I'm putting together a system piecemeal as I find good deals over the holidays. My goal is a mid-range Win7 gaming system, and I need some help picking out a motherboard and some RAM. Some assumptions:
* I've settled on the i5-760 CPU, and I have a MicroCenter nearby.
* I don't expect to run SLI, so I don't care to pay more for a motherboard that will allow it.
* I may overclock if it's easy and stable but I'm not an extreme overclocker, and I don't intend to spend much on extra cooling.
* I value stability over a few extra FPS in performance, so I'd prefer a mature motherboard over the latest and greatest. (For this reason I will probably not wait for Sandy Bridge, although I'm not 100% on this decision yet.)
* I've budgeted about $400 for the CPU + motherboard + memory, but would be happy to pay less.
* For legacy reasons I would like a Firewire controller on-board the motherboard, but I can get an add-on card if necessary.
I'll be cannibalizing my old system for some parts, including a 500W PS and a 1TB data drive. Other than that, I have bought so far:
Video: one Palit GeForce GTX 460 1GB 256-bit GDDR5
Main drive: Corsair Force 2.5" 120GB SATA II MLC Internal SSD
1. What is a good motherboard/memory combo given my preferences above (no SLI needed, overclocking potential good but not overriding, Firewire would be nice)?
2. Should I be concerned with buying memory in a 3x configuration (as opposed to 2x) with a motherboard for the i5 core?
Thanks! That ASUS P7P55D-E LX LGA may fit the bill, as it's cheaper than the Gigabyte and has only one PCIe slot. No firewire, unfortunately, but maybe I'll just have to get an expansion.
Both of the 4GB (2x2) memory modules you two have listed are more expensive than the 6GB (3x2) I noted above. Is there a reason I should prefer those to the Kingston if I don't plan to heavily overclock?
All components were purchased from Newegg around Thanksgiving and the first week of the Christmas season, so the time of year probably explains the great deals.
It's been a good system for the most part. The SSD screams; I can boot and start using apps in 30 seconds or less. The only downside has been some occasional instability where the video driver will repeatedly crash even when there's no activity. I have to shut the computer down cold to make it stop, but I haven't isolated the problem.
I'm not currently overclocking the CPU, but I have the cooling to spare if I choose to do so. That CPU fan is a monster.
I don't think the stability issue is related to GPU heat issues; it most often occurs while the GPU is practically idle. It might be defective memory on the video card, or it could be a driver issue. I can't be more specific yet, but if I discover the source I'll post an update.