Looking forward to building a SB budget/gaming/image processing desktop. I've done quite a bit of research the last month, anyway here goes:
Approximate Purchase Date: By end of January, sooner the better, but willing to wait if cpu/gpu/mobo prices go down. Must build by end of Jan though.
Budget Range: (e.g.: $900-1300) After Rebates
System Usage from Most to Least Important: The intensive stuff: Photoshop, fractal/apophysis rendering and 3D rendering, gaming. I also multitask a lot and usually have a lot of applications open (4GB isn't cutting it right now)
Parts Not Required: keyboard, os, speakers, monitor
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: (e.g.: newegg.com, ncix.com -- to show us selection & pricing)
Whatever is cheapest
SLI or Crossfire: Maybe
Monitor Resolution: 1920*1200
I am really thinking about 6-8 GB of RAM (with possibility of upgrading in the future) as I consistently run out of memory on 4GB.
I'm undecided whether I should crossfire / SLI. I don't play intensive games often, but when I do, I really like playing at highest, 1920. And I'll probably be playing a bunch of older (2008-2009) games on highest once I first build this, so there's no need to be maxing modern games. I would like the opportunity to upgrade the card (either by going for a cheaper card now and then SLIing it later, or a decent single card -> better single card later).
I'm undecided whether I should pay the extra for the unlocked multiplier. In particular, the i7-2600 for $250 looks like such a steal. How would OCing factor into the ability to futureproof? Are the SB chips good overclockers?
I'm also undecided whether an SSD is worth it, though it would be pretty cool to be running one.
Both the 2500k/2600k both OC well, with the latter having perhaps 100-200 MHZ additional OC headroom. The 2500K is considered the bargain, at 50% less cost, with 4.5-4.7 GHz OCs with relatively little effort in initial onslaught of P67 MB reviews.
I'd recommend a GTX570 or 6950 as a minimum gpu for 1920x1200.....