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Building a Gaming PC - Price not an issue - Need some advice

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November 11, 2009 10:42:59 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Anytime between now and when I decide on all of the components
BUDGET RANGE: Price not an issue - expecting the build to be in excess of $6000.00 After Rebates (and with the peripherals and software, probably closer to $10,000.00).

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, surfing the internet, website creation including video & graphics editting & creation, watching movies (but will be building an HTMS shortly after this build).

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Everything will be new with the one possible exception of a Prometeia Phase Change unit that is nearly 5 years old but was only used for approximately 10 hours.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: I am not too particular as long as the price is reasonably within the accepted limits for the part and the company has a very good customer support/history. That said, the following I have dealt with in the past and will probably use for some parts for this build... newegg.com, tigerdirect.com, cyberguys.com, cdw.com, to name a few.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: I will be using a full tower case (preferably with 10 expansion slots, minimum of 6 exterior/6 interior bays - the more the better, removable MB tray, and space for 2 x PS) which will be modded, an Intel Core i7 975 Extreme, minimum of 12Gb DDR3 Triple channel memory, E-ATX MOBO, Dual PS @ minimum 1000w each (preferably modular), a combination of 2 x SSHD, 2 x 15,000rpm HD, & 2 x regular SATA drives in various Raid configurations, BluRay R/W & DVD R/W optical drives

OVERCLOCKING: Yes
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Yes

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Minimum 1920x1200 (will probably go with dual monitors 24" or larger, with a set of 32" LED's being at the top of my list currently)

Operating System: I intend to have a multi-boot system using Windows 7, Vista 64, XP, and a Linux flavor

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Now to purpose of this post...
I have been building, modding, and OC'ing my own systems since the early 90's, but my last complete build was nearly five years ago (not counting upgrades). Hence, I have been researching the technologies and components for the past five or six weeks, reading every review that I can find on various items and advances, but I'm still coming up short in some areas. The following are some questions still lurking and preventing me from making my final list of components and parts and begin the ordering phase.

  • First, I need some advise on the SLI arrangement. Have there been any tests run on which is faster - a dual GTX 295 in SLI, or a true 4-Way SLI using 4 x GTX 285?
  • In conjunction with the first question, what about a CrossFire setup in either a dual GPU card quad or the 4-Way single GPU?
  • And looking for opinions here - should I go ahead with the build now, or wait for the new nVidia cards with DirectX 11 support?
  • Does anyone know of an E-ATX MOBO that has the required 4 x PCIe slots for a true 4-Way SLI or CrossFire AND enough PCIe (&/or PCI) slots to also accomodate a sound card, WiFi card (if not on MOBO), and possibly a TV Tuner card?
  • Is a dedicated PhysX card really needed when setting up a high-end 4-Way system?
  • Using the Phase Change system for the CPU, what is the best water-cooling system for the remaining components and that would accomodate a 4-Way graphics setup?

    Besides those questions, any recommendations on ANY of the components would be appreciated and considered since I am still undecided on many of the parts as to specific brand and in some instances like the case, have not yet found one to fit my requirements and/or tastes aesthetically and design-wise.
    November 11, 2009 8:59:51 PM

    If you want to air cool, the Antec 1200 is going to be the best case for you. For watercooling I have heard that the HAF 932 or 922 may work better, though I know people watercool with the 1200 also.

    There have been benchmarks of 3x285s being faster than twin 295s. I think xbitlabs did the 3x285 benchmarks. Sounds like 3x285+PhysX is whats possible, not 4x285. Thats alot of money to spend right before the GT300 series DX11 cards are released. You may regret it in a years time.

    related links:
    http://digg.com/hardware/EVGA_4_Way_GTX_285_SLi_Classif...
    http://www.tweaktown.com/articles/1727/nvidia_geforce_g...
    http://www.pcgameshardware.com/aid,675353/GPU-benchmark...

    The ATI 5870 is about as fast as a 295 and faster than a 285. If you want the best, that is it right now.

    If you are overclocking there isnt much point in a 975 as the much cheaper 920 will overclock to about the same speed.

    EVGA makes good motherboards, including a true 4way SLI and a 3waySLI+PhysX x58 model.
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    November 11, 2009 9:02:55 PM

    Based on what you want to do, $2500 is plenty.
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    November 11, 2009 9:13:28 PM

    Newf said:
    Based on what you want to do, $2500 is plenty.

    I have to agree that while you might be able to spend $6000+, you will also be able to make a machine that has within a few percent of the same performance for under $3000.
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    November 11, 2009 9:30:27 PM

    I agree with the above posters, you're not going to see a lot of return for that last $3k. Save it, and in a year or two when this system doesn't feel "bleeding edge" anymore, upgrade.
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