Hello there, hope everyone's enjoying the final days of the academic summer. I'm headed back to school soon and plan on piecing together a new desktop when I get back to the States. Here's what I've got so far:
APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: 08/27/10
BUDGET RANGE: 1300 after rebates.
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, Computational Fluid Dynamics
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, Mouse, Speakers, I'll hold off on a sound card.
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
PARTS PREFERENCES: AMD xII 1055t, EVGA
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Yes, unless I can be convinced that it's a waste of ~$250
MONITOR RESOLUTION: Looking at 1920 x 1080 right now
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Quiet's always good in my book. Of course I'd like it to last a while, but I think that goes without saying.
That motherboard unfortunately does not support SLI, and it would not be recommended for CrossFire, as the 2nd PCI-E 2.0 slot runs at x4.
Personally, I don't like to go SLI/CrossFire at the start of a build. It's generally better to buy the single biggest graphics card you can afford, and then add another only when it starts to slip. Alternatively, if there's a new generation out that provides better performance, buy a completely new card. For less than the $460ish the 2x GTX 460s is going to cost, you could buy an ATI 5870. It won't be quite as capable, but the 5870 handles pretty much every modern game at 1920x1080. The XFX 5870 is in combo with an 80+ Silver XFX 750W PSU for $480 -$40 promo code on the GPU (and another -$20 MIR if you want to deal with that).
This is the motherboard I would go with if you want to leave your options for CrossFire open in the future. Asus M4A89GTD Pro/USB3.
That's an excellent RAM choice, there isn't really much to know beyond 1600 MHz & CL7 is the current sweet spot for value overclocking.
The HSF doesn't appear to be compatible with socket AM3, take a look at Frostytech's Top "5" Heatsinks and see if there's something else that fits your needs. I have the Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme, as it offers a good blend of performance and low noise (also it was one of the few that would fit in my narrow full tower).
EDIT: To clear up a misconception. ATI/AMD does not work better together. Any combination of Intel/AMD & ATI/nVidia is fine...for a single-card solution. It's only when you add SLI/CrossFire into the mix that things get weird. Even then, it's largely just that most AMD mobos don't support SLI.