Approximate Purchase Date: June to September 2011
Budget Range: $2,000 to $2,800
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming (RTS, shooter), multitasking, internet, financial model spreadsheets
Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com, ncix.com, amazon.com
Country of Origin: USA
Parts Preferences: Brand name, top quality, warranted
Over-clocking: Yes, tweaking to a small degree, not interested in extreme over-clocking
SLI or Crossfire: Maybe, if it makes sense
Monitor Resolution: will be using dual Samsung Synch Master 24” 1920x1200
Additional Comments: I want a high-end gaming rig, running Windows7 4-bit, that I can take pride in having built myself and show off. I want more than I need, but also a balance system with minimal bottlenecks. This will be my first build. I am reading the boards and reviews and watching lots of YouTube video on un-boxing, how tos, etc.
Here is what I have come up with currently. Comments, critique, and suggestions are welcome and sought.
i5-2500K ($230) or i7-2600K ($335)
MSI P67A-G45 (B3) LGA 1155 Intel P67 motherboard ($140)
8 GB DDR3-1600 ($100)
Also get the Thermaltake Frio ($58) or Xigmatek Aegir ($60) air coolers, which are both top-10 choices on Frostytech
Rather than 2 of the momentus drives, I'd get an A-Data S599 64 GB for $115, and a 1 TB Seagate Sata 3.0 1 TB, currently on sale for $60 (cheaper than the Sata 2 model)
Your biggest bottleneck is going to be your hard drives. I would definitely go SSD. Look for the OCZ Vertex 2 with the new Sandforce controller. Since you are spending the $$$, get a 256 GB so you can load it up with all your games and such. Then spend a $100 for a fast 2TB drive.
If you are sold on going with a four drive RAID 10, then spend the money to get a decent RAID controller. But that will cost you some $ too.
Basically, for a 4 drive setup, you will notice a performance difference between onboard RAID and buying a good ($~$350) PCIe controller. The other key element is, what will you do in two years when your motherboard dies, taking the RAID array with it? With a controller, you can just pull the card and drives and pop them in a new system. With an onboard RAID setup, well, you are out of luck.
Thank you, everyone, for your generous comments. I'm going to switch to the i7 2600K and P67 mobo. I like the Asus Momentus IV, as do many people it seems! I like the Sabertooth as well but I'm trying to stick with the red theme. I've adjusted the RAM spec accordingly. I'd love to put the OS on an SSD but have concern about the reliability comments I've read?? I also need to stick something in mobo pci slot 1 so both GPUs in slots 2 and 4 will run at 16x, but RAID controllers are so expensive! I'm told running the OS on two SSDs in RAID0 is risky? I know the experts can offer any guarentees and in the end I will have to go one way or the other. I have had an HDD fail on me once, maybe that won't happen again and I don't need a RAID array? I have the the money to do this right, in a few months anyway. Thanks folks! :-)