I'm based in the UK and I was thinking of the following new system - let me know what you think.
Initally I'm going for a quiet system for general stuff like DTP, word processing, etc but that can be overclocked for when I get round to buying Crysis (yes there is one person who hasn't played it yet!) and playing games
motherboard - Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD3R
cpu - i7 920 (D0)
cooler - Titan Fenrir TTC-NK85TZ
power - 650W Be Quiet Dark Power PRO BN073 Modular PSU 87% Eff
memory - 6GB (3x2GB) Corsair XMS3 DDR3 PC3-12800 (1600), 240 Pin, Non-ECC Unbuffered, CAS 9-9-9-24 (CMX6GX3M3A1600C9)
In the UK this is about £580 (probably works out at $930) from Scan which is the cheapest supplier who has all the above items!
I will be reusing an Antec Sonata case, a pioneer DVD writer and using an ATI 4850 out of another machine and I've already got a Maxtor 250gb Diamondmax 23 to use as a boot drive and I've got Windows 7 Home Edition.
Let me know what you think - all constructive advice greatly appreciated as this will be only my second build.
I've been told the rams compatible with the motherboard but it would be nice to hear from someone who can confirm this other than the salesrep as its not listed on Gigabytes compatible ram listing for the motherboard.
While the i7-920 does offer slightly better performance for gaming (SLIGHTLY), the i5-750 is far more affordable, and is really all the power you should ever need for a gaming rig.
Game performance may be improved by overclocking if your CPU is bottlenecking the GPU; however, at this level of processor you won't see a huge amount of difference. Gaming performance is, as always, more predicated on the GPU.
You really only need the i7-920 if you are working with graphics-intensive professional software and doing a lot of rendering, video editing, or photo editing. In that case, the hyperthreading really helps. Otherwise, just for the usage you describe, the i5-750 will be enough performance.
If you can afford an i7 920 build, then I say go for it. You can find cheaper RAM with better latencies than the ones you have listed (try the OCZ Platinum 6 GB kit). Only you know if the savings are compelling enough to go with an i5, but don't throw 920 out. There are already highly-threaded and CPU-intensive games out right now (GTA IV, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.) and the trend will not just suddenly go in the opposite direction.
the build you have will give you 8 threaded processing as opposed to 4 threaded on.
2 x16 PCIe lanes for crossfire or SLI
triple-channel memory bandwidth.
But if you upgrade often, maybe none of this matters. If you can spend less than $1000 and get a system with slightly longer legs, I'd do it.
While we all want to make builds which are "future-proof" (there is no such thing btw , "minimal obsolescence" is a better term), the price/performance ratio from the i7 X58 just isn't worth it unless you can take advantage of the hyperthreading. For what you've stated, I don't think you will need it.
Here's a chart from that article, you mentioned you wanted to play Crysis:
Notice with the single HD 4870 X2, that you see only a few FPS difference.
Now if you truly want to see a performance difference in a game that is processor-bound, here's another chart:
Still less than a 5% difference.
Please, by all means, read the rest of the article (some games do show a more dramatic difference); however, I think my point still remains valid. How much extra are you willing to pay for that 5-10% performance increase? For the extra money you are going to drop into an i7-920, X58 setup, you could buy another GPU to crossfire with your HD 4850 (and that my friend should yield better performance gains than just 5-10%). That's really the key here, price vs. performance, and at what point are you no longer breaking even for the money you are sinking into a rig.
You’d do well to run a check at the Windows 7 Compatibility Center of each component you plan on adding to your system…this will keep you ahead of the curve as far as component/OS issues go. Please visit the following link http://bit.ly/4uZDu2
Good luck on the build!
Windows 7 Client Team