APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Purchasing around 2-3 weeks when I get the money
BUDGET RANGE: End Budget: ~$1100
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Primarily Gaming
PARTS NOT REQUIRED:
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg
PARTS PREFERENCES: Reliable Brands
OVERCLOCKING: Maybe, SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Crossfire - Yes in the future
MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920 x 1080
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Looking for cheaper but reliable alternatives. Would kind of like a cheaper case while maintaining a decent appearence (Mild LEDs, good cooling, not too bland and cheap looking).
That motherboard is not ideal for crossfire. Yes, I know it says it supports it, but look at the PCIe 2.0 16x slots: One runs at the full 16x, while the other runs at 4x. In terms of crossfire performance, the 16x/4x configuration is not as good as the 8x/8x configuration.
It's not huge, about a 10% difference, but still a noticeable performance hit. Notice too, that these tests were performed with a pair of HD 4850s, and the HD 5770 is more powerful still. If you can squeeze it into your budget, try to get a motherboard which supports 8x/8x on the two PCIe 2.0 16x sockets. The cheapest one that I found on NewEgg was this GIGABYTE GA-MA790GPT-UD3H.
For a case, how about this CoolerMaster RC-690. Great airflow, quality brand, cheaper, and a very sharp-looking case. I own a CM HAF 932, and the LED light on the front fan is a very nice effect from CoolerMaster, nice little accent, not too overdone. The overall noise level depends on the quality of the fans (and how many) you put into it. It comes with three 120mm fans, and has space for up to 7. On my HAF 932 the coolermaster fans are very quiet, so I would imagine that with the stock fans you will still get good airflow without too much noise.
Thanks for the advice, if the Antec 300 illusion got in stock again, I should be able to have enough budget room for a better MB. Unfortunately the 300 Illusion is out of stock atm.
That's a nice looking case too. It's basically just the Antec 300 with two additional LED front fans (and they add LEDs to the top fan too). Still an extra two fans for $15 is a very good deal.
You could go for the regular Antec 300 and then pop in your own fans. It will cost you a little more, but then you can choose your color, and the fans themselves (how much airflow you want, how quiet they need to be, etc). The Antec TriCool fans are reasonably quiet, but you can certainly find ones which perform better and put out less noise (but you will have to pay more for it).
Agree with the Antec 300 choice as well. You should be able to find the fans for not a whole lot more than $15. You can also check other sites (tigerdirect or zipzoomfly for example), but I haven't looked to see if it's in stock.
Good catch, nofun. I didn't look too hard at the mobo, but you definitely want at least 8x/8x for Crossfiring in the future...