I'm thinking of getting a new computer. I've never built one before so this will be my first, though I may have someone local do the actual build.
My main focus is gaming. I want something that will last a good bit but will also be easy to upgrade in the future. The last computer I bought, which I'm still using, was a Gateway FX7020 in 2007. It's actually served me well, but it's on its last legs. It's also impossible to upgrade the thing, that's why I'm looking at a custom build instead of walking into Best Buy this time.
So far this is what I've come up with:
Case: Cooler Master HAF X RC-942 Full Tower
CPU: Intel Core i5 - 2500k
MOBO: ASRock Z68 Extreme4
Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws 8gb (2x4GB) DDR# 1600
PSU: Corsair HX850 850W Silver Modular
GPU: EVGA Superclocked GTX 570
Data: Crucial M4 64GB SSD
Storage: WD Caviar Black 1TB
Optical: ASUS 24X DVD Burner
Misc: Cooler Master 212 CPU Cooler, Kingston 19-in-1 USB Reader, Windows 7 Home 64-bit
Total is around 1500, ~1460 with rebates. Any problems or glaring mistakes? My monitor is run at 1900x1200.
I might add another GTX 570 in the future to use SLI, will my PSU support that? Overclocking the CPU is another possibility, but not something I'm worried about doing right off the bat.
Also, how necessary, or desirable, is a dedicated sound card?
Yes, that PSU will handle two 570s. I'd decide firmly whether you want to do SLI, because if you don't you can save some money by going to a TX650. If SLI is in the cards, then you might as well go with a TX850. You can still get it modular; the only difference is a slight decrease in efficiency and $20 more in your pocket.
A sound card is rarely necessary. If you have enormous, high-quality audio files, a fantastic speaker system and a discerning ear, you may be able to tell the difference. Also, some very large headphones may benefit from the amplifier in a high-end card, though you might as well just get a cheap, separate headphone amp at that point. Otherwise, a card won't make a discernible difference, I think.
Here's what I've got for this, with my improvements:
185 mobo z68 extreme4
125 psu tx850
060 spinpoint 1tb
020 asus dvd
115 m4 64gb
058 8gb ripjaws 1600
With a 570 at $300, that's your $1456 (prices with rebates). I'm actually not sure how you arrived at that number with the more expensive PSU and HDD, but this seems to be the best you can do on this budget with your SLI plan and case preference.
IMO, you can do better on this budget than leaving a 570 in the future. You could replace the PSU with a TX650 at $85 ($40 more toward the budget) and the HAF X with a similar-looking Storm Scout for $80 (totaling $120 extra, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...).
This gives you $163, if you go right up to budget. For $463 (the $300 that would have gone to the 570, plus extra) you can look at a 580, like this Zotac: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Hold on, that was too complicated, and I think I got it a little wrong. A better build:
80 storm scout
185 mobo z68 extreme4
085 psu tx650
060 spinpoint 1tb
020 dvd asus
115 m4 64gb
058 8gb ripjaws
So, here's your choice, by my calculations:
-two 570s for ~1760
-one 580 for ~1450
The 570s have better performance; whether you think that extra performance is worth $300 is up to you.
maybe you can share your thoughts on the 64gb ssd kaja. im running a pretty light system, and i have over 80gb of programs+OS. i think it would be quite annoying to have to pick and choose each program on the drive.
choosing your graphics setup is probably the most difficult and controversial choice.
the one argument i cant stand in terms of graphics cards is as follows:
im going to buy a single card because single cards have fewer problems. and i can upgrade to a second card later.
that makes no sense. either you accept the issues of crossfire/sli or you dont.
a pair of hd6870's, gtx 560, gtx 560 ti's or hd6950's are going to give you more performance and price/performance than any single gpu available (gtx 580), and you will probably run into more issues on average.
this doesnt mean youre going to have tons of problems with sli or crossfire, and it doesnt mean a single card is going to give you a bad gaming experience.
I appreciate the reply, I've read about issues with Crossfire/SLI setups, but I'm not really familiar with what specific issues might arise. What are the typical problems faced by having a multi-card setup? I appreciate the help.
If you stick to major, recent titles, you will almost never have problems, but there are always horror stories. Some titles will just not run quite as well as they should.
I think 64gb should do you for the SSD. Most programs don't have major load times, or at least they're too short for you to notice the SSD's difference. Load the OS and your games, as many of your favorites as will fit. Those do have appreciable load times, and an SSD will greatly reduce them, while making the OS generally snappier.