APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE:Within 14 days, taxes are filed, waiting on returnBUDGET RANGE:$2,000ishAfter Rebates
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT:Majority gaming, trying to return to 3D modeling after a decade.
PARTS NOT REQUIRED:keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS:no prefered website, but all my initial research is based off Amazon/NeweggCOUNTRY OF ORIGIN:WI, USA
PARTS PREFERENCES:I am open to all suggestions, but I've followed several of the 860 vs. 920 debates in various threads. I have decided to pursue the 920 for future growth regardless of certain advantags to the 860's performance.
OVERCLOCKING: Yes SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Yes, but not for another year or so.
MONITOR RESOLUTION:I have two widescreen monitors, but I can't remember their models. One runs at 1680x1050, the other is slightly larger but I will probably keep them uniform between the highest shared resolution.
First and foremost, I would like to say that I have a strong aversion to spending money. However, circumstances dictate that I finally build a new system. The last PC i built was in 2004 and I've milked it along this long with minor upgrades here and there to keep it running. The only game I've played in the last few years was WoW, and fortunately the system requirements for that were so minimal that it allowed me to continue using my antiquated hardware without much penalty.
Over the past few months, I've spent more and more time trying to fix my existing hardware and getting it to limp along than I have in utilizing it for something productive or entertaining. Also to boot, I've spent the better part of the last year TALKING about building a new system, that my coworkers and social peers have all but committed to building me the system themselves just to shut me up.
All that being said... I miss being able to play current release games. I would also like a machine capable of performing the number crunching necessary for rendering 3D stills in Maya, Photoshop, etc.
I've tried to select pieces from the various threads I've read, but there are several components I feel can be improved upon. I don't really understand the x-x-x numbers for memory selection, but I assumed the lower the number, the better and based my selection off that. However, that became extremely cost prohibitive with the larger amount of memory. Is this a statistical improvement or should i prioritize lower CAS latency? For motherboard, I selected the premium so that I could get the 3.0 USB and unthrottled 2x16x Xfire. I'm at a loss on the case because I don't really care for windows and flashy lights, nor am I a big fan of full tower cases due to their restrictive size, but I understand the need for airflow and accomodating the oversized GPU. I want SSD for my OS drive and games to decrease load times, but I don't forsee myself playing more than one or two games at a time so needing a LOT of space is unncessary; should I still wait for more TRIM options? I would like a modular PSU as I've had a notorious time in the past with cable management.
These are all the rough notes I can think of regarding this purchase. I apologize for the less than focused onslaught of rambling info. The fact is, I've been pondering the idea of a new purchase for a year now and found several reasons to keep delaying it. I have been visiting tomshardware forums for almost 6 months and following various builds in spurts of research time. I've become overwhelmed with the various threads I've read and I'm hoping that creating my own thread will finally allow me a more concise path to finally completing the purchase. Not only will I be grateful, but my friends who are tired of me talking about building a new computer will also thank you.
Case: I am a really, really big fan of the CoolerMaster HAF cases. If you don't want a full tower, the COOLER MASTER HAF 922 is a very viable alternative. Currently $89.98. It's shorter, but a bit wider than the HAF 932, and has a great built in cable management system (has a little compartment behind the MoBo to route cables through). Great airflow, great layout - definitely worth considering.
Restatement3dOfTed, thank you very much for your reply.
Cooler: you're going to OC, but is there a reason you've picked the Thermalright, rather than something like COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 compatible RR-B10-212P-G1 120mm "heatpipe direct contact" Long life sleeve CPU Cooler - Retail - $29.99. For the price, it really can't be beat. It isn't the most extreme cooler out there, but it will more than do the job for your needs.
HDDs: Why 2x 500GB instead of a single SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive? It'd save you a few bucks going with the 1TB drive, unless you have a specific reason for going with two smaller drives.
My template listed prices for Newegg vs. Amazon, which is why I have double listings of the same piece of hardware. I had no intent of purchasing 2x 500gb HDs. Between all my various IDE and SATA drives, I have well over 4TBs of storage, but I'd like to keep a smaller volume in my production system, which will hopefully force me to copy off files for backup and organization to one of those drives.
I'll probably stick with the modular PSU, but will definitely pursue the case recommendation.
Another question that came to mind, the general consensus is that the i7-920 d0 core step is the de facto batch for OC'ing. Based on the Intel CPU tech sheet, the model being sold at Newegg is that specific model, but can I take this as an assure I will really receive that d0 model? Or should I pursue a site that definitively states they will ship a d0 CPU? Has anyone had experience with this?
At this point, I have received my tax return and have set a deadline of Thursday to order the components. I'll probably do a final comparison between Amazon/Newegg to see how much shipping will impact the end price and then go from there.
Restatement3dOfTed's advice is good. I'm a big fan of the Hyper 212+ as a cooler; it's really very good, especially for $30.
Also, it's maybe the most oft-repeated advice around here, but it's worth mentioning that if you live near a Micro Center, you can get the CPU for $230. At any rate, they're probably all D0 at this point, I would think. Don't quote me on that though.
Unless 80 GB is exactly in the sweet spot for you storage-wise, you might also consider the OCZ Vertex 60GB for $210 after rebate, or the Vertex 120GB for $360 after rebate. (I've got the 120GB model, and it's awesome.)
Finally, unless that Asus mobo has features you really want, you might check out some of the less-expensive X58 boards out there. I've got the ASRock X58 Extreme, and it's worked like a charm so far. (In case you're worried about its overclocking capability, I've been stable @3.6 GHz for at least a month now.)