May Build, need insight


I'm planning a new system build for May, something I couldn't do last year due to unexpected job-related financial reasons. With a new job comes new possibilities. I'm selecting high-end components for now, because every time I've built a PC in the past, I had to make certain compromises. In having a financial stability I haven't had in the past, I hope to build at least one system that I can be proud of (kind of a personal thing, versus logical common sense). First I'll go over what I plan on using the system for, then I'll overview the components I've selected.

I'm a hobbyist programmer interested in automated program design, in short, I write programs that write programs. I want to start a new section of research that's always been beyond my capacity due to not being able to get a hold of the most recent hardware; in order to stay up to date on the programming end, your hardware needs to be pretty decent, too. As a point of reference: I cannot even play half-life on my current system.

I code in Visual C#, which means my best bet for code will be XNA 3.1 with the .NET Framework version 3.5. While this in and of itself means I'll have to be careful on the code end of things (since managed architectures are slower), it should still allow me to utilize enough graphical capacity to learn the ropes of 3D games programming.

Here are the components as I've selected so far, mind you I hope to actually be able to play a game on my system, so it's not all just research:
Case            :   $369.99 - LIAN LI PC-P80 Black Aluminum ATX
                              Full Tower Computer Case
Motherboard     :   $449.99 - ASUS P6T7 WS Supercomputer "Ultimate 
                              Gamer" choose 3Way SLI + PhysX at 
                              Real X16 X58 CEB Intel Motherboard
Video Cards     : $1,169.97 - 3x Galaxy 85TGF1HU1QUZ GeForce GTX 285 1GB
                              512-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP
                              Ready SLI Support Video Card
Power Supply    :   $399.99 - Thermaltake Toughpower W0133RU 1200W ATX12V
                              / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS
                              Certified Modular Active PFC
                              Power Supply
Processor       :   $989.99 - Intel Core i7-975 Extreme Edition Bloomfield
                              3.33GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor
                              Model BX80601975
Hard Drive      :   $599.00 - Intel X25-M Mainstream SSDSA2M160G2R5 2.5"
                              160GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State
                              Drive (SSD)
Memory          : $1,199.97 - 3x G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin
                              DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop
                              Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBRL
Optical Drive   :    $31.99 - LITE-ON Black 24X DVD Writer Black SATA Model
                              iHAS424-98 LightScribe Support 
Operating System:   $179.99 - Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit 1-Pack for
                              System Builders

Total           : $5,390.88
I realize the total is nonsensically high; however, that's why I'm posting it here, start high and work my way to something more reasonable. If my numbers are right, I should be saving about 2,339.33 per month (low estimate, my bills are less than the estimated 850 a month). So, I'm not terribly worried about the price point. With XNA as it stands, I probably won't be able to use the full functionality of DirectX 11, so the cards selected don't support it. If possible, I'd like to get something that does support it since I don't upgrade but once every 4-6 years.

Suggestions welcome.
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  1. WOW... like you said and realize it is a great build but far from cost effective. i will attempt to keep it as high end while improving bag for buck.

    First off, throw the GTX285s out. you will have a better luck with 2 5970 they will eat less power, take less space, give you way more features(like full DX11), and cost about the same.

    i would throttle back the RAM. you wont see a difference. Toms themselves showed they could only max out 24Gigs of Ram using like 6 virtual machines. here is the thing 1600mhz is slow by going to 12 Gigabytes you can have faster ram just less of it.

    ummm Blu-ray??? on a 5k+ build i find it hard to believe there is at least no blu ray player.

    CPU cooler? you could go with a small water loop. Corsair makes one that cost $80 and should do the job perfectly.

    On your motherboard, this is a tough one to complain about but for $450 it doesn't even have USB3.0 and SATA 6G i am not saying you need to step down just get a board with better features. how about.....

    Next, with one GPU gone you can install a sound card. any build this high end deserves at least a $100 sound card. for gaming i would say creative and for general audio/movies Asus. you decide which is more important to you

    i would also add a 1TB HDD just as a slave drive for any music/movies/data you dont need on the SSD.

    if you were hoping to save a bit the Core I7 960, 950, or even 920 can easily be overclocked to equal the 975

    whether or not you take my advice is up to you. you have a great build either way and you should be extremely proud!

    Hope this helps and Happy building!!!
  2. I cant imagine that 24GB will be anything other than a power waste/heat generator. Maybe you should consider 12GB to start with. In a few months the memory market will likely have changed some so different models may be preferable.

    I dont know of anyone recommending a i7 975 when you can easily get a 920 and overclock it to the same performance with a good air cooler.

    By May the new Nvidia 470 and 480 graphics cards should be out to replace the 285 and have DX11. You will need to re-evaluate a couple weeks before you are ready to buy. By then USB3 will be even more common on motherboards so a newer motherboard model might be mroe desireable.
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