I've finally came to a conclusion from the last ten threads I've opened asking about upgrading certain parts and what's best. I'm sure you all know, but I'll repeat everything one last time for you.
CPU: AMD Phenom II x4 965
Motherboard: MSI 790FX-GD70
RAM: 12GB DDR3-1333 (2x2GB Corsair Basic Memory, 2x4GB G.Skill Sniper)
GPU: MSI Radeon HD 5770 Reference
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 HDD + Seagate Momentus 5400.4 HDD
Case: CoolerMaster CM 690 II Advanced
PSI: OCZ ModXStream 600w
In a compilation of everything I've been told across multiple forums, here's what I plan on doing:
Purchase an Asus Xonar DX 7.1 Sound Card. My headphone audio happens to be very important to me.
Replace the 5770 with a Geforce GTX 560 Ti. I need the extra expansion space for my wireless card and future sound card.
Replace the old (!) HDDs with the... <Am currently still debating between a cheap SSD or a new HDD. Will Update Later.>
Install a Thermalright MUX-120 to replace my Sumbeamtech Core Contact Freezer that isn't mounted properly due to the RAM bank being so close.
And there you have it. Any last objections? Anything you'd change, short of telling me to get rid of the sound card in favor of a better GPU?
Your Asus Xonar DX 7.1 Sound Card is safe.
Thermalright MUX-120 looks like a good bet to clear that closest RAM slot.
Everything on your list is fine.
What's the current price difference between the Caviar Black HDD and a 40GB or 60GB OCZ Vertex 2 or Agility 2 SSD? That Barracuda 7200.9 HDD should be fine for file storage unless you're running out of room.
Yep... that's my current system. I'd never buy all that and replace it. I have to admit, it wasn't my best idea to buy an HD 5770 and plan on Crossfiring a second in the future, but oh well...
I'll do another check into cheap SSDs. I'm not in any hurry, and don't want to regret anything. It would certainly give me a bigger performance boost over another HDD.
My hours of research into cheap(er) SSD alternatives is coming back to me now.
My first pick would probably be the G.Skill Sniper. All of them would certainly be more noticeable upgrades over a good HDD... I'll ponder that alternative for a while and get back to you. I've always been afraid of how NAND Flash works, though - I know that it will probably last longer than your typical hard drive, but that certainly hasn't been the case with my 7200.9...
OCZ Agility 2 has the same Sand Force controller, same performance as the Muskin and G.skill - just $15 less with rebate.
All good choices there. On your MSI 790FX-GD70 with SATA II ports that Crucial RealSSD (SATA III) wouldn't quite reach it's peak performance.
I'll have to look into the Agility 2. Never have really been a fan of OCZ's memory, but they make great modular PSUs for the price.
You're right... I just now went back and looked at the spec sheet, and it has an upper range of 265MB/s on the SATA-II interface. Not exactly slow, but a Sandforce-based SSD would probably serve me better.
Wait a minute... aren't these the same Vertex 2 SSDs that moved to the 25nm manufacturing process? I feel like they are... in that case, I'm going to say that I'm willing to give up the $15 for a 3x nm drive instead.
Honestly, I think I'm going to stick with a good old HDD for right now, until SSD prices come down a little further and the technology gets a little more mature. As I've said, I'm not in any hurry, and I'm sure a $50 hard drive won't hurt in the future, either.
While I've got your attention, here's a quick question: GPU Manufacturers - Asus, EVGA, or PNY? Which do you prefer?
Scratch that, Asus only has a 3 year warranty. I already know how it will go if I put EVGA up against PNY, so you can probably ignore that question if you want.