I'm very close, like no more than a week away from getting a system from Cyberpower. I have a $3300 budget and game at 1650x1050. I have always gamed on one video card. I'm looking at AAA games coming very soon like Rage, Skyrim, BF3, MW3 Mass Effect 3, Bioshock Infinite, etc. I don't edit A/V, although I use Photoshop for my large Canon 5D2 files. I have a few questions regarding the technology that's out there. Hopefully your answers will help me decide on what to get.
A. Everybody seems to say this is yesterday's tech.
B. My thinking is it may be to some degree, but it could be solid and an easier build with less issues???
A. Should I get the latest?
3. Video Card
A. I'm partial to EVGA and getting a 3Gig 580. I think a 590 will be too hot(I'm in a small room)
4. Z68/Video card
A. I had read something about getting a Z68 board will better future-proof upgreading to a better video card down the road?
A. I'm in a small room, but again I've always had just one video card and I don't over-clock anything, so does today's tech run about the same as what I have or even cooler.( I have a EVGA 285 card and a quad core 6600 CPU.)
B. I'm not a fan of liquid cooling, do I need it?
6. SSD vs HD vs SSD caching
A. I like the idea of SSD, but the prices are a bit high and the capacity is not quite there yet. My minimum sys drive is 300GB
B. I like the idea of the Z68 being able to do SSD caching to get what appears to be a noticable jump in performance with a HD
C. Should I even bother with SSD or SSF caching and just get something like a WD Velociraptor: either 300 or 600 GB.
D. If I went SSD, I heard something about there's a finite save/writing cap??? How stable???
E. If I went SSD(like a little 60GB drive), will it work with a fast velociraptor?
7. Between MB chipsets:
A. Older like X58 seem to have triple channel memory architexture.
B. Z68 seems to be dual channel architexture
A. I love Corsair and I'm looking at 16GB of Vengence memory?
A. I love my Thermaltake Armor(like Version 1), but cyberpower doesn't have that. How's the Coolermaster HAF full tower? That's my next choice.
A. Either a 1200W Corsair or Thermaltake.....I hope that will put me into the clear.
Any thoughts will be appreciated.......Thanks........
I'm not going to restrict my recommendations to cyberpower. My personal recommendation is that you pick the parts individually and build the computer yourself, but feel free to spend your money however you'd like. That being said, I'll try to answer some of your questions.
First of all...if you've got a $3300 budget you're going to want a new monitor. 1650 resolution isn't really high end gaming.
There are P67 vs. Z68 arguments, but if you're going with Intel then don't go with X58. It's old and the socket 1155 chips work great. I recommend Z68.
On $3300 dual 580 3gb cards are perfectly within reach. I know you've classically used one card but sli/crossfire is a big part of high-end gaming.
Z68 boards will support Ivy Bridge processors when they come out. The only other future upgradability I can think of on a Z68 board is that some of the boards come with PCIe 3.0 x16 slots instead of PCIe 2.0 x16 slots. Sandy Bridge won't support PCIe 3.0 but Ivy Bridge will, meaning that if you upgrade to Ivy Bridge you'll be able to use the increased speed of the 3.0 ports.
If you're not overclocking then you don't need liquid cooling. Just make sure to buy a solid case with good air flow.
SSDs don't improve gaming performance. You'll see no difference in FPS with a faster drive - the only difference will be faster load times. 300gb is an expensive SSD. I don't know why your minimum boot drive is 300GB, but a common setup is an SSD for programs and operating system and then a large HDD for mass storage. SSD caching is not really the best use of funds at this point as it doesn't really get much of a performance improvement (I can give sources if you need).
For MB chipsets you should go Z68. I'd start with an i5-2500K on a Z68 board if I were you. Yes, X58 is triple channel and Z68 is dual channel.
Corsair Vengance is a good series and 16GB is more than enough. You're looking for 1600mhz, CAS latency 9, and 1.5V if you're going with the 2500K (or any sandy bridge).
The coolermaster HAF X is a good case with great cooling. Other cases to check out are the Thermaltake Element V and the Silverstone Raven RV02.
Pick a power supply after you pick your video card(s). A Corsair AX1200 is dual 590 wattage.