APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Within a month
BUDGET RANGE: $1000-$1200 After Rebates
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, a lot of photo processing (browsing, editing, and converting large numbers big Canon RAW files), light video editing.
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Any reputable site
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
PARTS PREFERENCES: None, just looking for best price/performance point
OVERCLOCKING: Absolutely. I hear the i5 has a lot of potential.
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe in a couple of years I would buy a second card matching the original, but would a new single card be a better upgrade at that point?
MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1200
I am looking for that “best value” sweet spot where you get 90% of the performance but not much in the way of bragging rights. I want to be able to play games like Crysis on high settings, but I don’t think I mind lower resolutions (can you tell the difference between 1024x768 and 1920x1200 on a 24in screen?). I am especially interested in adivce that will help me identify bottlenecks and balance the machine without increasing cost too much. I am open to major compenet shifts (i.e. switch to AMD, i7). This is the first machine I have built. I have done a lot of research, but would really appreciate any input, even if just to say "looks good!", before I actually start sinking money.
Swap the Hitachi hard drive for a same sized Samsung Spinpoint F3. If you plan on overclocking then you need an aftermarket heatsink, try the Titan Fenrir (that can get the I5 to about 3.8GHZ). Also if you can afford it, get some memory on the next speed level (1600 MHz not 1333 MHz), it will certainly help the speed of things in your system, especially if youre editing video.
I'd recommend the 5850 over the 5870 to maintain that "sweet spot" you mentioned. There just isn't a justifiable performance boost for the extra cost. Use the money to get the better memory as was previously suggested.
I want to be able to play games like Crysis on high settings, but I don’t think I mind lower resolutions (can you tell the difference between 1024x768 and 1920x1200 on a 24in screen?).
Yes you will notice a HUGE difference. You'll want to run everything at your monitor's native resolution for the best performance.
Hard Drives - Check out the performance charts and pick whatever 500 GB per platter drive performs best under your usage patterns. The 2 TB WD Black and LX from Seagate are 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):
I think I'm really liking this design you've helped me come up with, but it's getting a little over budget (currently $1,262). I already decided I could settle for a 500GB HDD, but where else can I save money?
Case and PSU: I switched these, but I'm really not sure what is to be gained by the changes. I thought the OCZ was a decent brand with sufficient power. Do you think I would have trouble fitting all of the components in the original Centurion case (or the similarly priced Antec 300)? I don't mind missing out on convienient bells and whistles like tooless design. Am I missing any important case/PSU considerations?
MoBo: I'm not sure what I gain by using the better board. Also, the Newegg price savings on open box boards are significant, has anyone had a good/bad experience with them?
Final option: tell my wife $1200 just isn't enough for a good (ahem) "family video editing platform".
I still think you would be better off and probably be with in budget if you Switch to the Hyper 212 combo (it is not loud at all I have on in a HAF922 and can barely hear anything). Also do you really need a card reader? Just get a USB Card reader down the line....