gain from going from 6 to 12gb. Unless you are gaming and rendering/encoding video at the same time as well as running 4 other applications in the background, you don't need to buy the extra ram. Just go with 6gb and then get a better GPU, the GTX 295 instead.
Unless you have a nice set of THX surround sound speakers, you should probably give the onboard sound a try to see if it will be sufficient, onboard sound is very good these days. Adding a sound card is very easy later if you decide you need more.
SSD's do not give a good return for the money spent on them, If you want speed get 2 WD6401AALS 640gb drives and run them in Raid 0. It will cost less and you will have 10x the disk space, and comparable read/write speeds.
Hi, I chose the motherboard because it has great reviews, I liked the lack of legacy support, and the benchmark tests put it in the top tier. I am not tied to it though.
I do have a nice set of 5.1 speakers, as well as some "true" 5.1 headphones. I am always concerned about on-board sound - doesn't it somewhat detract from performance as compared to a discrete sound card?
Regarding the SSD, it was my splurge item. I really wanted to see what the <1ms random access times as well as other timings meant in terms of boot time for the OS and load times for games. I have plenty of storage for my data, I'm just looking for load time performance.
Thanks for the cooling recommendation. If I get the GTX 295, will I need extra cooling for it as well?
Fan noise has been an annoyance for me in the past. Is there a brand of standard size case fans that are (nearly?) silent?
Finally, is there really any difference in optical drives, or should I just pick one out of a hat?
The GTX 295 won't need extra cooling. If you are concerned about heat then you can get a couple more case fans to move more air through the case. Yate Loon is known for making very low noise case fans.
For optical drives, pick an LG or Samsung SATA drive, And make sure it has whatever features you want on it. Most media drives are all the same really.
Ok, so I ended up putting Patriot Viper PC3 - 12800 in instead of the OCZ Platinum, and I went with the P6T Deluxe V2 + GTX 295. So far everything has come together well, except for the fact that half the time I try to boot the computer it loads to BIOS and sees all devices, and the other half it begins to power up and reboots, over and over and over.
Any ideas what could be happening, and why this would only happen part of the time?
One other thing - when the reboots begin, I have to shut the power supply off (or unplug it) to stop the reboot cycle. Once I am able to reboot, CMOS has been cleared and all my BIOS settings are gone, and the defaults have been loaded.