APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Within the next two months (I would like to buy soon, but if there is something new coming out or an assured price drop I will wait)
BUDGET RANGE: <$1000 After Rebates (I already have some components and can wait for others)
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Multitasking, MS Office, schoolwork, gaming, CAD/GIS, and audio/video encoding
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS, Case (ENERMAX Uber Chakra ECA5001B), PSU (ABS|BZ700 700W RTL - two years old)
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com
PARTS PREFERENCES: I would like to use an AMD CPU unless I can get a lot more out of Intel (supporting the underdog where possible). I would like USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s if possible.
OVERCLOCKING: Maybe - Only when reasonably safe
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Later?
MONITOR RESOLUTION: Two 1280x1024 currently, but would like to upgrade one possibly next year.
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I do a ton of multitasking. I usually have a second, older computer running as a server and performing tasks in the background. I am upgrading from an AMD Athlon XP 2500+ running at 1.83 GHz and I have stretched the old compy as long as possible by adding cards and reinstalling my OS every few months, but it is finally time for a fresh start. I play games like Supreme Commander and I have StarCraft II on backorder. I have been reading all I can for several months now and need some advice before I buy.
Radeon HD 5750 (~$130)
Can I buy one now and another in a year or so for CrossFire? Will there be compatibility issues between the two cards? I also need advice on what brand and model to buy - is there much difference between the brands? I am willing to get a better card if needed.
This brings me to a total of around $650 USD. I may also need a better CPU fan than stock. I would rather not spend the full $1000, but I am willing to if needed. Thanks for your help. This is my first post on Tom's so let me know if I need to improve anything.
Thanks for the info gkay. Will this build be able to handle rts games like StarCraft? I don't need the highest settings.
If I decide to buy another video card later will I have compatibility issues between my old and new card? I think that the motherboard you suggested (ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3) says that a single card can run at x16 but in crossfire they drop to x8. Will this make a difference? If it is a very big difference I think that I would rather pay the extra $70 for the higher end motherboard.
Is there anything that I can read about graphics card recommendations for dual monitors? Like I said above I am currently running two 1280x1028 but I would like to upgrade one of them to a larger size in the near future.
^^ The above setup will easily be to handle StarCraft IMO...Built a PC for my friend with an i5 750 + HD 5770 and he is able to play Crysis Warhead at Max settings @ 1080p with occasional lag...So StarCraft (edit)shouldn't be a problem...
And also when you add 1 more HD 5770 later on in crossfire, when you change the monitors, am sure its performance would suffice 2 monitor setup for the games that you are planning to play...
As for your questions of whether x8 will have any effect on cards, the answer is - Negligible
There were various articles which were based on these tests...And that too were performed with very powerful cards such as the HD 5870s, so with cards such as the HD 5770 it would be even less...
This article compares x58 vs P55(Similar to 890FX vs 890GX relatively comparison) http://www.anandtech.com/show/2847 http://www.fudzilla.com/content/view/16729/1/1/4/
One more quick question. The motherboard specs say that it supports DDR3 2000(O.C.)/1333/1066 memory. Does this mean that it will not support the DDR3 1600 RAM that you recommended? I tried to look it up and I found something that said to look up the "Qualified Vendor List" on the Asus website, but I wasn't able to find it.
^ If the specs say DDR3 2000, then it will support speeds upto that and not only the ones listed...
And it is not required that the RAM should be in the QVL...Just check if it satisfies the Intel's main requirements - DDR3 RAM operating @ 1.65V or less...If the RAM satisfies that, then it will run fine on Intel H55/ H57/ P55/ X58 boards or simply put with Core i series CPUs...