I'm not a total noob to computer hardware, but I've never built my own rig before. I've been saving up for a while and finally am deciding to take the plunge.
What I really want is a system that can do everything, in a sense. I'll be dual booting windows 7 / Ubuntu, and running Ubuntu within windows within a vm. I'll be using it during the day for work (web developer), and then other times for gaming.
I have the $$$ to build anything, but don't want to get too crazy just yet. I would ideally like to acheive an eyefinity setup for around $2500.
I started putting a list together and came up with an i5 / radeon 5850 setup, but am now wondering if it's enough to drive 3 24" lcd's in eyefinity. I will post my build just in case, but I have a feeling it's going to change to an i7 setup.
APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: 1-2 weeks
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: gaming, programming, vm, movies, graphic design
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: just dvd drive... basically starting fresh with a complete build
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: any COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel / ATI . I really really want to get an eyefinity setup
OVERCLOCKING: Maybe SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe in the future do crossfire
MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920 x 1200, which would basically turn out to be 5760 x 1200 with eyefinity I believe
For claiming to be a complete hardware noob, you sure have a nice build! For the eyefinity make sure it's an active adaptor. I would stick to a 5850 and an i5 since you're already spending quite a bit, but if you don't mind using your whole budget they're certainly worthwhile upgrades. I don't really have any hardware changes to suggest, great job!
Make sure at least one of the monitors has the optional displayport.
Have you looked at the performance reviews of the 5850? If you want to game on 3 monitors you will be splitting your GPU power 3 ways. Im not sure a single 5850 is going to handle 3 monitor gaming on 1920x1080 all that well. I also have not read that eyefinity is working with crossfire yet so I dont think dual 5850s will get you what you need. Later this year ATI is supposed to ship the 6 port card that they demonstrated when they announced the 5800 last month. I would either go with a 5870 or wait for the next model.
If you are looking to crossfire in the future, you should strongly consider an i7 920 and x58 motherboard. Being able to x16/x16 twin 5870s is going to be better than x8/x8 that the p55 gives you.
If it were me, I would sacrifice things that could be added later to have a stronger core i7/x58 system. The fancy gaming peripherals could be your xmas list to free up budget. The SSD only affects load speeds so even it could be dropped and added later.
I dont know your living situation, but I had to put my nice speakers/subwoofer away since the noise was bothering others. I now use a headset, which I have grown to like alot, plus you need a headset with microphone for gaming and VOIP so it gets lots of use.
You could certainly upgrade to a 5870, but it's not necessary to crossfire anything, and if you do there's definitely little need to switch to X58. Compare the X58 crossfire to the P55 crossfire - and any X58 advantage would only be exaggerated because this article uses 5870s.
"Where we did not have a difference was in actual game play experiences. It was impossible to tell the difference between platforms, except for some additional thermal output from the X58 setup.
If you happen to benchmark Intel platforms for a living, then clearly an X58/Bloomfield platform is the way to go. How about the other 99.9% of us?"