Hey all, been a few months since I've posted, and I've been focusing on research so that I can make this as easy as possible This is mostly to bounce ideas off of you, the experts, to focus in on parts that are undecided as of yet. I'd like to build a new computer, since both my desktop and my laptop are running on their last legs. It is going to be a multi-purpose build: gaming, school work (including statistical programs), some photoshop, a little audio editting (possibly, and nothing extreme), music, movies, and anything else that may come up (I'd really like to get in on folding). I'd like it to be at least somewhat geared towards future upgrades, and I'll be buying it in chunks as I can (Poor College Kids Anonymous). So here goes:
APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Starting next month, and continuing on for a couple months
BUDGET RANGE: I expect it to hit around 1500 before watercooling - price isn't a huge issue, but I'd like to keep it close and reasonable
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Documents and Spreadsheets, Movies, iTunes, Gaming, Folding, lite Photoshop and Audio editting
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Speakers (heh)
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com, frozencpu.com, performance-pcs.com, anything else with a good recommendation
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Central Coast, California, USA (newegg ships fast here)
PARTS PREFERENCES: have always been an AMD/Nvidia fanboy, but not enough to keep me from getting what is best for what I do
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe in the future
MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080 or 1920x1200
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I am slowly going to be modding the case along a technomancy theme, I plan on adding watercooling as money comes in
Case: Antec 1200 with full acrylic window (pretty set on this guy)
PSU: Corsair 1000HX or Corsair 750HX or XFX 850
CPU: AMD Phenom II 965 125w or Intel i7 920 D0
MOBO: Gigabyte GA-790FXTA-UD5 (AMD) or Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R (Intel)
RAM: GSkill ECO DDR3 1600 2x2Ghz Cas7 (AMD) GSkill DDR3 1600 3x2Ghz Cas9
HDD: WD Caviar Black 1Tb 7200RPM
DVD: ASUS Black DVD Writer
Monitor: ASUS 23" 2ms VH236H
Mouse: OCZ Behemoth
For now I can get by with my current Monitor/Video Card Setup (Samsung Syncmaster 19" 914v/XFX 7950GT) - I'll probably go with XFX 5770 XXX in the future, possibly XFire.
All in all, this should put me around 1500 (before vid card, watercooling, etc.) with the OS (Windows7). The major questions here are: Is the Intel setup really worth it for the extra money? Planning for the future, which of these PSUs are best? Are any of these products just absolutely horrible decisions, and what would you all recommend instead? I thank you all humbly in advance. TH is always helpful, whether I post or not, haha.
I voted 920, but its higher tdp, higher heat (both cpu and nb), higher energy costs, higher initial build costs don't translate into any performance boosts over the 860. At stock speeds the 860 out performs it across the board. Unless you disable turbo boost (which many do) it'll still out perform the 920 at equal overclocked speeds. Both cpus with HT off, Turbo off, C-States disabled will perform virtually the same, as should be expected.
Even its epeen appeal is starting to dull as people realize the 1156 overclocks easier, with less volts, and with more stability.
As far as AMD goes, it's not in the same league for general computing as the Intels. Gaming they'll all perform the same given at least 3.4-3.6ish oc.
The i7-920 beats any PII in almost every area besides gaming, where the work shifts to the GPU. However like litlefox said, the extra costs of a 920 build will be higher. You should be thinking $300 more, due to the extra cost for the CPU, mobo and triple-channel RAM. Hence litlefox's suggestion for the i7-860. The switch to LGA 1156 (which the 860 uses) will save you about $200 compared to a similar 920 build.
Between an i7-860 and the PII 965, I would go for the i7 (the 955 is recommended over the 965 anyway, because it costs $20 less and can be overclocked to the point where the initial 200MHz difference between them doesn't matter). The 860 has that makes up for the ~$100 price difference because it has hyper-threading, which the 955/965 lacks. HT will give you a significant perf boost in photoshopping, audio editing, and folding. Now personally, I admit that I prefer an Intel/ATI build, but not arbitrarily. Intel has been a step ahead of AMD for a while now, and ATI dominates the GPU market across the board in terms of perf/$ (EDIT: though this may change with the arrival of Fermi). If you don't believe me, do a little research and read some reviews.
The Corsair 750HX will be sufficient for a 5770 CF setup, no need for a more powerful one unless you want two 5870s in CF or a higher-end Nvidia card (read: gtx 275, 280, 285, 295) in SLI. If you're worried about "future-proofing", an 850W would be fine, although I wouldn't go for a XFX. Antec, Corsair, OCZ, PC Power & Cooling, and Seasonic are recommended for PSUs.
Lastly, WD has been falling behind lately. Currently the HDD to have is the Samsung Spinpoint F3. If it's out of stock, a Seagate 7200.12 will perform similarly. Both will perform better than a similarly priced WD.
The reason I hadn't considered Socket 1156, is because I while back I had read that Intel was going to be introducing new platforms on the 1366 and I got the impression that 1156 wasn't going anywhere in the future. I guess overall it doesn't really matter though, because I'm building the system now and not in some unknown future.
As far as PSUs go, I had heard great things about Corsair across the board, and JoynnyGuru writes a stellar review of the XFX. My major worry about wattage is that I'd like to have a buffer from the upper limit, so I'm trying to plan ahead - i7 860 or AMD 965, with possible dual 5770s, watercooling the lot, around 10 fans, some ccfls, and a couple other odds and ends - just trying to make sure that I don't come too close to the upper limit.
Again, thanks to everyone. TH always gets me to learn about 20 new things a day