This gaming build will be my first building project. I've tried to read a lot, but I still feel unsure. My budget is about $2000 but what's written below is all that gets me here in Sweden. I'll just present to you what I've planned to buy and if you see something that could be improved, or if something is unnecessary, please tell me!
I have a lot of questions but I'll start with what I've planned to buy:
Crucial BallistiX DDR3 1600MHz 2x2GB CL8
2x WD Caviar Black 640GB WD6401AALS
Sony NEC Optiarc AD-7240S
2x Vertex 3D Radeon 5850
Antec Two hundred
And now for the questions!
1. Will the pieces I've chosen work together?
2. Are there any potential bottlenecks?
3. Is 850w PSU enough?
4a. Is it worth it to get faster HDDs?
4b. I'm not quite sure about what RAID does but I've heard that it's good performance-wise, could I setup raid with these disks?
4c. I also read something about partitioning your WD Caviar black into a 320gb partition and leaving the other half blank increasing performance. Is this true?
5. I'm unsure about my case, Antec Two hundred. Will everything fit? Are the two fans included in the case enough or do I need more?
6. As this is my first attempt to build something myself, do you think it'll be too hard for me?
7. I have a ~10 year old CFT monitor, will buying a new LCD improve performance in any way? I know my CFT was really good when I bought it, but I don't know how to compare my old monitor to the new LCD screens, what matters? Is it resolution? Refresh rate? MS?
CPU: Switch the i7-860 to the i5-750. It's cheaper and just as good.
GPU: Take the money saved on the i5 and (hopefully) upgrade from two 5850s to one 5970.
HDD: WD isn't very good nowdays. Switch those out for either a Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB or Seagate 7200.12 1 TB. RAID isn't very useful IMO.
Case: Upgrade that to the HAF 922. You'll need the extra space.
PSU: You can downgrade that to a 750W.
Mobo: If you upgrade to the 5970, you will never need to Crossfire in this build. Switch to the Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD3. It's cheaper and has USB 3/SATA III. If that doesn't matter to you, get a cheaper 1 PCIe 2.0 slot board.
Answers to the questions:
1.) Yes, but see all of the above.
2.) There is always a bottleneck. Otherwise you'd have an infinite amount of FPS in games...
3.) Definitely. It's actually slight overkill.
4a.) Yes. HDDs are the slowest part of the PC.
4b.) RAID 0 (there are many types of it) puts two separate, equal drives together as one. This keeps the full size of them and increases the speed. However, if you lose one drive to a failure or even an error, you lose everything on both. So you trade faster speeds for a doubled chance to lose everything.
4c.) Yes and no. The WD has 320 GB platters (which makes it slower). HDDs in general are faster the less full they are.
5.) It would be very, very tight. Highly recommend the change above if you pick up the 5970 or an Antec 300 Illusion if you don't change the GPU.
6.) Nope. There is no wrong way to build it.
7.) Yes. All of that is improved. It's like going from a tiny regular TV (not even the flat screen TVs) to a big full HDTV. You'll never even consider going back.