I'm about to order parts for my first self-built PC and wanted a bit of advice before I pull the trigger. I know there are thousands of threads on this topic so I'll try and lay it out as cleanly as possible.
APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Hopefully ordered by this weekend; i.e. 8/21/10.
BUDGET RANGE: $1,100 - $1,300 (upper end if choosing SSD) for the core components and case, including O/S. I plan on getting a monitor and other incidentals (keyboard, mouse, speakers, etc.) but I am not factoring that into the price range aforementioned. So closer to $1,500 - $1,700 after everything factored in.
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming then everything else. Not planning on doing any video editing or anything of the like.
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: I pretty much need everything but I'm more concerned with the core parts.
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: I have used Newegg for scoping out all of my part selections thus far.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: United States.
PARTS PREFERENCES: Not in particular.
OVERCLOCKING: Maybe. Probably not right off the bat but I'd like to leave the option open.
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Not too knowledgeable on this topic. I think it applies more to dual GPUs? I only plan on using one graphics card. Edit: I'd like to leave this option open but I only plan on one graphics card for the initial build.
MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080 or 1900x1200.
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: See below.
Here's a list of the parts I have chosen so far. If you notice anything incompatible please let me know. Also open to general advice on part selection. Please note the SSD is optional but I have heard great things about them thus far. I would like one but also would like to keep it under $150. I understand this will get me only a 60-64 GB drive. If I don't get the SSD, should I look for a faster/different HDD? As this is my first build I don't plan on pushing it to the max. I do believe I need a bay adapter if I get the SSD and also cables for the OEM optical drive. I think the 650W PSU should be sufficient; I calculated my PSU usage and it was around 420-440W with these parts.
All of this currently priced out on Newegg is approximately $1,430, including MIRs and shipping costs. Without monitor it is $1,250. Without monitor and SSD it is $1,130. Leaves about a $150 - $200 buffer for a keyboard, mouse, speakers, cables, and other incidentals. Noise is not a big issue but it shouldn't be unnecessarily loud. Any other advice for a first time builder is welcome, i.e. things to look out for while building, programs to track performance. Thanks in advance for the replies.
With the possible exception of the HD, you've picked a very nice parts kit. So let me try to give you some options to consider, including some where you can save a few bucks without noticable gaming performance decreases.
If you are not going with the SSD, step up to at least the 640GB Caviar Black for speed. If you are going with the SSD (and the Vertex 2 is a good choice), the Blue might be OK, but keep your active game(s) on the SSD.
This mobo is all you need for one vid card, and it will equal the Asus using one vid card. It will support 2 (SLI) but run a few percent lower frame rate if you do that than the Asus you selected. However, at 1920 resolution, one 460 is going to be fine for quite a while, and if you add a second one, the scaling (~ increase in frame rate will be so high you won't notice the few percent.
One step down in speed (matches the 1156 std) and in latency (9 vs 8). You shouldn't see any difference in gaming, though in other things (that you said you weren't doing) you might notice a few seconds lost.
Graphics: Normally not a fan of pre-OC'd cards, but the Palit has responsible, published reviews showing it delivers value, ie, frame rate per dollar. This card should be plenty at your gaming resolution.
PSU: The Corsair is a great unit, at a great price right now ($70 after MIR, and may be 10% off of that.) If not for that price, and if you wanted to lock yourself into using a single graphics card, you could step further downin wattage. But I don't recommend that.
Just for future reference: would adding another GTX460 down the road be feasible? Upon reading a bunch of New Build threads (especially in my price range) a lot of people suggest a SLI dual GTX460 setup. I don't think I'll do that immediately but it sounds tempting a couple of months from now after I get a better feel of building and operating my own system. Would my current setup--with the suggestions from Twoboxer--be sufficient to support another GTX460? Would it need to be another Palit OC'd 460? Would the motherboard chosen restrict a dual SLI setup? It only has one PCI 2.0 x16 PCI slot. Any other suggestions if I want to keep a SLI / dual GPU option open?
Re-read my comments about the mobo suggestion. Why is that so? The Gigabyte board runs at x16 electrical when one vid card is used, and x16 and x4 electrical when two are used, even though it has two x16 physical slots. Your Asus would run x16 with one card, and x8 x8 with two cards, which should be a little faster. But not a value IMO.
If/when you decide to SLI, the best bet would be two identical cards. However, SLI (nVidia) offers a bit more latitude than Crossfire (ATI), and it seems the two cards must have identical memory size, but do not need to have the same clock rates. However, i do not know if you would then be restricted to the speed of the slower card. Source: