ASUS P9X79 - Install / Configuration Questions

Hi Forum. I would like some advice / suggestions on the "best" steps and sequence for installing and configuring an Asus P9X79 Deluxe motherboard. I have read the manual carefully, and am a bit concerned / confused regarding the issues around BIOS updating / Windows Install (Windows 7 Professional - and ultimately Windows 8 Pro, both 64-Bit) / and RAID 1 / SDD Configurations.

My system specs are as follows:

Case - Master Cooler HAF X
MotherBoard - ASUS - P9X79 - Deluxe
CPU - Intel Core i7-3960X
CPU Cooler - Corsair H100
Memory - Corsair Dominator Platinum 64 GB (8x8) DDR3 2133MHz
Power Supply: CORSAIR AX 1200i
HDD - (2) Western Digital Caviar Black 2 TB SATA III (connected to Intel X79 Serial ATA 6.0 Gb/s ports) – Plan to configure as RAID 1 (mirroring)
SSD Cache: Corsair Accelerator Series 60 GB SSD Cache Drive (connected to Marvell Serial ATA 6.0 Gb/s port)
HDD - (1) Western Digital Caviar Black 2 TB SATA III (connected to Marvell Serial ATA 6.0 Gb/s port) – Apparently required for SDD caching... expect to use the drive as an internal data backup( I suppose). I am a bit unsure of this... I HOPE the SDD cache will work!!!
DVD Reader / Burner: ASUS BW-12B1ST/BLK/G/AS 12X Blu-ray Internal Burner (connected to Intel X79 Serial ATA 3.0 Gb/s port)
Video Cards: (2) EVGA GeForce GTX690 Signature 4096MB GDDR5 - SLI Configuration
Monitors: (2) Asus VS248H-P 24-Inch Full-HD LED Monitor
Fan / Lighting control: Corsair Link
Keyboard: Logitech G19
Mouse: Mad Catz R.A.T. 9
Speakers: Logitech Surround Sound Speaker System Z906
OS: Windows 7 Professional 64-Bit (Plan to migrate to Windows 8 Pro upon its release)


My "plan" for installing the MB is this:
1 - Install case offsets for MB
2 - Install CPU on Motherboard
3 - Install Motherboard in system case
4 - Attach CPU Cooling unit to CPU (H100)
5 - Install memory (8 DIMM modules)
6 - Connect 2 power connectors from PSU to Motherboard (PSU is NOT plugged in!!)
7 - Install and connect (power & data cables) SATA DRIVES (2 on Intel 6.0Gb/s) 1 on Marvell 6.0 Gb/s
8 - Install and connect (power & data cables) SDD on Marvell 6.0 Gb/s
9 - Install and connect DVD Reader / Burner - Intel 3.0 Gb/s SATA Port
10 - Install Bluetooth Module
11 - Install and connect Video Cards (2) - use SLI Bridge

:o 12 ??!! - USB BIOS FLASHBACK! NOT SURE OF THIS!!! I SUSPECT (but am not yet certain) the BIOS is the latest version available on the MotherBoard. I am unclear as to if I need to perform the BIOS FLASHBACK before I initially try to power up the unit. I would appreciate suggestions / guidance.

13 -Connect Monitors (following the connection guidelines on Nvidia's site for dual 690s in SLI configuration)

14 - Connect Keyboard, Mouse, Audio Cables and PSU Cable

15 - Initial Power UP (gulp) / Followed by various configuration tasks

**!! I've noted several confusing (well, for me, anyway) steps that I am not sure about and ask for suggestions.

:o A - P9X79-DELUXE-CAP-Converter - I believe that IF my MotherBoard BIOS is BELOW 1203, I MUST run this utility which converts the BIOS structure from .ROM to .CAP for Windows 8 full-functionality and converts the BIOS directly to BIOS version 2104.CAP. I suppose that once I know the board's actual BIOS version, I will know if I need to run this utility.

:o B - There are a number of procedures that relate to RAID drives, converting system drives from IDE to ACHI, Intel IRST Driver, and a RAID driver disk (floppy). I am CONFUSED as to what actually applies to my configuration, and would appreciate any guidance. I *think* I ONLY need the RAID floppy disk IF I am running XP, but it seems that it is NOT needed for Windows 7 or 8 (64-Bit).

Thanks to all suggestions. I HOPE this might help others that are new to system building like myself.
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  1. After working for a couple of years as a hardware tech, let me just suggest a slightly different plan.

    The first thing to do is put together just a bare minimum setup needed for POST. So motherboard, CPU, RAM, video card, PSU. Short the power pins on the board and make sure that the unit will at least POST successfully. You can also add in a keyboard and mouse if you want to verify the BIOS revision from the factory. It might be that you don't need to update anything at all. There's little more annoying than spending all the time to hook everything up, and then find out that it's not going to even POST. Then you have to tear everything down again, and it's a lot of wasted time.

    Once you know that you can at least get the unit to POST, you can go about putting everything else into the case and hooking it up. The particular order doesn't really matter, just whatever is most convenient given the layout of the case. Usually connecting up the smaller wires of the case first is easier, so you have room to see what you're doing and get your hands in there. Not to sound racist and sexist at the same time, but unless you have the hands of a 6 year old asian girl, get those little cables in before you have video cards and other things blocking easy access.

    As for your BIOS upgrade question, someone was kind enough to make up a little video to cover the process:
  2. Thank you Scott! GREAT advice! I will definitely follow a "staged" build, as you suggest.
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