So hopefully this Fall I will be building my first gaming PC. I've been following pricing trends, special deals, and reviews on components in a sub $500 build bracket.
If I was to build it now, I could get :
either a 955 Black or i3-2100 CPU
ATX MB with USB 3.0, SATA 6GB/s, 2x PCI 2.0, and 4x DDR3 RAM slots
6850 GPU (for 3x 19" 1280x1024 monitors)
8G(2x4G) 1333/1600 RAM
750GB-1TB, 64MB Cache, 6GB/s, Black Caviar WD HDD
an old BFG 550W GS PSU (403W on combined 12v rail) which I can cannibalize from my current desktop, among a few other things such as DVD and 200GB HDD
In the future, I would potentially add a second 6850 (definitely requiring a better PSU), RAID HDD's, 8GB more RAM (probably would be overkill), and maybe even a Blue Ray reader just for kicks.
With all that said, the road block I've ran into is finding a suitable case that would preferably be around $50 that would have room for those future expansions (full v mid?) and of course: cooling, noise reduction, and material quality(case durability itself as well as I've read many reviews noting cheap plastic on "tool-less" bays). Aesthetically, I would like to have a clear window pane to show off the goods, behind the MB cable storage for cleanliness/appearance (if window pane included) as well as unobstructed airflow, and least of all, LED lighting (Red>Green>Blue). USB 3.0 on front I/O would only be icing on the cake, but not a deal breaker.
Am I asking for too many features for too little $$$? If not: suggestions please. If so: suggestions please.
NZXT Phantom seems to have most of what I want minus window and high price tag.
Secondary questions: From my research, I presume my current PSU should do the job... if I am mistaken, let me know!
Would a better HDD such as the previously mentioned Black Caviar give my system THAT much of a boost vs say a cheaper 320GB Samsung Spinpoint F4? 320GB would likely be sufficient for storage needs atm.
Most likely bottleneck? ie:1 6850 supporting 3 monitors=poor FPS?
I know lots will change by Fall (if I have enough will power to wait that long...), so I'm just trying to get my bearings, learn the lingo, latest features, price trends, etc, but I feel like the case is the one thing I can't get a good grip on... so thanks for any help/direction!
Welcome. As you said a lot will change, here's a few recommendations for that build now though. Get the i3. Then, I'd say you could use a higher end GPU for 3840 x 1024 gaming. You don't necessarily need a 6Gb/s mechanical HDD (no performance difference), so if it saves you a few bucks when you purchase get something like a Spinpoint F3. You'll need a better PSU for crossfire in particular - its rated for maximum 550W not continuous - a bad sign.