I am going to be building a new gaming computer, but I don't know enough about the current gen of motherboards to make an intelligent choice. I am looking for any and all advice you might have but specifically for the mobo.
My design parameters: it will be used for gaming (and other stuff but that is the higher constraint). Example games: City of Heroes, Aliens vs. Predator, flight simulators (e.g. X-Plane). I don't intend to do much with overclocking until the end of the useful lifetime of the computer. I value reliability quite highly. I'd like to keep the
The other system I built using an ASUS motherboard (A8N-SLI Deluxe), and I have been really happy with that.
Here is what I am planning:
RAM: (2 x 2GB) SDRAM DDR3 2200 (PC3 17600) Maybe 8 Gb if I upgrade the OS
Hard Drive: 1 Tb Seagate
Graphics Card: re-use my GeForce 285
PSU: I have a 650W PSU I'll reuse
OS: Might upgrade to Win 7 64-bit, might stick with XP
Optical drive: reuse a DVD writer I need for my business
Motherboards I have seen:
ASUS Sabertooth X58
ASUS P6X58D Premium
Rampage III Formula (this seems a little much for my design parameters)
Sabretooth is a superb and tough mobo, especially for $200. The Rampage 3 is top dog in my books, it costs a lot more and it is a lot more than you need. Nice choice on the CPU...that is a great one for little bucks. How old is your PSU? If is older, I'd get a new one...750w or 850w for future expansion and the fact that PSU's loose 5-10% of thier output per year. Considering you are running some "active" games, I'd look at a new GPU as well.
Great info on the triple channel Tecmo34 - I knew it was, but didn't realize the impact. Invaluable help there!
One thing I do like to do is to upgrade over the lifetime of my build, so I was thinking that the i7 would give me more headroom as I upgrade graphic cards, etc. Now looking at the i5 you mention, I do see that it is faster in a number of ways. I have applications that only work in XP that I need for my business, I probably want to consider having the hardware virtualization capability, which looks like it is not there in the i5. And for some reason integrated graphics makes me all woozy. Given all that I am still leaning to the i7 950, but willing to hear out arguments against it.
I really can't justify a cutting edge build every year, so I have found a happy medium in buying the best CPU/mobo I can justify to myself (and as Eagle Eye _54 says, the i7 950 is pretty reasonably priced) and then upgrade as I run into issues with games I want to play, until the CPU becomes the bottleneck, then I rebuild again. That is where I am now - over the years I have added memory (price plummets over time), larger hard drives (same), and two different graphics cards (went from a 7800 GTX to a 8800 GTX and now to the 285). Then the CPU became the limiter, so I moderately overclocked it to last the past 6 months, but it is time to rebuild again!
The PSU is fairly new, but as I am thinking of giving my current rig to my daughter, I probably need to buy a new one anyway.
Thanks again for taking the time to reply, and any further information is very much appreciated! And thanks for helping me spend my cash wisely!