APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: December/January (Need to sell a $1700 laptop, might buy beforehand though)
BUDGET RANGE: ~$1500 After Rebates (Can probably foot the bill before rebates)
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, Media, Coding, Surfing (College Student)
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: OS, Keyboard, Mouse, Speakers, ~Monitor (Currently have a cheap 25" Hannspree. Thinking of dual screens)
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Don't now enough to have a preference
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: United States - Atlanta, GA
PARTS PREFERENCES: I think I want to go i7, Full Tower Case
OVERCLOCKING: Maybe (Probably)
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe (Depends on best price/performance and longevity)
MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080 or 1920x1200 (Prefer 1920x1200 but not a must)
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I want it fairly quiet. I want this to last a while without needing to be upgraded.
I have a well equipped Sager NP 8662, unfortunately I bought it like a month before the price dropped. Hoping to get at least $1500 out of it, then buy this desktop and a cheap notebook/netbook. It runs great, but I'm a college student and need more battery life. Plus the desktop of the same price will have better performance. I've gotten used to dual screening with the laptop so I probably want another monitor next to my 25". Thanks in advance for any suggestions!
Unless you plan to use Crossfire or SLI, the i7/X58 is superfluous (and even then the costs arguably outweigh the benefits).
i5-750 (Walk into microcenter and get it for $150 http://www.microcenter.com/at_the_stores/index.html)
HD 5850 or 5870
G.SKILL Ripjaw DDR3 1333 (7-7-7-??)
Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB
550W OCZ Fatal1ty (good MIR now = $40)
CM HAF 932 or CM HAF 922 or Antec 900 or Antec 1200
Under $1500 no problem
You could actually get an HD5970 and still be around your budget, but it will sound like a microwave under strain without watercooling. You will also need to upgrade to a larger PSU.
Under synthetic reviews, the x58 architecture gives a 7% performance increase with two 4870 X2 cards. 7% for about $100 extra in Mobo and CPU. In real world applications, the numbers are sometimes a little better, usually not as good. This is also with two dual-GPU cards that really really demand the 16x PCI lanes.
Intel will support the 1156 socket for another year (although we don't know what kind of upgrades, if any, the chipset will receive), while the 1366 will support the i9 Gulftown cores (though they will be expensive upon release as they are targeted for enthusiasts).
Ultimately it's up to you, you do have enough room in your budget, but it will save you some money to just go with the i5/P55 setup. In my mind, the i7 doesn't really help THAT much for gaming to justify the extra costs (even with a truly massive Crossfire setup). The i5/P55 also uses about 45W less power, which requires less cooling, which means slower fans, which means a quieter/cooler system. Also, the i5 still overclocks like a champ.
As far as futureproofing your rig ("minimal obsolescence" is a better term ), yes the 1366 architecture will support the Gulftown cores; however, Intel will also support the 1156 socket for another year too. Besides, an i5 is plenty of power for a gaming rig, and should deliver decent performance for the next 4 years or so.