Well, i've spent the last several months reading posts and picking out the components that appear to not only work well for a performance/gaming rig, but also come highly recommended. Based on what i've been able to put together, this is what i've come up with.
APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: This weekend, so before 2-20-2010
BUDGET RANGE: I sort of gave up on a budget when I decided I wanted a gaming computer over a walmart brand...but if I spend over $1500, I will be competing with the dog for the cedar filled dog bed.
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, Diablo 3 when it finally drops, LOTRO occasionally and Aion online currently. In addition, I like to play streaming video off the net and watch movies.
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, Mouse, Speakers, Monitor, and most likely the operating System (I have a win 7 64 bit upgrade disk, but not the full version)
Intel Core i7-920 Bloomfield 2.66GHz = $288.89
SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 5850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card w/ATI Eyefinity = $309.99
Hard drive (for the OS and primary gaming program)
Intel X25-M Mainstream SSDSA2M080G2XXX 2.5" 80GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) - OEM = 289.95
COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel = $99.98
Corsair 750w Crossfire/SLI ready high efficiency-low heat power supply = 119.99
Sony Optiarc Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R = $27.99
OS (if the XP to 7 upgrade isn't the best route to go)
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack = $104.99
Grand total comes up to close to 1800. The 2 items I am stuck on are the SSD Intel hard drive, which I will add a standard WD 1Tb drive to later for storage space, and the memory. Is the read/write speed of the SSD worth the extra $200+, or should I save the money and stick with a decent HDD setup? And for the memory, the OCZ comes with some high recommendations, but I can drop to Kingstons to save a LITTLE cash!
If all you want to do is game, I've got a build that will save you a LOT of money...
CPU: i5-750 $200
Mobo: Asus P7P55D-E Pro $190
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $115
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB $90. Faster and cheaper than the WD.
PSU: Siverstone 750W 80+ Bronze $110 after rebate
Case: HAF 922 $90 after rebate
Optical: Cheapest SATA DVD burner you can find $25
GPU: HD 5870 $395
Total: $1,215. You might need the OS if you don't have an available XP license to use the upgrade disc. If you don't have a 1900x monitor, add on the Asus 21.5" model for another $160. Anything less is wasting a great build. As for the SSD, I don't think it's worth it right now. It's a lot faster, but won't help you get any additional FPS.
I considered the i5 setup you have posted. The reason I chose the i7 920 setup is I want to crossfire the 5850's, and from what I understand is that board isn't physically big enough for those cards. The SSD is one of those compelling wants, but the extra cash is hard to justify. ANd I usually choose a WD drive because I have only ever had one fail on me, is the Samsung a quality HDD or will I be replacing it every year?
That's actually wrong. The reason people want the X58 builds for Crossfire is that the PCIe 2.0 slots will work at full speeds. However, the actual difference between Crossfire on P55 and X58 is only 4%. So is that 4% performance really worth the extra $280 ($90 for the CPU, $120 for a similar board and $70 for the RAM) to you?
The Samsung is a quality drive. It's also a LOT faster than the WD. Here are the benchmarks for the 1 TB F3, Seagate 7200.12 and Caviar Black. The 640 GB will have similar speeds.
Thanks for the link on the benchmark testing, the numbers say it all on that one. I called TigerDirect to check availability of parts (since I have an outlet store locally I can pick and go), and the mb you linked is currently out of stock. That might be a limiting factor unless I want to order and wait for delivery.