Approximate cost: $1012, not including case fans, misc hardware, and peripherals.
I'm building this rig to replace a dying AMD Athlon XP 2900+ with a GeForce 6600GT and 1Gb of DDR ram. Obviously, this rig would be a dramatic improvement over my existing system, so while I know that this would be a fairly weak gaming system, I really don't care. It'll do. What I'm looking for is any input on the components I chose. Especially:
1. The mobo & psu both state that they're crossfire ready. I know nothing about crossfire or sli, and despite a crash course over the last couple of days, am still not clear on all the details. This mobo lists specs as 3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots, then goes on to say there's one at x16, one at x8, and one at x4. Is that normal? Will crossfire work properly when I eventually get a second card, or is it going to be gimped?
2. I read somewhere that Intel P55 boards can't stably handle memory that needs 1.65V or higher, but now I can't find that article. This memory needs 1.65V - will it work? Was that article full of it? (please be yes)edit : just re-read the specs and right there, plain as day is "Specifically Designed to compatible with Intel Core i5 and Core i7 for Intel P55 motherboard".
3. I'm a little concerned about clearances. I've read a few reviews of the mobo that say it's a very tight fit to squeeze the HSF in with the RAM so close. A couple of reviews mentioned the specific HSF that I'm using with this mobo and said it fit, but they all had RAM whose heat spreaders didn't have giant stupid teeth sticking up into the air. Can anybody comment on whether it'll all fit together?
4. Not entirely convinced on the 4890. I've been poring over reviews, and it seems to be a solid performer for the cost. Performance is usually better than the stock 57xx series but less than the stock 58xx line, while it outperforms the lower end GTX 260s but lags behind the higher end 260s. Outperforms everything I've been able to find at the same price point, anyway. But there aren't many of them to be found. I'm concerned I won't be able to find another when I'm ready to go crossfire, and I really can't pony up another $200 now.
5. While I would prefer not to go any higher in price, any reduction in price without a drastic reduction in performance would be fantastical. The only things that I can immediately think of to reduce price w/o a reduction in performance would be to change the case and the psu. The case I'm actually going to get used, for a significant reduction, and I think that the 2 included 23cm fans will move enough air quietly enough to do away with having to buy a couple of case fans. That should offset any savings I'd get from buying some dirt-cheap box and the attendant fans. The psu is already fairly cheap for its rating - I'd prefer not to go with some off-brand with it - that was my tendency for years, and I've got probably 5-6 blown psus in my junk pile to show for it. Rosewill's had a bad reputation in the past, but this particular line has gotten some pretty good reviews. As for the rest, I'd prefer to stick to the more reputable manufacturers than go with some no-name brand to save a buck. If there's a cheaper, comparable alternative from a quality manufacturer for any of my parts, please advise!
1.) It's kind of normal. Most boards only have two PCIe 2.0 slots. They usually operate at 8x/8x in Crossfire (which is the second 8x). The board you picked is saying the last slot only operates at 4x, which means it's useless.
2.) That line doesn't mean anything. But those sticks will work just great.
3.) No idea. You'd have to find some pictures or Google it to know for sure.
4.) I wouldn't get the 4890. I'll get to that in my changes below.
5.) There's a reason the PSU is cheap. It's a POS. You don't want to pick a PSU based solely on it's price.
Changes to the build:
I highly recommend going with AMD in your price range. It's cheaper, and will have absolutley no impact on gaming (if you stay with the same card). The reason I would go with it is that you can easily get a much better card with the AMD build.
In your first post you said "X3 425" and 790-XTA-UD4 ( Could not google a "XTD"
Gigabyte board does not have Sata 6, Just USB3, Ausus board has both - Reason for cost diff I think).
PS - Don't disagree, OP could go for either amd, or intel and would be happy.
As to performance, You are right. Gaming is GPU related, which was his #1 in importance. As to CPU performance, I think the i5 is the beter choice. Ie vedio editing - Not listed by the OP, But important to me, for less than 10% of toal build cost - My choise is still the I5. http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/819/12