I'm putting together a new mid-range gaming machine and have so far chosen the components you see listed below. I already have all the other parts I need (case, monitor, input) and I would greatly appreciate some advice on memory for this configuration. I'd like to try for 8GB (4GB x 2) of ddr3 1333 or better in a dual channel setup. I'm trying to keep the overall cost around $1K and I don't mind shopping around the web for better prices. I don't plan on overclocking (much) but I would like to tweak timings and voltage to achieve the best balance of speed and stability. So far I've focused on this one:
I would swap out the Caviar Blacks for spinpoint f3 1 TB's. They're only $60 until 9/6. Also, I have heard there are issues raiding the Caviar Blacks, ie WD gimped the raid capabilities so they can upsell their enterprise versions. There is almost no benefit to having Sata 6.0 on a HDD. There was some front page article on Tom's about that.
I have to agree with NeoElemental. Although two GTS 250s in SLI would offer decent performance now, that setup will leave you with no route to upgrade. If you don't ever want to bother with upgrading your components, that may be fine. Personally I would go with a single GTX 460 or Radeon HD 5770. That way I would be able to add a second one in the future, when games have become even more graphically demanding and those graphics cards have become outdated, cheaper.
MSI will also only let you redeem one rebate for those two GTS 250s. So they would cost $170 together, not $140.
A bigger problem is that your motherboard uses an AMD chipset, which isn't good for SLI (that board isn't SLI ready or certified, either). The second PCI-E x16 slot is also capped at x4 which may impact the performance of a SLI or Crossfire setup.
Here are a couple suggestions for better motherboards (Crossfire ready with x8/x8 support):
Like others have said,getting a one card solution for your graphics would be the better option as far as processing power and be able to upgrade later but maybe a 5850 would be a better option as this will at least crossfire,although at a lower channel multiplier.
As for RAM, with G. Skill any of their modules would be great but I would look at the lowest CAS Latency RAM you could find in your pricerange if you want to slightly overclock and change timings. Hope this helps.
Great feedback, thanks. Is there a mobo that anyone would recommend if I were to drop the current SLI setup and go for the 460? I don't mind going to a board that uses an Nvidia chipset as that is what I have now and I've been successful with it. In addition I imagine I could save more $ by losing the SATA 6 and USB 3.0, basically taking a step down overall in terms of the mobo. That would limit my upgradability as I see it though. If I were to go for a couple SSDs in the future and/or as devices start to use USB 3.0 I'd be out of luck. Is that right?
My current build has an ASUS A8NSLI Deluxe and AMD X2 64 3800 that has served me well for the past 5 years+ I've only upgraded the video card and a couple HDDs since 1st assembly and I'm still playing with reasonably high framerates and detail.
Is there a reason you need 8 GB RAM? No more than 4 GB is necessary for gaming.
If you don't get a USB 3.0/SATA 6.0 Gb/s mobo now, you could add a PCI card for that functionality later (assuming you have expansion slots for it). That being said, it's probably still better to get it onboard now, as you typically only save $20 or $30 on the mobo cost...which is about the current cost of a USB 3.0 or SATA 6.0 Gb/s PCI card.
If you're still getting good framerates, perhaps you should just wait a little while longer? Both Intel and AMD are set to release new sockets next year, so almost anything you buy now will be pretty much a dead socket if you ever want/need to upgrade in a couple of years.
Assuming you're set on a nVidia chipset and a GTX 460, I like everything except the RAM choice. For $10 more, you could get this G.Skill ECO Series 1600 MHz CL7 1.35V 4 GB kit, which would give you a lot more options to tweak the timings/voltage.