After reading through A Guide to Choosing Computer Parts by Proximon and Recommended Builds by Usage by tecmo34, I've come up with what I feel is the best choice for me. It falls somewhere in between tecmo's bargain and budget builds, using components from both lists.
This is my first computer building experience, so I'd like to make sure some of the parts I substituted in are compatible. Also, are there any miscellaneous wires I should purchase?
Approximate Purchase Date: 2 weeks
Budget Range: $500 - $550 after rebates
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, internet, work(nothing more than Microsoft office)
Parts Not Required: Monitor, mouse, keyboard, speakers, OS
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg.com
Country of Origin: USA
Parts Preferences: Anything deemed trustworthy
SLI or Crossfire: Yes, crossfire
Monitor Resolution: 1680x1050
Additional Comments: I'm aiming for a computer that will be useful(even to play new games on minimal settings) for a couple of years. I don't plan on using crossfire as of now, but I'd like to have it as an option in the future.
I agree with General M00n's modifications of Batuchka's build. The Seasonic PSU is more efficient. I much prefer your original mobo though, as it is considerably more future-resistant due to having USB3.0 and SATA 6Gb/sec (although the latter seems unlikely to matter any time soon). Adding USB3.0 ports to a system is possible, but the expansion cards run another $25 and up.
The HD4850 has been a nice card, but is getting a little long in the tooth.
At your intended resolution, I will throw out two other cards for consideration. The HD5770 is a cheaper, sufficiently powerful AMD alternative to the HD6850. If any of your games (or other apps) use PhysX or CUDA for GPU processing, you'll want a nVidia card instead, such as a GTX460. I would choose a 1GB version, not so much for the added RAM (which you may not notice), but for the added bandwidth (256bit vs. 192bit).
Other reasons for their suggestions: The Spinpoint F3 is faster than the F4, and although many people around here have recommended and are using them, I'm not seeing any complaints of drive failures. I believe the same could be said for the Seagate 7200.12 series.
DDR3-1333 will be faster than DDR3-1066, and not notably more expensive any more.
Performance (40% of the final score) - the Coolermaster Silent Pro M 600W set out to kung fu its way to victory today, and for the most part did exactly that. It regulated exceptionally well for a group design, maintained some nice efficiency numbers, held up to 43 degree ambient temperatures, and kept the ripple way way down there with the best I've seen. The only time I really found a lot to complain about was in the overshoot transient testing, where the unit exhibited less than spectacular results, but even then it was in spec so I can't come down on it too hard. 9.
Value (30% of the final score) - Provantage is offering this right now for $103.07. That's... uh... not quite what I was hoping to see on this unit, frankly. Think of it this way... you have a 600W modular unit for a hunnert smackers out there competing with the Corsair HX620, which is barely $15 more money. Think about that... 40A @ 12V for this one, 50A for that one. Group regulated here, indy regulated there. Sure, this unit is targeted at the silent crowd, but is it really going to be quieter than the Corsair? I have to wonder. 7.
Now that we have the same PSU in a juicy combo i think the value scale of this one ramped up plus modularity = better cable management hence promoting better airflow
For the GPU/Mobo suggestion i would disagree: no amount of 'future proof' tech on mobos would compensate for your games crawling faster due to compromising on an inferior GPU so for the $$ hit the best GPU for best (long term) results for your games ^^
Lastly - yes i actually like the NZXT Beta EVO case just that the combo has an IDE ODD and thru my experience boot up times may be delayed due to such devices hehe
I did not accuse that CM PSU of being poopy (I read that same review again yesterday I think), but just pointed out that the Seasonic (which is 80+ bronze, vs. 80+) will be more efficient. It depends on what matters. I like modular cables too.
2 +12V rails at 25A each vs a single 40A rail for the Cooler Master M600, however it is slightly cheaper plus you get $30 worth of rebates which is quite substantial.
Thought it mostly comes down to if you value modular cabling vs 80 PLUS BRONZE efficiency as jtt283 said. I'm just trying to get all the options down on the table so we can figure out what the best deal is.
Also, both video cards recommended are out of stock at the moment, the PowerColor 6850 has the shortest ETA currently.