Power Supply: CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W $110 I've used Corsair before and liked them, but I'd be open to another brand. People on this board seem to be suggesting XFX Black Edition 750W? My plan is to use the single 6870 for now and add a second in 6-8 months time, so I need the power to support that.
Case: Antec 300 Illusion $70 I used one of these for my last build and, generally, like it.
I think the advice given here is very sound. I see that you have an SSD in your build... It wont improve your gaming experience aside from improved load times... Is that really worth it when you could add another 6870 for crossfire? Your gaming resolution is 1920x1200.... You will need every ounce of GPU power you can get.
I guess You have to make a decision if you want an all around snappier PC, or a more powerful gaming PC.
And yes the CF would make a huge difference. Just take a look at the benchmarks:
It is not worth extra money to get 4 sticks of RAM instead of 2 sticks. You always want as few sticks as possible. If overclocking, consider DDR3 2000, but 1600 will serve you well.
You don't need a Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB, but it's faster than the 500GB version I think, so it's worth $55 (Amazon) to double your capacity and increase speed.
I completely agree that the solid state drive is a waste of money right now. I'd buy a second Spinpoint F3 1TB and RAID 1 them before an SSD (which is close to what I did).
In terms of your video card: You don't need to start with a crossfire/SLI setup. Buy a single good card and pursue crossfire as an upgrade path. The simple fact is that a 6950 is a much better card than a 6870 for a $60 increase. Also--at 1920x1200 a 6870 will barely cut it. I would say a 6950 and then, if you're comfortable, do the bios unlock to 6970.
dalauder def gave a good suggestion about Raid-1. I was hesitant to offer that b/c i dont know what your level of expertise is.
I am somewhat inclined to disagree on his video card suggestion though. 6950 to 6970 unlocking is pretty much a guaranteed deal due to high success rates: if you were to attempt this, you would probably succeed. Having said that, You still have to wonder if these high end video cards are worth it...
Cheapest 6950 on newegg is $270. Lets assume u can unlock it to 6970. So you will have a 6970 for 270$.
You can still crossfire 2 6850's for $320 (newegg). You could probably OC the 6850s to make them as fast as the 6870s. But lets just say you ran them stock...
SLI and crossfire scaling has improved so dramatically these few last generations. Id give it heavy considerations if i was you. Most people who buy 1 good card and attempt to cf / sli later never do so. Do it from the get go with 2 weaker cards and ull get better FPS.
Sounds like I need better graphics. I really like the idea of going with one 6950 and flashing the BIOS, then adding a second one in 6 months. Lukas, that site you linked has the 6970 at 37.5 FPS in Crysis. Not the 6870's in crossfire, but I can live with non-maxed settings until I get a second one. That same site is suggesting the Sapphire cards, that sounds good.
You're right about not getting around to adding in the second card, but I think I'd do it if my FPS dropped low enough. My most recent build was processor-limited (E8400) so I never bothered, but before that I replaced the graphics card (couldn't SLI with that motherboard). I like the idea of starting with something good and adding crossfire if it turns out not to be good enough.
For the HDD, I'll swap to the 1 TB, I didn't realize there was a speed difference. I'm still tempted to get the 60 GB SSD, slow boot / load times are my #2 pet peeve about computers. #1 is low frame rates. I currently have two 250's in a RAID 1, but I didn't want to bother with a RAID again. I can probably afford both the small SSD and the better GPU.
On the RAM, I'll stick with 2 sticks (thanks, I never knew that was faster!).
So, two remaining questions:
8 GB CAS 9 vs 4 GB CAS 7?
Is 750W enough for 2x 6970's?
If the primary use for the pc is gaming then tell me... Do you really think you will ever use 8GB of Ram? 4 GB is all you will need, 7 cas or 9 cas.
Dont forget... The best way to future proof your pc is to spend as little money as possible on the current build, because there is no such thing as future proofing when it comes to tech.
If you want to go with the 6950 and unlock to 6970 then its your choice - and its not a bad choice, but perhaps not the best one out there. I recently ordered parts for my brother's PC and the total came out to $820 After MIR.