Need First-Time Build Advice

I am a student soon to be majoring in Computer Engineering and figured it would be useful for me to build my first computer. I am expecting to be utilizing CAD programs, Matlab, lots of programming, etc with some light gaming when I can. I have pretty much settled on the following:

CPU: Intel i7 920
MOBO: EVGA X58 SLI LE Socket 1366 X58 ATX
PSU: Corsair Memory TX750W 750 Watt ATX 12V
HD: Seagate Technology Barracuda 500GB 7,200RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s
OS: Vista with upgrade to 7
Case: Antec Nine Hundred Two

I am stuck on what graphics card and RAM to get. I just need a mid-range graphics card and probably about 6 GB of DDR3 RAM. I was suggested the following:

EVGA e-GeForce GTX 260 896MB GDDR3 PCIe 2.0 Graphics Card (Core 216)
OCZ Technology Gold XTC 6GB DDR3-1600 (PC3-12800) CL8 Memory Kit (Three 2GB Memory Modules)

My hope is to use this computer for at least 3 years and have it able to expand (more memory, better graphics, potentially better CPU like i9). I am also interested in eventually overclocking it, but I am currently just starting to get familiar with OC via an old Pentium III. Any advice or suggestions?
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  1. Nice build. :) Everything on there looks great, although for a faster HD you might want to take a look at the WD 640 32mb Black.
  2. Welcome to the forums.

    If the HD is a Seagate 7200.12, it will be a little faster than a WD 640 Black (a single 500 GB platter instead of two 320 GB platters).

    If it's a 7200.11, do not buy it. Some of the .11's had a firmware problem that bricked the drives. That problem was supposed to fixed in the .12's. For what it's worth, I use a mixture of WD Blacks as boot drives and WD Greens for storage in my computers.

    The Antec cases do not come with a case speaker, but I am pretty sure the motherboard has one built in. At least my eVGA 680i did.

    Overclocking:
    The i7's integrated memory controller changed all the previous rules about overclocking Intel CPU's. Excellent link to overclocking i7's:
    http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/page-253365_11_0.html

    If you are going to OC, you need to know something about thermal management:
    Core 2 Quad and Duo Temperature Guide
    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/221745-29-core-quad-temperature-guide

    You will also need a better than stock heatsink.

    And because this is your first build, here's something to read while you wait for your parts to arrive:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261145-31-read-posting-boot-problems

    This is primarily a troubleshooting guide, but the first part contains a building checklist that should keep you from making the common mistakes that many first-time builders make.
    ----------
    Building computers since 1977 :)
  3. If you are not planning on two gfx cards theres no need to pay for an expensive SLI mb
    Again if you are not planning on a second gf card then the 750 watt psu is overkill
    650 would be plenty for a computer like that with a single gtx 260/275 or 4870/4890

    jsc is totally right about the hard drive choices .
    why_me not so right .
  4. Thanks! I am going to end up going with the WD 1TB Black. The 640 seems kinda elusive and rare, and I figured that since I am still slightly under budget for this machine (<$1200) I might as well get the larger one and not have to upgrade till much much later.

    I hope to eventually have multiple graphics cards which is why the PSU is kinda large as well as the board.

    Thanks jsc for those links! Very helpful!
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