2500K/2500 is good enough for any gaming computer. The i7 2600/2600K is only necessary for those who are doing intense CAD work, video editing, photo editing (not your measly retouching but like photo stitching and HDR work).
I've seen plenty of people use Source SDK with a dual core, so no a 2500 is good enough for you. You don't plan to overclock so I suggest to get the 2400 instead. It'll save you about $40 w/ very little performance difference.
really depends on the game, some games are more CPU intensive than others an i5 2500K should be able to handle any games these days you only need an i7 for folding, rendering, intensive video editing, etc. edit*ninja'd
Howz $1152 ? .... Case and PSU are sized fro a 2nd GFX card. MoBo can do SLI at x8 x8. Items marked "later" are anticipated tobe added some time down the road .... extra fan should be added for example when you add 2nd GFX card. Nice side point, installing SSD later won't even require you to open the case. Just slide open the lower drive cage, slide it into the Fleet Swap bay and your done (assuming of course you connected the cable to the bay during time of original build.
The factory OC'd 560 Ti's perform very close to the 570's. Guru3D uses the following games in their test suite, COD-MW, Bad Company 2, Dirt 2, Far Cry 2, Metro 2033, Dawn of Discovery, Crysis Warhead. Total fps (summing fps in each game) for the various options (single card / SL or CF) [cost per frame single card - cost per frame in SLI] are tabulated below
Of course you can shift these results in favor or against any card by repicking the game test suite. I picked Guru3D cause it has one of the widest hardware database on the same suite.
The Antec Case / PSU combo grows on me a bit more after each build....and yes, I ahve built w/ the HAF-X. Love the DF-85's hot swap / "Fleet Swap" drive bays, cable management is a pleasure, fits CPX form factor PSU's, dust filters ..... PSU gets a 10.0 performance rating from jonnyguru who says :
It is completely unmatched by any ATX unit on the market I can think of. You'd have to spend twice as much as this thing costs to find the next best thing, performance wise.
The one thing I both like and dislike about the DF-85 is the locking doors on 5.25" bays....like the security, dislike the extra step of opening the door. If the DF-85's aesthetics don't tickle ya fancy, the HAF-X has most of what the DF-85 has .... want something smaller, look at the Antec 902 V3 (new version w/ front USB 3 port) ...... Assuming you want an alternate 1st tier PSU (10.0 performance rating) for all those other cases which won't fit CPX form factor PSU's, the XFX Black Edition 750 or 850 would meet that criteria (as would the Corsair HX / AX series, Seasonic X series and Antec SG series) but those other ones cost quite a bit more money.
MoBo / CPU falls into the best bang for the buck category. Ya can move up to the 2600k and WS Revolution but that's gonna add almost $200 to ya bill. You could go cheaper, but methinks this P8P67 pro / i5-2500k is a great pairing worth the investment.
RAM - I went with CAS 6 RAM cause ya had plenty of room in the budget. Could go with CAS 9 (avoid modules w/ tall heat sinks) and save $45 ... read about the performance difference here:
2.3 % (SLI) increase in minimum frame rated w/ DDR3-C6 instead of DDR3-C8 in Far Cry 2
18% (single card) / 5% (SLI) increase in minimum frame rated w/ C6 instead of C8 in Dawn of war
15% (single card) / 5% (SLI) increase in minimum frame rated w/ C6 instead of C8 in World in Conflict
Is a 4% increase in system cost worth those kinds of performance increases ? You decide
Cooler / TIM - Ya really don't need a 3rd party cooler for the 2500k unless you wanna fly past 4.4 Ghz or so. But the Mugen 2 is the best cooler by far < $50 and few TIM can meet Shin Etsu's thermal performance. You could buy the best but SB really doesn't need it:
I think the Silver Arrow represents the ultimate air cooler than can be built and still fit within the constraints of an ATX motherboard and a standard computer case. ..... It's almost ironic that coolers like this are becoming available just as processors transition to designs that may ultimately render them unnecessary; even overclocked to 5GHz, an Intel Sandy Bridge 2600K doesn't need anywhere near this level of cooling. Still, it wouldn't hurt, and as I noted earlier, there are still CPUs out there that can benefit from it.
HD - Spinpoint 3, Seagate 7200.12 or WD Black.... no overall winner among the three, pick the one that does best on your apps.
scmg-2100 is a great middle-end cooler but if you wanna get to 4.8+ghz 24/7 I recommend you look at the Silver Arrow, NH-D14, archon, and venemous x or megahalems (with san ace 1011) if you only want to go to around 4.6ghz 24/7 the scmg-2100 should be fine
also for TIM consider GC-Extreme more applications than G751 and easier to apply