Hi, I am completely new to computer building and I was wondering if these parts would work well (or are even compatible) with each other. Also, I would definitely appreciate opinions concerning the performance vs price point of this build. Thanks!
Everything is compatible...but I wouldn't buy an AMD motherboard/CPU and put an Nvidia Graphics Card in it. I'd go all the way AMD !
Also, your power supply seems a little bit low end. I'd go with a 80+silver or gold. And I personally prefer Corsair.
Wow, thanks to both of you for the help, I'll definitely look into the Ripjaws RAM and the 6850.
Also, I was concerned that the MOBO is a little high end for what I am looking for. Are there any other cheaper options that you might recommend?
Finally, here comes the embarrassing part. I know that building the computer from scratch isn't too hard, and the wealth of the knowledge here would definitely get me through but I'm still a little nervous about screwing things up. Is there anywhere or anyone that would build this computer if I were to supply all the necessary parts?
As for your HDD, the F3 suggested above is great. Reason being. Caviar's arent bad. But even the black vers. are slower than the F3 by a bit. The F3 is cheaper for more space. Plus offers 500gb platter sizes, while the Caviar's Black only offer a 320gb platter size. The new SATA 6 WD Black's fixed that, but still not worth the extra money. Go with the F3.
Thanks again for the help. To answer your questions, I am planning on running just a single card for now, and I also plan on overclocking it. After looking at everyone's suggestions I've tweaked the build to this:
I also have a quick question about the RAM. I noticed that the 1600 version of the RAM I selected is only 5 dollars more; however, it also shows that the cas latency for the 1600 is set at 9, while the 1333 is at 8. Which one is better?
The lower the latency, the better. However, higher latency usually allows for better overclocking ability, thus the one with a CAS of 9 running at 1600MHz, and the one with a CAS of 8 running at 1333MHZ.
That doesn't mean you won't be able to run the 1333 at 1600 though. But in order to do so, you might have to change the CAS timmings from 8 to 9...but you might not have too either. You might be lucky !
^ Not always true. High latency also means slower ram, but not even that matters. 1333 vs 1600 there is no huge difference. The only thing you see any change in is during memory benchmarks. But who cares about those.
Ok with that said. The 6850 isn't your best bet. Should you just stay with one card, the GTX 460 is a better buy. It OC's very well and performs great once OC'd better than an OC'd 6850. The reason I say if you choose to single card it out. IS because SLI w/ AMD platform (IE AMD chipset) sucks. If you SLI you'll regret. If you plan to dual card in the future with this system. The 6850 is the better bet. I actually recommend chipping in a little more for this 6850 model.
I think I'm ready to finalize the build, but I'm wondering if you guys think I should spring for some extra cooling fans for the case. There are 2 fans for the Antec 300 already installed; should I get fans for the two optional slots at the front of the case?
Also, are there any other things I may need to build to this system (other than an OS, keyboard, speakers, mouse, headphones)?
Yes, you need those two fans for intake. Airflow my man. I recommend getting 2 Scythes. It might be a bit loud, so you may need to get a fan controller later if you can't bear it. But the cooling will phenomenal. I've never used the 300, but from what I've seen, the two givens are exhaust fans. You should get two fans (Scythes) for intake and airflow will take course.
Another quick question: I only plan on running 1 6850 as of right now, but I would like the option to have 2 6850's running in Crossfire in the future. Is the 650w power supply sufficient? What if I also plan on upgrading the ram, so that the final upgrade would have 2x 6850's and 8 gigs of RAM (4 x 2gig sticks)?
OH the earthwatts, yeah its sufficent. If you don't think it can handle it, go with the 650watt from XFX joel suggested. If not that, you could go with a corsair TX series psu. But the earthwatts should handle it fine.
Finally, here comes the embarrassing part. ... I'm still a little nervous about screwing things up.
Don't be embarrassed. Don't be afraid (Unless you're one of those folks where everything you touch turns to dust...)
Couple precautions and some care and you should have no difficulty.
Do realize some of this stuff is delicate. Don't exert excessive force if something seems like it's not going to fit. Figure out why it doesn't fit and address that. Also realize some things will take a bit of effort to seat, like PATA drive power connectors (end even harder to separate.) RAM takes a bit to seat because of the pressure requirement on each and every one of a couple hundred contacts. Processors should not take much effort.
Do realize that many parts are static sensitive, particularly when not assembled. (*) Before putting stuff into the mobo, touch some part of the case to discharge any static. you do not want to discharge static through a RAM stick. A static strap can help, but I've never used one and only ever fried a chip handing it to someone else and not making contact before handing them the chip. Just be aware of the risk from static, particularly during the heating season.
I'm sure I'm repeating information contained in a sticky somewhere in this forum, but I haven't run across it yet so maybe someone else can.
(*) I once reached for an HP laptop and touch was preceded by a HUGE spark to the keyboard. It went dark and required a new system board. Props to all of my Thinkpads that withstood static sparks and never skipped a beat.