I really appreciate the time anyone spends to read this, I'm just trying to finalize my build and am very grateful for any feedback.
Motherboard: I plan on picking up an Intel i5-2500k, and will overclock it as needed, but don't plan to initially. What mobo would best suit this processor? Or should I be going for another CPU entirely?
GPU: What is the general consensus on the GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6950 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...), and could I get something that has a better value/price ratio? I've also heard people say that Nvidia goes better with Intel, and to get the GTX 560 Ti, but the Radeon is a bit cheaper, and seems to have better cooling and stability. Again though, these are just impressions, and I'd like to hear some opinions from people who know their stuff better than I do.
My build so far: A 650W power supply from Corsair (Enthusiast series), a HAF 922 Chasis from Cooler Master, 2 X 4Gb RAM from Corsair (not vengeance, just a cheap $23 dollar deal w/ good reviews and 1333MHz speed, which I heard was the max speed for Sandy Bridge builds anyways), and a XIGMATECH LOKI SD963 after-market CPU cooler. I'm waiting on the Hard Drive as the prices are a bit steep right now with the flooding and all, and for a disk reader/writer I'll probably pick up an ASUS for <$20.
What I plan to do with my PC: It's going to be used in college for general academic purposes, and in my free time when I feel like being a bit anti-social for a few hours I'd like to wrangle some serious gaming performance out of it; single-player only though (if it matters). Also, 1920x1080 will be my max resolution, as that's as much as my 23" monitor supports.
Finally, I'd like to maximize the "future-proofability" of this build, and would hope that 2-3 years down the road a few relatively cheap upgrades will suffice for gaming at modest resolutions with the newer stuff.
A thank you in advance to all who reply with advice and info. Cheers.
Thank you very much for the responses so far, I just have two questions (or rather, 2 logical branches of questions):
First off, I think I'll side with the Radeons. I just saw a 2GB Sapphire for $25 bucks more than the GIGABYTE that I was looking at (the card is in the link below). Since I'd like to squeeze as much future-proofability as possible out of this mid-end build, I figured that extra gig was more than worth the 25 buck premium. Apperantly the FLEX technology it comes with allows for multiple screens as well, but I won't be needing that at all, so I want to make sure I'm not wasting cash on a feature that I'm not going to take advantage of. But, with a 10 buck instant rebate it actually costs as much as its twin that doesn't have the FLEX tech, so I thought, Why not?
Has anyone heard anything about this specific card? Are there any HD 6950 manufacturers that you would highly recommend? I'm pretty dead-set on the HD 6950, as it seems solid all around, so now the question falls to which brand would be best? Thoughts on the card listed below would be very welcomed.
Second, motherboards confuse the living hell out of me. I see an HDMI slot and that's basically all that I recognize. So, my question is would I be losing anything in going for that nicely priced model sosfm listed?
All in all I'm quite pleased. The biggest bummer was missing some great $180 sales on the i5-2500k during Black Friday, but I just bought one for $205 off of SuperBiiz, so I didn't do too terrible. Best current price that I could find that wasn't from Microcenter. (if anyone is looking to buy that processor right now, the 20 dollar discount ends today on Biiz, so act quick.)