PARTS PREFERENCES: I7 920, ATI Radeon setup (ATI instead of Nvidia due to price and current games played.)
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Crossfire <Yes> (Perhaps for end user in future only?)
MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1680x1050
Yet another "requested build" for a friend. Due to this friend's budget/time frame for system completion, I have been slowly buying parts as they are a good price. (The case was bought months ago, the PSU and 2 HDs the past couple of weeks.) Due to the friend's low resolution, a 3x+ Crossfire solution should not be considered. (However, a 2x could be with the upgrade to a 3x in the future if that is best. I doubt it though.)
I am posting a request for information, despite my "general up-to-date" knowledge, due to the following:
1. This will be my first I7 build. (My systems are Core 2 Duo E6750s built a bit back, and my recent friends' budgets/requests led me to building two AMD Phenom x3 720 builds last month.) It is now a 3rd friend's turn.
2. Mostly interested in people's current recommendations on the best "cpu + MB + ATI <Crossfire?>" solution for a mid to mid-high gaming computer.
3. The system will be air cooled using "good" 120mm case fan replacements closer to the final "important" components purchase date. (If you have favorite, reliable and semi-quiet 120mm fans to recommend, list please. The case will require 2 for exhaust <rear and side> and potentially 2 for input <front> to be combined with the tri-speed 140mm fan in the rear/top of the case.)
4. The system will have 64 bit Windows 7 RC installed until the official OS release date later in the year.
5. As briefly mentioned above, a "quiet" system is not required, but it should not be "loud" either. This machine is a "living room gaming/multimedia" pc for a bachelor.
If I were to do the final buying today, without looking at specific pricing, I would end up buying the following:
Intel I7 920
1, 2, or (3) ATI Radeon 4850 512 MB (With the (3) meaning the purchase of a Sapphire 4850 X2 1 GB card with a 3rd card added now or later if the case supports. Haven't measured yet.)
<<<Unknown CPU cooler>>>
<<<2 Optical drives, 1 retail and 1 OEM>>>
<<<4 Unknown 120mm case fans>>>
<<<Unknown 3x2 GB of DDR3 ram>>>
1. Lots of disk space needed.
2. It seems LGA1366 MB reviews show that all of them have more issues than LGA 775 MBs did. Further, the major issue with the MSI board I selected was the Northbridge heatsink temperature. Easy fix: Replace the thermal grease myself.
3. Chose the Patriot ram due to the low timings at DDR3 1333 speeds.
4. With the MB, Case (Antec 300), and Case fan replacements, the open design of the Zalman will allow the case fans to pull air past the Zalman heatsink very easily. (And, space will be tight.)
5. Replacing the 120mm tri-cool fan and putting fans in all other available 120mm slots with low noise decent throughput fans. Thus, the Scythe fans.
6. Duel DVD burners, as always for systems I build. (With two of the same kind never going in the same machine.) Further, avoided the adware one from LG.
7. Crossfire 4870 1 GB graphics solution, 3 total games included for free. The side panel 120mm fan on the Antec 300 will be set for exhaust to pull hot air directly away from the Asus card in the bottom of the case.
8. Free upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium for the user, no complete reinstallation required.
Will update once more when the system is assembled with any problems.