I will be building a new system based on the recently released Core i5/i7 within 4 months. I'm going to be keeping track of my component selections here.
Please offer your input whether you agree or disagree with my selections. I'm looking forward to some good discussions!
Purchase Date: Picking up parts whenever I feel they are reasonably priced, hope to have everything by January 2010. Budget: No specific budget, just looking to get the best price-to-performance ratio. System Usage: Moderate gaming, massive file storage. Overclocking: Yes, moderately. SLI / Crossfire: Yes, but not right away. Will look to add the second GPU when necessary.
Parts Selected So Far (Prices shown are the retail/average listing. Obviously I am not paying retail for everything, I'm only using it for comparison to similar products.)
The case for this build has to have the following requirements: (1) Mid-tower size, (2) 6 hard drive slots, (3) 1 eSATA port in the front. There are two things in particular that I love about this case. Firstly, the orientation of the hard drives allows for more room length-wise in the motherboard section. This is a great design because it allows an extra couple inches of room for the video card, in case they get longer and longer in the future. Secondly, the air flow should be spectacular with 5 total fans. I also love how all 6 hard drives get cooled by the front fans, even though there are only side grills for air to enter, but I think that should be sufficient.
I am definitely picking one of these processors. The one I ultimately end up with will depend on the deals that I find. I don't value the i7 at $300. It can be had for about $230 right now but I still think that's too pricey. The main difference between the two is the i7 has Hyper-Threading (Each core can be split into 2 logical cores. So the quad core becomes 8 virtual cores). And of course the i7 has higher base clocks. So far though, I've seen the i5 overclocked easily to 3.3 GHz so if the price of the i7 doesn't drop enough, the i5 will perform just fine for me.
The requirements for my motherboard are: (1) 7 SATA ports, (2) 2 PCI-E x16 for SLI/Crossfire. The P55-GD65 has just that, and right now it is reasonably priced. This board also has the OC Genie Auto-Overclocking feature, which was reviewed favorably by HardOCP. Since I've never overclocked before, I might just push this button and be done with it. From what I can tell, the P55-GD80 is essentially the same, but has a third PCI-E x16 slot, more SATA ports, and a V-Switch onboard for more overclocking. These features aren't worth $50 in my book, so unless it can be had for a much lower price, I'm probably going with the P55-GD65.
After learning a great deal about PSU's today, I've decided I won't go cheap on one. This one in particular has gotten rave reviews everywhere I looked and the efficiency has really impressed me. The HX1000W is actually cheaper than this, but the efficiency is not as high. I don't think I'll need 1000W anytime soon anyway as 850W is probably already overkill. I'll be picking this up as soon as there is a good deal on it.
My storage drives are all Caviar Greens and my main drive is a Caviar Blue. I'll be looking to upgrade to a Caviar Black this time around. Capacity doesn't matter since the smallest Caviar Black (500GB) is good enough for me. I'm sure there will be a great deal on one of the sizes, so I'm just playing the waiting game for now. I won't buy any hard drive if it's not WD. I've owned about 6-7 in my lifetime and they have consistently exceeded my expectations. Even if another brand is on sale or something, I don't mind paying an extra $10-20 for a WD.
There are 3 more components I have not yet selected: Video Card, RAM, and Monitor. I will probably wait until the last minute to decide on a video card, since ATI is rolling something new out which will affect current prices all around. I don't know which RAM to get, will have to do some research on that. I'm also not sure about a monitor. I'm seeing new monitors that are 1920x1080, which is good for people who don't have a High Def TV I guess, but I won't be watching many things on my PC monitor. At a size of 22-24", I don't think 1080p will be really noticeable anyway. And it doesn't seem to be a "standard" PC resolution, it's a 1.77 ratio so I think everything will be too stretched out for normal PC usage. Anyway, I will have to look into these 3 missing parts in more detail before I make any decisions.
That's all I have so far. I will keep this updated until the last component has been purchased. Again, I welcome all criticisms/suggestions. Thanks for reading!
You may need to consider buying a 5850 for $300 and three smaller monitors instead of one large expensive one (or two similar to your existing monitor). Or you could go more economical as existing cards are likely to drop in price when the new ones start shipping.
The p55 motherboard has to have low voltage (1.5-1.6V ram) its safest to look for RAM that says its i5 compatible. There are several good RAM companies and their prices are usually within 5$ of each other.
Samsung's F3 HDD line is as fast as caviar black, but cheaper.