If your primary usage is rendering, you don't want to be saddled w/ a gaming card.
As one might expect, the gaming card is carefully impeded and is largely unable to exercise its performance potential when running workstation applications. Our benchmarks show this phenomenon at work clearly and unmistakably.
A Quadro FX 4800 moves up to 10 times faster when running workstation applications than the GeForce GTX 280. This leads swiftly to a clear and inescapable conclusion: there's no good reason to use a GeForce graphics card for workstation applications. It just doesn't pay.
Sound Card - Consider the Asus Zonar cards as an alternate.
Hard Drives - Why different sizes ?
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):
daggs - You're right about the XFX. I have a 5770 on my current system and it's an awesome card. I'm very happy with it. It's dx11ready and the price is great.
The reason I wanted to go with a geforce, is that I can softmod it to have some of the Quadro's capabilities. The Quadros are fantastic cards but they are too rich for my blood. I was planning on buying a cheap geforce in the meantime and upgrade to a dx11 in 6 months. But now I'm thinking of getting the 5770 instead, and then when I upgrade to a geforce I can crossfire it in my other machine.
JackNaylorPE - Thanks for the detailed reply.
The Corsair HX850 looks like a very good PSU. I can't believe I didn't see it before.
As for the GFX, see what I said above. I'm not yet working for a living in the 3d rendering field. Most of the work I am doing is for school and my own art. So while I render a lot, I can't yet justify the cost of getting a quadro until I start making a living on it. I'll have to rely on the 8 cores for most of the rendering for now.
I'm curious about the ASUS Xonars. I did some research and found the same amount of people liking and disliking the card (mostly due to the floppy power supply -- what is that?). I've been using Creative cards all my life. Though I admit I liked the Audigy series better than the current Xi-Fi.
Why do you personally prefer the ASUS card? I wouldn't mind switching for the right reasons.
As far as different hard drive sizes, the smaller one is for windows and a few select software. I've never filled the C: drive over 300gbs, so I didn't think it was worth the money getting a TB and wasting all that space.
I'm not that knowledgeable about the subject. Would getting 2 hardrives of the same capacity give me increased performance?