Everyone has been IMMENSELY helpful counseling me on how to optimize my build. I think I have incorporated those recommendations that worked for me, while still sticking to some components that I was partial to (i.e., case). At the risk of starting too many threads, I wanted to begin a fresh one to get a final check before I make the purchase. Any final advice, or blessing (to provide an ounce of confidence that I'm starting to actually have a clue what I'm doing) would be great.
Heatsink: Antec Kuhler H2O 620 Liquid Cooler ($79.99)
Probably overkill, but any fan/heatsink combo over 150mm tall (almost all) prevented me from using side fan on case (completely vain but loved the case and the blue LED on side fan).
Looks awesome! The dragon rider is a cool case! The one thing I do notice is the SSD. With such a high budget, it might be worth it to grab a Solid3 for the crazy fast speeds. Also, what about a blu ray drive? Movies will no doubt look sick on that IPS.
1. I think that AsRock extreme would be a better choice or the Asus Z68 Pro. Read Tom's Hardware review of these boards
2. For your SSD, if money is an issue take a look at the OCZ Agility 3 120 GB on newegg. It is SATA III 6GB/s third generation Sandforce like the Vertex 3. It is on sale at newegg for $205 after rebates and it is nearly as fast as the Vertex 3 120 GB
3. If you look for sales, you can get the Gskill DDR 2 x 4GB 1866 RAM for $80. The 1600 or 1866 seems to be the sweet spot of performance vs price
4. The CPU cooler the Antec Kuhler cools well but professional reviewers say it is noisy. The Noctua NH-D14 cools just as well and is much quieter. Check out the reviews on Frosty tech
5. For gaming , I like the Corsair 850 HX better than the Antec, however it is more expensive. The Corsair will allow you to crossfire or SLI if you wish. If you run just one GPU it will run as approximately 50% capacity and is over 90% efficient in that range so it will run cooler, quieter and use less energy. It ranges in cost from $120 - $155 depending on if it is on sale.