System Usage from Most to Least Important: Photoshop CS5, RAW image editing, Gaming, Video editing.
Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS (I have Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit)
Parts Preferences: Intel CPU on Asus Mobo
Overclocking: Maybe - Only as much as allowed by motherboard manufacturer's SW utility. No manual tweaking.
SLI or Crossfire: Yes if required
Monitor Resolution: (1920x1200) on 23" Dell Ultrasharp as of now. May go for a new 27" monitor in future.
***I need help in choosing between following components***
1. CPU- i5 2500K or i7 2600K - and why?
2. CPU Cooler - Please suggest. As said, I'm not going to overclock manually.
3. Motherboard - "Asus P8Z68-V LE Z68" or "Asus P8Z68-V PRO". (I love Asus!)
4. RAM - Will have 8 GB DDR3. Gskill Ripjaws X F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL or should I go for other brand like Corsair? Will 16GB make much difference? Doesn't cost much.
5. Graphics Card - Will a discreet graphics card be necessary? With i5 or i7 and a Z68 mobo, won't Intel's built-in graphics be enough? I have been using crossfire with 2x HD4850 cards on Asus P5QPro mobo. So if absolutely necessary then I can purchase a 2GB single graphics card or even crossfire setup. Just don't know the capabilities of the new visual technology built in i5 or i7. Please help.
6. Storage - Shall be using SSD for boot drive and three 1 TB HDDs for various types of data.
7. PSU - please suggest power requirement without discreet graphics card and also with a single 2GB or 2x1GB CF setups.
8. Case - don't want to show off. Just a sober case with enough room and fans. Please suggest.
2500K should be enough. most programs barely use hyperthreading in the 2600k. Get a cheap $30 Cooler masters 212+ so you can overclock the 2500K to 4.5ghz at 1.35Volts..this is extremely safe and not like it used to be 2-3 yrs back. 90%+ of 2500ks overclock to this frequency without any issue..just flip the multipler to 45 and increase voltage.
Video card...if you're spending close to $2k...get 6970X2 crossfire...4gb total Vram. If yuo can wait till 2 months..then 7000 series is coming out and it will give you a more future proof product.
PSU..for 2x 6970 you will need 850W...I say get a $130-$150 1000W PSU...with 80Amps on 12v rail..you can get a good brand for that price during christmas..DONOT pay for the 80+ logo...its fraud.
Get OCZ vertex 3 Max Iops 120gb SSD...i have it..and everything is light yrs faster than HDD...you will never go back to HDD. 6-7 windows boots if you're startup doesn't have 50 programs to load..Patriot wildfire 120gb is equally good but costs more. Mushkin enchanced chronos deluxe is good too..costs a litte more though.
Case- Cooler master 692...the legendary case....or Cougar Evolution (rips of CM 692), or NZXT phantom....or CM 932. All good. I say go with the first 2 I listed...they are under $90 and can fit everything...with tons of fans...nice looks..and features...Cougar has external USB 3.0 too.
1. 2600k. It has hyperthreading for 8 threads to process your photoshop/video editing/photo editing faster
2. If you aren't going to overclock then the stock cooler is fine.
3. The cheaper one. I don't think there is a big difference between LE and Pro
4. More memory is always a plus for your work. I'd get the 4x4GB.
5. CS5 is optimized for CUDA. I'd recommend getting an nvidia card to again speed up work. I believe anything gtx260+ will be sufficient. I'd recommend a 460 or 560 if budget is tight.
6. I'd pick a larger SSD. Photoshop is really great for having on an SSD and moving files around quickly
7. I think you are confused on how crossfire works. The vram isn't additive. If you crossfire two 1GB graphics cards their vram is still only 1GB. As stated earlier with an nvidia card, you'd only need 500W psu to handle your system. If you wanted to add a 2nd card then 600-650W supply would be needed.
8. Does it matter how large? For a mid tower I'd go with Antec 300 or if you want a beefer mid tower then the Antec 900. If you want a full tower I'd go with a cooler master HAF 932.
I will go for i7 2600K, Asus Asus P8Z68-V PROm, 4x4GB RAM (Gskill or Corsair)
About Graphics Card, please tell me which brand of Nvdia card that supports CUDA. I saw on Nvidia website that CUDA is supported only by NVIDIA Quadro® GPUs and new NVIDIA® Maximus™. So does GeForce GTX 560 Ti have these technologies?