BUDGET RANGE: ~$1800 (including shipping, without including mail in rebates)
System Usage: Digital Painting (Photoshop), A fair amount of 3D modeling/rendering (3D Studio Max, zBrush), Gaming (Bioshock, LFD2, and other steam games)
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Monitors (2 23" LCDs), Keyboard and mouse, Speakers, Tablet
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg, Tigerdirect
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe
MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080 (2 monitors)
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I'm unsure about some of the parts listed below, namely the wireless PCI card, PSU, and MOBO. It's been about 4 years since I've built a computer, so I still need to look into RAID setup for the HDD.
WIRELESS ADAPTER: LINKSYS WMP600N IEEE 802.11a/b/g, IEEE 802.11n PCI Wireless Adapter http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
---> At the moment, wireless is my -only- option. Possibly in the next 6-8 months I will be able to run wired, if we can get the house setup properly
New ones to consider are Noctua NH-D14 and Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme. Later rocks out on 775 socket but haven't seen how it performs on 1366 yet.....The Noctua 's weight of 3 pounds is a little scary. I'm still liking the Prolimatech Megahalems w/ IC Diamond Karat TIM. That Artic Silver stuff takes 200 hours to cure and is outperformed by the IC Diamond stuff and several others.
Hard Drives - Check out the performance charts and pick whatever 500 GB per platter drive performs best under your usage patterns. The WD Black 2 TB is a good choice but at smaller capacities, you are limited to the Seagate 7200.12 or the Spinpoint F3. The 7200.12 excels in gaming, multimedia and pictures whereas the F3 wins at music and movie maker. See the comparisons here (copy past link in manually, link won't work in forum):
Thank you guys for the replies! I just ordered the parts today, with the changes that were suggested. I went with the HAF case to be more aesthetically pleasing, but did pick up the Asus MOBO/RAM/Tuniq Heat Sink. =)