OVER ALL OBJECTIVE
I am looking to build a mid-range (~$1.2k gaming/game development/graphics workstation not counting monitor, kb, mouse, discs, speakers) system for gaming/game dev and Lightwave/Modo network render server (for my 8-core Mac Pro). While I have built PCs before, I haven't for 4 years and I am a bit rusty on the new specs and constraints. So while I can build something, I want to be sure I spend my money wisely and the components work well together. Hence the quest for advice in this forum.
Please let me know your thoughts on the following constraints;
I expect to keep the system for a long time, adding a second GFX card as prices drop to keep the GPU power up rather than upgrade the core system ( mainboard, DRAM, etc.). In general, my view of multi-board connect (SLI/CrossFire) is to extend the life of a system's GPU subsystem by addng a second board after prices drop when newer boards are introduced. I am not sure it is really a good tradeoff though as it offers only 1.2-1.5x improvement. Your thoughts welcome on the reasonableness of this line of thinking.
2. Multi Core:
I want at least a dual-core or even quad-core intel because the rendering software Lightwave/Mode will utilize it even though I know most games don't utilize beyond 2 cores right now. Leaning towards quad core despite power consumption as it will nearly double rendering for 3DFX apps.
Yeah, maybe a bit but stability is important so I don't expect push it much. GPU a bit more than CPU maybe.
I know AMD makes good stuff, but I think Intel is the way to go for me. My impression is Intel has lower power consumption for performance (I might be mistaken).
Core i7: Asus P6T Intel X58 Core i7 LGA1366 DDR3 ATX ~$259
Core i7 EVA nForce 790i Ultra LGA775 ~$299 preferred
Question: is the nForce 790i that much better than Itel MCH/ICH to be worth the extra $$$?
Question; is COre i& worth it for my uses or should I save big bucks on board and CPU and go for Core 2 Quad?
Intel Core i7 Quad 920 2.66Ghz 8MB Cache 45NM (LGA 1366) ~$299
NOTE: I always buy the cheaper processors in the line--the 2.99 Ghz is double the price and not worth it to me.
Antec 900 II MidTower Gaming (without PS)
no idea--do I need 850 Watts or 1k watts for CrossFire/SLI upgrade in the future?
No preference for:
Memory but I'd try to get 1800 to overclock a bit.
Cooling probably must be air--I assume liquid is out of my price range right now I think though I love it I am sure.
discs, keyboard, mouse, monitor (1080p SONY TV with HDMI)
1. Why_Me: great recommendations. The case you picked is bigger but makes sense for much better air flow--especially if I SLI 2 boards in the future when the price comes down for the 2nd one. After seeing your card recommendation, I checked around--sure enough the GTX 260 runs hot--hence the wise choice of a bigger case, bigger fans thatn can move more air but more quietly. Heck, I could after market liquid cooling one day--I'd have room.
2. kubes: thanks for the heads up on nForce. The Gigabyte EP45 uses Intel's MCH/ICH which should give me a very stable build.
Thanks both of you: That's why I asked here--I know there are some very sharp folks here who will keep me from wasting money and time.