I have only ever built 1 other Rig and it was about 4 years ago. I had a significant amount of help from my brother, but am trying to avoid bugging him now as he is busy. Any input would be appreciated. I chose the 5870 so that I could crossfire it if needed in the future.
I'm going a slightly different direction. I'd recommend ditching Intel though, as they're going to replace the current sockets by the end of the year. I used the i5, but I highly recommend checking out a X4 955 build. It'd shave a good $100 off the price.
Eh I think that's the wrong way to take things. Number one item for game performance is the GPU, but the 5970 is a known price/performance bomb.
Mobo is also pretty expensive, especially for a single-GPU setup. That's probably where the 100$ shaved comes from. i5 offers better performance as the 955 would bottleneck a 5970 (not that that's a good purchase).
I compare similar parts when comparing the build. For example, if I use a Gigabyte or Asus (comparable quality) board with 8x/8x CF and USB 3/SATA III for Intel, I use a Gigabyte or Asus with 8x/8x CF and USB 3/SATA III for AMD. Asus's board above is comparable to the GA-790XTA-UD4. That's a $45 difference. Add that to the $42 difference in the CPU's prices, and that's $87. Close to $100, especially since AMD tends to have better combos.
The X4 955 would NOT bottleneck the 5970. Hell, almost any current CPU won't bottleneck the GPU. The 955 and i5 are basically on the same level in terms of performance. The i5 is slighly better, but offers no future proofing ability.
As for the 5970's value, I'd say paying $650 for a good $740 (dual 5870s) worth of GPU power is well worth it. Also, you won't need an upgrade for a good 5-6 years. I fail to see a price/performance failure there...
Except that the 5970 can play Crysis at 5760x1080 without a sweat. And you can still throw a second one in the build.
A single 5970 is better than dual 470s. It will also OC a lot higher. Same for the dual 460s. Also, you never want to start a build with dual cards simply because you have no upgrade path. By far, the best buy in high end GPUs right now is the 5970. I can honestly say that you will never need to replace the 5970 in the life of the build. Even if you did, you could throw a second one in it and add a good 3+ years on to the life.
And 5870 crossfire is a good bit faster the a 5970.
A second one isn't really reasonable -- quadfire is not enjoyable for gaming in that you get poor scaling and microstutter. I mean, the 5970 already has to deal with dual-GPU issues by default.
I'll agree dual cards have drawbacks over single, but the price/performance increase on this one is simply more worthwhile. There's simply no real upgrade path from a dual-GPU setup, either way.
And if you think you'll upgrade to a crossfire setup someday, it's not worth it unless you do it within 6 months. Every 12 months graphics cards double in power for the same cost. So in 2 years you want a second 5870, but find out that there's a cheaper, new single-GPU card that outperforms it for less.
Realize you'd be getting into quadfire -- which sucks.
I can't find the CPU scaling review right now, but the i7s really allow the 5970 to stretch it's legs.
At any sane resolution, the GPU is much more important than the CPU (for the majority of games). For a pure gaming build, there's little reason to go with the i5-750/760 if it allows you to afford a better GPU. Conversely, if going AMD doesn't allow you to get a better GPU, then you might as well go i5.
Phenom II X4 955 vs. i5-750 - the only game on the benchmarks that is vastly different in fps is Far Cry 2. Admittedly, there are more comprehensive benchmarks out there, but I have seen very few that indicate more than a few fps difference in the majority of games.
The only thing an 8xx chipset gives you is the ability to drop in an X6 without a BIOS update (which you can do for free). That's it. Any AM3 board will accept Bulldozer when it comes out. And it's likely to be the first and second generation of Bulldozer, as AMD has said the AM3 socket is their main socket for the next couple of years.
Unfortunately, the PSU/RAM combo is gone. So the next best/cheapest solution would be the same thing outside of the combo. Of course, the XFX is a good PSU as well, but it's that not the end all and be all, especially for $20 more.
I was mentioning how Am2 is still relevant in that it can be upgraded with current CPUs, but that a new socket is replaced it. Like socket AM3 shortly.
ATI cards fall off as well. Quadfire scales poorly (better than SLI at 3+ cards, for sure), but more importantly has nasty amounts of microtutter. Nvidia's SLI scales better than crossfire at 2 cards, which IMO is much more relevant.
That may be true, but the review I say (from some place in Iceland, I don't have the link) should that the 5970 with a single 5870 (Trifire) still had great returns, and it didn't change when the 5870 was replaced with a 5970. I don't know why, but I'm guessing it has something to do with it being one two cards, despite being four GPUs.
I agree that dual cards is much more relevant, except when you're talking about the 5970. Realistically, you'd need to SLI two cards to even match the 5970. So where do you go from there? That's why scaling past two cards matters.
Of course, this is mostly an academic argument. Do I think that someone should throw a third card into a build? No. It's just not economically feasible.