UPDATE (September 8, 2009) - Decided to go with an EVGA E758-A1 3-Way SLI motherboard and 2 OCZ XMP Ready Series 6GB (3 x 2GB) DDR3 1600 memory kit.
APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Between now and September 30, 2009
BUDGET RANGE: Around $2,000 (CPU, computer case and heatsink not included with budget)
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Digital Content Creation (2D and 3D Creation) / Watching Blu-Ray / Gaming once in a while
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Logitech X-540 5.1 Surround Sound Speaker System (already own from old setup), Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz Quad-Core Processor w/ D0 Stepping (already purchased from Microcenter for $199), COOLER MASTER HAF 922 Black ATX Mid Tower Case (already purchased from Newegg.com for $99), Thermalright TRUE Black 120 Rev.C CPU Cooler (already purchased from HeatsinkFactory.com for $64.99)
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg.com, ZipZoomFly.com, Buy.com, Microcenter.com (have a store by me), Frys.com (have a store by me)
PARTS PREFERENCES: Only name brand products like Corsair (power supply), Western Digital/Seagate (hard drive), etc.
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe
MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080, 1920x1200
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Must have at least 12GB of RAM, 1 hard drive for OS and programs, 1 to 2 hard drives for data (maybe in a raid configuration), possibly 1 hard drive for scratch disk (for Photoshop), like to have a quiet PC (replace all fans in computer case and get two quiet fans for CPU heatsink in push-pull method), like to get the best thermal paste compound for my CPU
Back in 2005, I built my first PC with an AMD Athlon 64 3200+ 2.0GHz Socket 939 processor, OCZ 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR 400 SDRAM, 1 80GB hard drive for OS and programs, 1 320GB hard drive for data, a DVD-ROM drive, a DVD burner, and Windows XP Professional 32-Bit. And it's still going strong! Now four years later, I'm looking to upgrade big time! I'm slowly buying the parts for my computer and here's what I came up with for part of my shopping list:
I'm waiting until ATI releases the new Radeon HD 5870 and 5870 X2 this month.
And as for that fan you found on Newegg, wouldn't the Scythe S-FLEX (Model SFF21F) or the one I chose (Scythe "Slipstream") the better option? And don't all case fans have a 3-pin power connector which include a 4-pin adaptor?
Between this and the ASUS one I originally chose, do you think I should go for the EVGA one? I want as much computing power as possible when I create digital content (2D and 3D). Also, should I upgrade my power supply to 1,000 Watts since I'm planning to go with an SLI/Crossfire configuration later on? If so, I want it to be modular.
BTW, thanks Transmaniacon for pointing those hard drives out. I want it to be as fast as possible.
Both motherboards are solid choices, the Rampage is going to be more desirable for over clocking, but unless you are going for some extreme OC, its not worth the additional cost.
I would stick with the EVGA mobo you picked out.
Something you could consider is getting 2 of those 1TB Samsung F3 for Raid 1, if you do a lot of design work, it might be worthwhile to have a redundant system in case of a drive failure.
That 850W Corsair PSU is pretty powerful, and will run just about anything you throw at it. If you want to be able to run the top of the line GPU in Crossfire/SLI, and since you have the budget, you could go with the Corsair 1000HX. Its will handle whatever you throw at it, and its modular.
For thermal compound, I remember reading somewhere the Arctic Silver MX-2 compound performed better than the 5, but then again, unless your striving for record OC.