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.

    The i7's integrated memory controller changed all the previous rules about overclocking Intel CPU's. Excellent link to overclocking i7's:

    If you are going to OC, you need to know something about thermal management:
    Core 2 Quad and Duo 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:

    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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