BUDGET RANGE: ca. 1200$ I think (1650$ explained later), don't think rebates is a factor
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, anything that grabs my interest in 3-4 years, I think surfing, film etc will be more than covered by a gaming pc, All Points Bulletin is the most immediate game I have in my sights.
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Don't have all that to spend so I'm skipping speakers, mouse and keyboard this time, though that Cyborg R.A.T looks awesome. OS will be Windows 7 64-bit, and monitor will almost certainly be the Samsung xl2370, so I don't think I need help there.
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: I don't live in the US so I won't use any stores most of you know, like newegg etc
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Norway
PARTS PREFERENCES:Think I'm going with AMD and ATI, they seem to be the best choice this year
OVERCLOCKING: Probably later to keep up with potential CF Maybe SLI OR CROSSFIRE:To upgrade my computer in a couple of years I might Crossfire, but not at start.
MONITOR RESOLUTION: I think Samsung Syncmaster xl2370 has 1920x1080
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I live in Norway, and importing from other countries results in extra taxes and warranty issues so that's probably not a good idea. The thing is that while I've been told hardware prices in Norway aren't that bad, we have, among other things a 25% VAT (thanks to our communist government) and a little steeper prices on almost everything so although I have ca. 1650$ to spend excluding monitor and OS, it results in what Americans could get for ca. 12-1300$ I believe.
I realise I seem like a douche by doing this, but I made a thread on a Norwegian hardware forum but decided I wanted more input. I got some help there, and one guy in particular was very helpful, but the whole thing is kind of going downhill, it's not half as active as this, and when I'm investing over a grand in something I want to be sure. I have a template which is think is pretty okay, but I want to see if anyone have better suggestions. Note that G.skill which seems to be a prefered ram on this forum isn't very available in Norway, other than some 3-400$ stuff which seem grossly overpriced.
CPU: AMD x4 955 BE (965 seems to be a slightly clocked version for more money so 955 seems more reasonable, and the hexacores coming soon seem to be of little use to gaming)
GPU: ATI Radeon HD 5870 Vapor-X (probably to be crossfired later, in Norway the Vapor-x version is barely more expensive than the normal 5870 so the Vapor-X is best, no?)
PSU: Corsar TX 750W (I think HX is the modular version, but if modular only means easier cables I don't think it's worth the extra price of TX)
HD: Western Digital Caviar Green 1 TB 32 MB Cache (is there a better, inexpensive 1 TB HD?)
SSD: Intel X25-V (40 GB, enough for Windows 7 64-bit OS and one game I think)
Ram: Corsair XMS3 DDR3-1600 CL9 4 GB ( 2x2 GB ) (as said, there's no G.Skill available)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-790FXTA-UD5 (looks like UD3-4-5 are the best for an AMD build, not sure about the difference between the three, but can this support Crossfire etc?)
CPU cooler: Xigmatek HDT-S1284 (I think I need a custom cooler for eventuall overclocking, no? Is this one efficient and quiet? I saw a more popular Noctua but it cost twice as much)
Case: Fractal Design Define R2 Black Pearl (seems cold, quiet, updated, minimalistic and cheap. I've seen at Antec p183/p193, but they don't look much better and seem to have less up-to-date solutions (HD drives, black interior, smart solutions etc.) CM Haf 922/932 also seems worth consideration, but I don't like my current Coolermaster case or the whole "blind me with LED lights please" appeal. I was originally going for a Lian Li, but the competitively priced ones seem too small and the seemingly great ones seem too pricey.)
Hope you guys can help me out . A few more general questions in addition: Do you think a 750W PSU is enough for my potential system with 2x 5870 Vapor-Xs in CF and an overclocked 955? As you can see I'm not sure when I'll buy other than it'll probably be before summer, but I'm kind of anxious about new, better stuff coming soon. Radeon 5870 has been around for a half year now, does ATI intend to replace it soon? Don't think Thuban is worth it, but is there anything other than that I should wait for? Anything else I should know or consider?
You can get a very good modular PSU like Antec TruePower 650W NEW series, Corsair CMPSU-650HX those can power a crossfire OC configuration. For the HDD I would get the Samsung Spinpoint F3. RAM - you can also get Kingston HyperX Black Edition 4GB DDR3 1600MHz CL9 (anyway, the lower the voltage, the better), For the case you should also check the Zalman MS1000-HS1 and HS2 and the Lancool PC-K58 and PC-K62 (Lian Li).
Seems I didn't get many replies, guess my title wasn't attractive enough (and I can't seem to edit thread title..) but thanks mosox. Hopefully this bump will get me more replies, as I've done a lot of thinking.
Firstly, I think I'm going with Antec Truepower Quattro 850W for PSU. It's not much more expensive than Corsair TX 850W, got pretty good reviews, is mostly modular and people over at Overclockers suggest that Corsair PSU aren't that awesome anymore (outdated and overrated.) There's no earthwatts model available over here unfortunately, and Seasonics/Antec Signature is really expensive. There are some truepower models here, but none have "new" in their name.
I'm dropping a custom CPU cooler, the stock 955 cooler is apparently pretty good and enough for a little overclocking.
Going with the Samsung F3 1TB, looks great. As I've said in another thread, I'm going to wait with the SSD business until prices fall.
About RAM I actually found some fair g.skill over here;
G.SKILL Ripjaws 4GB DDR3 Kit (2x2GB) PC310666 1333MHz 7-7-7-21 CL7
No valid PI/ECO models here, but this one seems fair, no? I can get a 1600 MHZ version, but I think I've read AMD/Gigabyte MOBOs don't support 1600 Mhz, and will automatically downgrade to 1333 anyway.
I'm currently debating two builds (in short their CPU/MOBO):
Gigabyte GA-790FXTA-UD5 (possibly wait for 890FX)
Asus P6T SE
i7 930 (have heard 930/i7 uses tripe channel ram instead of dual channel, is there any way to tell from RAM names, like the one listed, how many channels there are, and is triple channel necessary for 930 and more expensive than normal RAM?)
Will I, as a gamer/surfer/movie watcher notice much difference between 930 and 955? I think the stock speed of 930 is worse than 955, does this mean that 930 is slower than 955 unless I overclock (which would necessitate an custom cooler?)
Also trying to choose between a few cases;
Corsair 700D (looks awesome, but seems to have awful air flow and is very expensive, don't think airflow is a problem with my pretty efficient system until I ev. crossfire, when I can get custom fans)
Fractal Design Define R2 (looks cool, very silent, ridiculously cheap, but kinda warm and lackluster Q/C)
Silverstone FT02 (looks okay if not as good as others, interesting design, very cold, very quiet but expensive)
Many Lian Li cases, mainly pc-b10 and 2010 models which will arrive gods know when (usually look fantastic if not that much better than Fractal r2, aluminium build, quality brand, fairly quiet, fairly cold, but very expensive, often non-black interior)
If I get the 930+p6t se combo rather than 955+ud4/5 I can't afford an expensive Lian li/Silverstone/Corsair case and will probably buy Fractal r2. The expensive cases look good, but are probably not worth the huge price premium, but then again they also last longer than other parts.
I know I have loads of difficult/subjective questions, but this is about a considerable amount of money and I love second opinions.
Thanks, going with the AMD then unless there are other opinions. Read a little more and of people with just a single 5850 and still getting too hot in Corsair 800d (don't think 700d has improved airflow...) Unless I get more replies, I'll probably go with 955 and Silverstone ft02, don't think I can get much disappointment from that route.
Since there's no more replies I'll conclude that there's not much improvement possible. Think I'll go with the Obsidian 700D, while the FT02 is pretty okay and the design seems very smart (giant, silent fans at the bottom etc), I kind of prefer the outside and inside of the Corsairs better. FT02 is probably more silent, but I don't think that's an issue with Corsair either. The only remaining issue is the stock airflow stuff. On one hand there are negative tests and tons of discussions about how default airflow sucks, but I've also seen many great tests (where the default Obsidian 800D even beats FT02 in cooling oddly enough) and people who swear that the default 800D is the best, coldest case they've had. Think I'm going Corsair.
Zalman MS1000-HS2 does indeed look pretty sweet, if not as updated on the inside, but I only find one store here which carries it and it's not much cheaper than the 700D. If it was the equivalent of say 200$ I might go for it, but when there's such a small difference. Really like Zalman's exterior designs I must say, even if there's a lot of plastic.
Really considered the k62 alongside the Fractal r2 I mentioned, seemed a great all around case and was very cheap, but I don't really like the mesh look much. The Antec P18-190 series is what the Fractal is modelled on, and is very similar in the performance/silent department,but is more updated (tool-less, black interior etc) and looks better to me.
Think it's going to be the 700D. If the air cooling is sufficient or even great as some say, then good, but if it's not I don't think my build will instantly overheat or anything, and I can eventually buy a new fan or two.
Decided to drop the 5970 option, and have a pretty different build made up now. Think I'll buy it in 2-3 weeks while keeping an eye out for new releases.
PSU - Corsair TX 650W (reasoning: I can afford the HX 650 but I don't need modular since I'm investing in a case I'm told is huge, and I don't need more than 650W since I'm probably not doing crossfire.)
HD - Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 1 TB (often recommended by people like MadAdmiral, seems cooler and quieter than the Spinpoint F3, and while a little worse at some tasks it's better at games supposedly. Dropping the SSD.)
CPU - i5 750 (equal in price as 955 and cheaper than 965, beats the 955 in some games yet is worse in others, is better at non-gaming tasks. The AM3 "future-proof" argument seems to be rendered invalid by the fact that Bulldozer in 1-2 years will be completely different from normal CPUs and have a different socket.)
GPU - 5870 Vapor-X (cooler and quieter than reference 5870s and here it's just barely more expensive than Asus normal 5870, voltage control is lacking but I have no overclocking experience etc. I could save like 20$ by getting the normal Sapphire 5870, but I'm told Sapphire takes the best cards and makes them Vapor-X and the worse cards become reference.)
Mobo - Asus P7P55D-E PRO(recommended by many for the i5 750, seems a good card, kinda expensive for a non-dual x16 card but...)
Case - Corsair Obsidian 700D (great size, looks cool, quiet, easy to build in. An investment that can last, if kinda expensive. If the people who say stock air cooling is great are right, then it seems to be a better looking alternative to the Silverstone FT02, if the people who say air cooling is bad are right, I can add a couple of new fans later.)
Ram - Mushkin DDR3 4GB Redline PC3-12800 1600MHz (seems a good, recommended by someone at overclock.net, slightly more expensive than the G.skill Ripjaws I found but that one seemed a little outdated and I've found no Pi/Eco series over here.)
I'm not going for crossfire for two reasons. Firstly, if I understand Bulldozer/Intel equivalent in 2011/12 right, it seems to be some kind of merge between CPU and GPU, rendering normal cards outdated perhaps? Secondly, when I bought my GPU for my current system in late 2007, the 8800 GTS was the card of choice, the 8800 GT being soldout everywhere and the 8800 GTX being the high-end alternative. Now I don't think any online store sells the 8800 GTS any more, and the few older cards I've seen around aren't that cheap. In addition I don't think a dual 8800 GTS build would be an awfully good upgrade right now.