I am planning to build a gaming desktop.Because it is my first time building a computer, I do not want to try to overclock the finished product. I know the same performance can be achieved for less money by overclocking but money is NOT an issue. I would rather spend more money to achieve the same performance than worry about overclocking my first time around.
Here is what I have picked out so far:
* Processor: Intel Core i7-965 Processor Extreme Edition
* Motherboard: EVGA X58 Classified 4-Way SLI
* Memory: Mushkin 998731 Blackline (mushkin.com newegg.com)
* Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295 (nvidia.com newegg.com)
* Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black (wdc.com newegg.com)
Besides opinions on optical drives and power supplies, I have several questions.
1.1) I heard the Xeon processors are the i7 processors under a different name. Is that true? If so, why would the same processor be sold at a different price?
1.2) For a gaming desktop, which processor should I choose: i7 or Xeon? Remember money is not an issue. I am willing to spend more money for even a nominal performance increase.
2) I heard the EVGA X58 motherboards are as good as (if not better than) the Intel DX58SO for Intel i7 processors. Wouldn't the Intel motherboard work best with their own processor?
3) Out of two memory modules offered by Mushkin, the only difference is the heatsink. What exactly is the difference between the heatsinks, which are Ascent and Frostbyte?
4) I read using multiple graphics cards is better (in terms of available graphical power). Is that true? If so, does the available graphical power 'max out' at, let's say, 3 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295 GPUs or would a fourth contribute even more?
5) Is RAID worth implementing for a gaming desktop? If so, is the hard drive I already chose a good choice with which to implement RAID 10 'The Striped Mirror'? If not, then what is a good hard drive with which to do so.
6) Are there any differences between the Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate editions of Windows 7? If there are any extra features in the more costly editions that I, as a gamer, may use from time to time (however rare), then I am willing to spend the extra money to get those extra features.
Please excuse me if any of those questions were stupid. Thank you for your help. =]
-Here is some good ram that i recommend: Patriot Viper 6GB
^It has good timings and very high frequencies so it will matchup with the processor very well.
For your system budget, I highly recommend a solid state: OCZ PCI-E slot Solid State Drive
^This is a really expensive one but its much faster then the other SSD's, you can go cheaper and get the Intel X-25m for 259.99 also.
-Don't get the GTX295, Nvidia is about to release its next generation of videocards that will support DX11 and be much moe powerful. So just wait a few weeks maybe a month or a bit more and they will be released. Or get an ATI 5xxx series card because they already have DX11 support. If you decide to go with ATI then get this card: Sapphire ATI Radeon 5870
^If you ever want to crossfire them then go for it, its a crazy powerful card.
To make sure you can crossfire in the future and stuff, here is an excellent and powerful modular powersupply for you: Corsair 850Watt HX Modular Power Supply Unit
Answer to your questions:
1) Not really, xeons are busniss grade chips of a higher quality overall, some have pretty equivalent power to the i7's, but are designed for different purposes.
2)For gaming, definitily an i7. The xeon won't give you any benefit.
3)Not sure about that, its more entitled to opinion
4)The maximum you can do with single GPU cards is Tri-SLI (i think), if you have a multi-gpu card like a GTX295, 9800GX2...etc then you can only 2-Way SLI them but it would be called Quad-SLI since each card has 2 GPU's already. Thats how it works for now, until nvidia or ATI come up with something new
5)For gaming, the storage doesn't matter, all it affects is the speed of loading in maps, not the fps. Hard drives have no effect on FPS or performance in anything as applications are loaded into the ram when operating so the RAM is what affects it. I however suggest an SSD for fast load-ups.
6)Nope, the Home Premium will do everything you need, the other version just have benefits that would be used in the busniss/corporate envirnment, not a gamer. They just have some more security options for busnisses.