I am getting close to ordering parts for my new build. I am replacing a 2004 computer (I can only convince the 'boss' that I need a new rig when my old one is about to die, so I need to go somewhat high end to ensure it will last) I plan on spending ~1000 to 1500, though am somewhat flexable. I have spent years inside my computer cases patching things up and upgrading, but havent built from scratch yet. I was wondering if I could get some opinions on my choices thus far.
Approximate Purchase Date: Next 2 weeks
System Usage: Gaming (maybe not the main function, but I don't ever want to regret that I can't run them at high frame rates), Graphics (I will do some video editing/encoding), speech recognition (Dragon) and office apps (I know I should have more than enough to handle these)
Parts Not Required, but I am open to replacing because my current ones are average at best: mouse, keyboard, and speakers.
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg, Amazon
Country of Origin: USA
CASE: I am not sure here and would definately like advice. I am limited and need to stay under 19.5 inches high (going to put in desk made for computer (has open back for ventillation on the desk) I would like to ideally have Ieee1394 (firewire) and USB 3 ports on the front of the case. I like the Antec 900, darkfleet 35, and wonder about the coolermaster storm enforcer (front USB3 connecting to mobo header), but would have to get a seperate front panel multi card reader or port for any of these(coolermaster has a new one 3.5" USB 3.0 Adapter - http://cmstore.coolermaster-usa.com/product_info.php?pr...). Any ideas??
CPU fan: I want to stay air cooled because It seems this CPU can overclock easily and not get too hot with aircool. I was looking at the Zalman CNPS9900 Max or the CM hyper212+. I plan on overclocking some to play around with the system, but will not likely leave it OC'd all the time.
GPU: I am having a hard time here also: ATI vs NVIDIA (I am thinking 6950 vs similar priced GeForce) I like the fact that ATI can do 3 monitors on one card, but won't be doing this much. I want the ability to do 3D in the future and it seems support is better with NVIDIA.
Monitor: Not less than 21" I have not looked into these really. I don't know if I want to spend money on a 3D ready one. I am looking for a decent monitor for a reasonable price (bigger = better up to ~24")
MEMORY: I will try to find the best deal on a quality 8GB kit.
First thing I want to say is DROP THE 2600k. Many people think it's better because it has i7 and costs more, but the truth is it's pretty much the exact same as the 2500k, but has Hyper Threading which it looks like you won't be using.
Next thing is I would not get that revodrive. It's expensive, and has reliability issues. Check out the OCZ Agility 3's, they are cheaper/faster.
For a case, just pick something sexy. I believe the HAF 912 has E-sata on the front, but don't quote me on that. It's really about the look.
Since you are cramped for space, look for cases with very good airflow in the front & back as you will be packing it in under a desk.
I would grab the Hyper 212+ or Scythe Mudgen 2100. Both are excellent coolers.
For 3D support, it's a tough call. nVidia has an established 3D market, while AMD is trying to break in with their open source type 3D. It's a tough call for me.
For a monitor, how serious are you with graphics design? If color correctness is a must, get an IPS monitor. They display much more accurately. The cheapest HD IPS monitors are about $200 and run up to thousands of dollars.
For an HDD, I STRONGLY suggest the Samsung Spinpoint F3. It's faster than the WD, and costs much less.
Graphics- you really can't go wrong with the outstanding products available from either NVidia or AMD. As mentioned NVidia has the jump on 3D, whereas AMD offers Eyefinity.
The 6950 is a great choice. Keep in mind the 2GB version (about $15-30 more expensive) will not provide you with ANY extra performance vs the 1GB version until you get into higher resolutions (like using a 2560x1600 monitor or multiple 1920x1080 or 1200 monitors). If you'd like to go with NVidia, the GTX 560ti is a good alternative (the ti is a performance version and is significantly more powerful than the standard GTX 560).
As far as Case and peripherals make sure to shop around and pick something with aesthetics that you enjoy. I use a HAF X (same product line as the HAF 912)- they have a rugged industrial look with a focus on utility. Other cases have more refined looks with sleek, smooth finishes. You should be able to find something that has the features you want and looks that you're happy with. For peripherals I use Razer (Black Widow Mechanical Keyboard and Lachesis mouse). I like the black finish with pulsing blue accent lights with solid performance. There are other themes/looks, just make sure it's something you won't dislike seeing on your desk for a few years. (I know you mentioned you may not replace keyboard + mouse; just food for thought).
You can get a fantastic pair of speakers for $100-150. This can go a long way for making your gaming/music/movie experience more enjoyable for very little money compared to the cost of other components. I use the Klipch Promedia 2.1 set and am very happy with it. Some other great products available as competitors, some cost a bit less.