I'm getting ready to buy a new computer in the next week or so. My budget is around $1000 including display but not OS. I've been researching and building countless systems on Newegg, and I think I've made up my mind for the most part. Here are the parts I've selected, let me know what you more experienced people think. I don't plan to do SLI/CrossFire, but I would like to get one more CPU/GPU upgrade out of this thing before needing a new mobo (AM3 should be around through AMD's 6 core chips, correct?). Without further ado (all prices excluding mail-in rebates):
In addition to the hardware I plan to buy, I have a 2.5" 64GB SATA-300 SSD drive I plan to install Windows to. I'll be getting a converter ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ) so I can stick it in a 3.5" case slot. Will its performance suffer by virtue of being a 2.5" drive and/or using an adapter? It's a Crucial CT64GBFAA0. If it's going to perform poorly I won't bother, as the sole purpose would be performance. Would it be a good idea to use this drive with an adapter for my Windows install for the faster boot time?
Total comes out to $920.84 + shipping = $952.03. My budget isn't super tight, and I can go up a few bucks on any component if the one I've chosen is not a good fit, but I don't want to spend more on a faster system "just because."
I've installed individual components many times, but this will be my first project building a computer from scratch. Are there any cables, tools beyond a static band and screwdriver, or other small items I am forgetting about?
gkay09: thanks for the feedback. I made all the parts changes you suggested. As for the adapter, I'm fairly clueless in that area. Looking up some specs it looks like this drive is pretty much as low end as SSDs come (got it free so that makes sense), so I'm not sure it's even worth the hassle.
Mmkay. I'll just stick the SSD in an external enclosure for now and use it as a portable drive until I figure out what it's good for. Platter-based drives are a bummer but a modern machine with ample video and system RAM shouldn't be paging that often during games anyway (one would hope). Do you think it would be worth the extra $50 to get a second one of those drives and set up a simple RAID for performance? I'm not sure how the performance gains there would compare to, for example, spending that same $50 on a better GPU.
Fry's came really close to being price competitive with Newegg. They charge similar amounts for hard drives, cases, fans, etc. RAM was slightly more but only because I couldn't find any performance modules cheaper than Kingston HyperX ($110/2x2GB kit). Displays were as cheap as newegg specials. The three things that push me back to newegg are:
1. I don't remember seeing the mobo I want there - they had good prices on quality 790GX boards, but I'm really liking this $80 770 board that reviewers say performs and OCs just as well as its big brothers for $40 less.
2. The Phenom II x3 720 is $140 instead of $120. The Phenom II x2 550 is a reasonable price ($105) but online I can get a third core with almost the same clocks on a 720 for $15 more. Seems hard to justify a 550 when I have more than ample budget for a 720; I don't need better hardware just for its own sake but the 550 seems like it could leave me CPU bound in a year or two when most games properly leverage multiple cores. The 550 doesn't seem close enough in performance given how close it is in cost to the 720.
3. VIDEO CARDS! I was, quite frankly, shocked at how unimpressive their stock and prices were on this front. They had one little shelf unit off in the back dedicated to GPUs. Aside from a single 5870 in stock for $400, almost every card I saw was more than I expected. No 4870s of any sort in stock. 4850s for what a 4870 should cost (around $150). 4890s for around $230. Long story short, I'd have to be crazy (or desperate for immediate access) to buy a GPU from them when newegg has way more selection and lower prices.
I'm still deeply divided on GPUs. I'm tempted to wait and get a 5850, but that means stretching my price range a bit. It also means waiting who knows how long until the damn things are available. I could get a 4890 *right now* for more like $200, but if the price drops considerably shortly following the 5850 launch I'll feel like a fool. I've never been following prices so precisely at the time of a new card launch - how long would people expect it to take for the 5850 price point to start pushing down prices of older 4800 series cards? Will anyone slash prices close to immediately or will it be at least another week or two before they evaluate inventory and 5850 sales and decide what to do? Is $200 going to buy me a lot more GPU some time later this month than it will right now?