I blew around $1500 about 5 or 6 years back on a new PC and haven't touched it since, and have had no problems running games/apps at high levels but I figured with the new Sandy Bridge release it was a good time to invest in something to last me another 5 or 6+ years. With parts so much cheaper than they were 5 years ago, compared to the performance increases, I'm opting for a ~$1000 build, but cheaper is always better.
Having said that, I haven't paid attention to new hardware coming out very much at all and had several questions while researching my new build. A lot of what I chose was based on the System Builder Marathon.
Motherboard ?? Asus P8P67 I have read is a good choice for the i5 2500k, newegg has several but there are many out of stock, not sure if some in stock (ASUS P8P67 EVO) are just as good, if not better, or if I should wait/try to find one of the out of stock models. I'll need to research this more to compare each but any input is greatly appreciated, as well as better/comparable alternatives.
Mushkin Enhanced SP 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model 998586
EVGA 012-P3-1472-AR GeForce GTX 470 (Fermi) SuperClocked 1280MB 320-bit GDDR5 **I'm only getting one right now, and a 2nd down the road for SLI
System Drive ?? I have never used an ssd, but it was listed on the system build. I'm not sure how useful this is for me.
Storage Drive $79.99
Seagate Barracuda LP ST32000542AS 2TB 5900 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive -Bare Drive
LITE-ON DVD Writer - Bulk - Black SATA Model iHAS224-06 LightScribe Support - OEM **I have no use for a blu-ray burner/reader, would just as well keep my drive but it's partly broken and I have to push open 25 times before it catches and opens
NZXT GAMMA Classic Series GAMA-001BK Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 ...
Heat Sink ? Do I need one if I most likely will not be overclocking? Won't the one that comes with the i5-2500k be sufficient?
CPU Fan ? Never used one before, not sure what would be best for me or if needed at all if I'm not overclocking.
Total Cost $780 (without motherboard, system drive, heat sink or cpu fan
Approximate Purchase Date: Within a month
Budget Range: ~$1000
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, movies/tv, most used apps: CS5 Photoshop, Flash, etc
I'm running 2500K on stock cooler + cheap-o MSI mobo cuz I don't overclock anymore, but use the Turbo mode which pushes the cpu to a max of 3.7ghz if the heat isn't too much. And 8gb ram & in the middle of upgrading to 64bit os. Don't concern yourself too much about ram timings unless your sole objective is to benchmark ram or do extreme overclocking.
If you have windows 64bit, then you should get more than 8gb ram. This is what I'd buy:
I don't know what games you're playing, but unless you play crysis at maxed-out res on multi monitors, you don't need SLI. I'd choose the vanilla mobo with a slightly more powerful gpu. Again, I can't recommend a gpu unless I know your games. Geforce is better at some games whereas Radeon are at others.
UEFI BIOS is a real treat. I'm loving it. You can use keyb/mouse to set options. My MSI comes with overclocking on by default. Retarded. It was at 4.2ghz and crashed my windows left & right. The Engrish in BIOS didn't help. They call it OC Button which should be overclocking. I disabled that and enabled Turbo. It's been smooth sailing.
Lastly, I strongly recommend you pay for express shipping if it's just a few bucks more. Cuz my board STILL hasn't arrived from newegg, but I bought one locally for the same price minus shipping like last week.
Your memory is triple channel while Sandy bridge is duel channel, so your Ram needs to be 2x2gb or 2x4gb (4Gb should be enough for your needs).
Also I would go with a Samsung spinpoint F3 1tb Hardrive unless you need the 2tb, the samsug spinpoint currently has a 15$ promo until the 19th and turns out at $55 and has good reviews (i'm also using it)
If your not overclcoking then the stock cooler and heatsink for i5 2500k should be good enough, i'm currently using the stock cooler on i5 2500k and it does a good job.
I would also consider getting a AMD radeon 6950 Graphics card unless you want to stick with nvidia, reason is, you can bios flash it to a 6970 if you want to and it is a newer and better card then the 470. If you do want to stick with nvidia, then if you can push it a 570 would do you good for a really long time.
The motherboard really depends on the features your going to be using, if your not going to overclock, then there isn't much reason to buy the very expensive ones, but you mentioned doing SLI so make sure the motherboard you chose is SLI compatible.
- Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 1TB: $65 -> i wouldn't recommend going for a low RPM 2TB drive... they're pretty slow and should be used more for stuff like backups, etc... if you run out of space... then you can add many more HD's down the road