I need a few opinions and suggestions from people who know what they're doing. I've done research and I'm pretty confident that most of this stuff is the best performance/value level for me (this is from Newegg):
SAMSUNG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model SH-S223Q - OEM $24.99
Antec Twelve Hundred Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case - Retail $179.99
Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM $119.99
Acer X223Wbd Black 22" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor - Retail $169.99
SAPPHIRE 100259-1GL Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail $199.99
CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail $119.99
2x OCZ 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ2G10664GK - Retail $81.98 ($40.99 each)
GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail $134.99
Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 Yorkfield 2.83GHz LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80569Q9550 - Retail $274.99
I have a few questions though, that I'm sure almost anyone here can clear up for me:
1) I know very little about motherboards, and I don't need anything fancy. Will this motherboard perform well with the CPU and RAM I chose?
2) I don't know what to look for in a CPU cooler at all. Should I just use stock, or can anyone suggest a quality one for me?
3) Is upgrading the 22" to a 24" for an extra hundred bucks worth it? Does anyone have any experience with that kind of transition?
4) Other than a keyboard/mouse, is there anything I'm forgetting, or any better deals or better brand choices?
Yes that is the best MB you can buy these days for a build like that.
Just use the stock cooler. When/if you feel like overclocking, then buy an aftermarket cooler. Until then, why waste $40 or $80 on one.
Upgrading to 24" is definitely worth it for work, surfing, etc. For gaming, I don't know, it might reduce the fps too much. Try it if you can afford the upgrade. Add a second HD 4870 or reduce the resolution if your favorite games are too demanding to run at 1920x1200 on a single card with good fps.
You need an OS too (e..g Vista Home Premium 64-bit OEM, $100)
If the machine is strictly for gaming, 4GB of RAM is enough.
The Antec 1200 is very nice, but there are nice cases that cost less. An Antec 300 would be enough for that setup and it's $100 less.
1) The mother board you picked out, I believe (correct me if I'm wrong) pretty much the most popular board that socket. The OCZ brand isn't the most popular brand around her and you'll probably get a couple of links to G.Skill brand. I personnaly just get the cheapest RAM I can get without it seeming like a brand that was produce in asian knock off factory.
3) I have 22" myself, my friend has a 24" and it makes a pretty big difference when your doing desktop work with multiple windows (a combination of the additional resolution and physical size), other than that I really find that for games there isn't much of a difference except that to run native full screen require more power.
I would recommed getting a 21.5" or 23.6" 16:9 1080p monitor rather than a 16:10 montior as it makes watching 16:9 content more enjoyable and I believe we will soon see the 16:10 format slowly die out as the PC market transition to the HDTV 16:9 format.
Thanks for the feedback!!! I really appreciate it. You know how it is with self doubt, especially with hundreds of combinations available.
Thankfully, I already have some 2.1 speakers... Harmon/Kardon Soundsticks. They're nothing too fancy, but they look awesome and they put out pretty darn good sound.
I'm not interested in overclocking it quite yet, so I guess I won't worry about the new cooler, but thanks for the point of reference for the future.
I'm going to wait for prices to come down a little before getting a second card to crossfire, so I like having upgradability. As far as the monitor... I don't have a lot of experience with comparing the 16:9s to the 16:10s. Are they really getting more popular, and how do they stack up value-wise? Are you getting more desktop real estate for your money, or is just the aspect ratio different? And do most games support 16:9 resolution?
I added the 1200 to the build when it was 159, but Newegg up and made it more expensive yesterday. I'm leaning strongly towards the Antec 902 now. I love the look and even though the 300 would get the job done, a part of this build is "look at me and my sexy sexy computer."
Thanks for the encouragement, I feel like I'm almost ready to buy!
People who watch videos etc tend to prefer 16:9 format (equivilent to 1920x1080 or standard 1080p high def).
Personally, I prefer 16:10 format (equivilent to 1920x1200). It has a black band when watching videos, but is slightly taller and so has more screen space for other computer uses. 16:10 is a bit more expensive but not much.
Go to Best Buy or Sams Club where you can see a range of options.
There's a good reason this RAM is so highly recommended. It runs at the DDR2 standard 1.8v and has very tight 4-4-4-12 timings. You have no need for DDR2 1066 RAM since the Q9550/Q9650 won't overclock to a crazy-high FSB anyway. DDR2 800 RAM with 4-4-4-12 timings is just as fast as DDR2 1066 RAM with 5-5-5-15 timings. The OCZ RAM you linked above needs 2.1v and has pretty slow 5-6-6-18 timings. RAM that runs at 1.8v also has less compatibility issues, runs cooler, and puts less stress on the motherboard. The G.Skill RAM also has plenty of overclocking headroom and will run at DDR2 1066 5-5-5-15 @ 2.1v if needed.