In addition to any specific comments on the parts listed above, I have a few specific things:
1. I'm really a minimalist when it comes to cases, and even the case I have picked out right now is sort of too flashy for me. Any suggestions for another budget case that has fairly good airflow but also doesn't turn my computer into a lamp?
2. I've seen some people mentioning that the newer version of the GTX 260 with 216 cores as opposed to 192 on the one I picked out can make a good difference for the $20ish price jump (like this one). Any insight on whether it's worth it?
3. The parts listed above put my total at $1017.93 (with a mobo/processor combo), the remaining $200ish with which I am planning to get a second monitor to accompany my 19". I'd like to get a 22" panel and I've read a lot of reviews, but I figured I'd get any specific suggestions if anybody could provide them.
Are you planning on doing gaming with this rig? I will base my answers that you will be.
To answer the question about the 216 cores vs 192 core verison. Deffinatly worth the extra 20 bucks when compairing it to the price of the entire rig. There is a big difference between $20 bucks worth of preformance. Review article on difference
Another concern is your hard drive choices. You might heavly want to consider WD Black series. They are a much higher preformance drive and imo much more reliable.
What is the PSU you plan on using to power this rig?
@xtwosmokesx, thanks for the heads up on the ewiz combos.
@kubes, thanks for the link to the review, quite useful. I'll look into some other storage options. I will be doing some gaming on it, but it'll mainly be used for art, namely Maya and Zbrush and painting large canvases in photoshop.
To anybody, any thoughts on whether its worth setting up a RAID 1 or is the stability of the new WD drives good enough to not worry about it?
i'm sorry I missed the link earlier... Your PSU choice has made me feel much more confortable!
It depends but most likely the motherboard will auto detect the wrong settings. So you'll have to manuly set the ram timings if you want them to be set at the manufactors specs.
dealing with your concerns about storage the newier generation of WD Black hard drives have a platter size of 320gb's meaning a 640gb hard drive has two platters. The 500gb wd blacks have a platter size of 250, and the 1TB has 3 x 320 (which wd rounds to 1TB). The more dence the plater the greater preformance gains you will recieve. So I would reccomend sticking with a 640gb or a 1TB drive if your budget allows it.
I think this build will end up working quite nicely for you