Hi folks. I've done a lot of reading and thanks all for the wealth of information on these forums, but I have a few specific questions I was hoping someone could answer, as well as get some overall feedback on a possible upgrade/new build.
Approximate Purchase Date: Next 30 days
Budget Range: $600 - $900 (including Mobo, CPU, RAM, possible second GPU and SSD if money allows)
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, gaming and only gaming (with a little web browsing and MS office for work)
Parts Not Required: Just looking for the tower. I am planning on re-using existing PSU (Corsair 620W modular), existing SATA HDD for music storage (but hoping to add SSD for O/S and few games). I will also be re-using my LG DVD RW drive and video card (Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 5770) with plans to possibly add a second in crossfire. Planning on re-using case, Antec Sonata II standard ATX if possible (one of the things I need advice on). Also don't require sound, as I am using a USB headset (Razer Megalodon) with on board sound card.
Preferred Website for Parts: Memory Express (local store, typically great pricing, don't have access to a lot of american parts sites here) http://www.memoryexpress.com/
Country of Origin: Canada
Parts Preferences: Seems like Intel is the way to go right now, have always been AMD fan, then again, used to be Nvidia fan until 4 cards in a row quit on me in mine and wife's computer. Switched to ATI and haven't had a problem since, so I have no problem switching to intel for CPU.
Overclocking: Maybe? I've never done it before, adequate cooling worries me, although i5 - 2500k seems to be easy to overclock from what I have read.
SLI or Crossfire: Eventually
Monitor Resolution:1680x1050 right now, probably upgrading monitor in 6 months or so. Want this new build to last through new monitor and new video card, with option to also increase RAM in future.
I have built my last 2 computers with help, my last one at least 3 years ago (minus a couple video card upgrades) and right now my processor is holding me back. I currently have an entry level AMD dual core processor, 2gb of RAM on an Asus M2N4 - SLI Motherboard with a Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 5770, a Corsair 620W modular PSU in an Antec Sonata II case.
I'm not really playing any games right now, but am going to be playing SWTOR, BF3 and MW3 so I definitely need an upgrade since my computer grinds on current games like Starcraft 2. My wife has all the media on her PC (minus some music on mine) so this computer will be strictly used for gaming. That said, I want to keep this as affordable as possible with a goal of longevity and smaller upgrades to keep me current every 2 years or so. In the past I have usually tried to find the sweet spot between performance and budget, trying to buy right before the prices shoot up in the higher teirs.
Based on the research I have done, I am leaning towards adding to my current computer:
Also looking for 2 x 4GB sticks of RAM, but I have no idea which brand/type to get (thinking obviously DDR3, but not sure of what else) so maybe someone could suggest something here for me?
Thinking 120GB SSD would be a good way to go since I will only be needing to keep my O/S and maybe 3 or 4 games on there, and I can hopefully reuse my existing SATA HDD for music etc. Perhaps someone could make suggestions here as well?
Finally I was going to stick with my single HD 5770 for now, with the option to add another if I am not happy with performance when the new games come out, but would I be better just to upgrade to a single higher end card? Currently that card would only cost me $129 ( http://www.memoryexpress.com/Products/PID-MX27397(ME).aspx ) to add another one so this seems like the best option, but I have never used Crossfire before.
I used http://extreme.outervision.com/PSUEngine PSU calculator and it seems like I have more than enough power (my vid card is an energy saver, only uses 1 PCI E connection from my PSU, so adding another should be ok)
My other concern is cooling. I have always only used stock cooling, in the Antec Sonata II, that comes in the form of a single 120mm fan in the back of the chasis (plus default heat sink and fan for CPU). Assuming I don't OC, would that single fan be enough for the components I am considering? I am thinking most people will tell me to add more, would adding an intake fan to the front provide enough ventilation for dual GPU's?
Thanks all for taking the time to read this (unless I get TL;DR, in which case...) and any suggestions and advice are appreciated. Also looking for any warnings on things I have not yet considered.
edit: if you dont want to overclock then the combo you listed will do fine although if you overclock you will get better performance in games, but the longevity of the cpu decreases. but at stock speeds there isnt that much of an improvement.