After much deliberation I've picked out these components for a gaming rig, but it will also be used for some 3D rendering.
ASUS P8Z68-V PRO/GEN 3
Sandy Bridge i5-2500K 3.3Ghz (3.7 Turbo Boost)
EVGA Superclocked GeForce GTX 560Ti
G.Skill Sniper series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 1866 Model F3-14900CL9D-8GBSR
CORSAIR Enthusiast Series CMPSU-650TX 650W
LIAN LI Lancool PC-K63 Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case (already have this)
I'm planning on backing up, and wiping the hard drive I have now and re-using that. Also re-using the DVD drive from the old PC.
I am considering upping the amount of RAM because I want to do some 3D rendering on this rig too (my old PC just can't take it). Anyone have some advice on that front?
Also, I've been reading forum posts called "What's my bottleneck?" What is a bottleneck and does this rig have one?
Nope. A bottleneck is not a technical issue like a virus or a fragmented hard drive but an inherent quality of the system. It means that one of your parts will max out under load (the GPU here, in gaming), but the others (CPU, RAM) won't have to. The maxing part, the bottleneck, doesn't process data fast enough to fully stress the rest of the system.
You can never fully eliminate bottlenecks, but you can reduce them by getting closely matched parts. Theoretically, you'd get the best performance for your money if all your parts maxed at once, because you could get lower-end parts if they wouldn't otherwise max out.
A 2500K won't bottleneck on...just about anything gaming-wise, with the GPU hardware that's around right now. OC it enough and it won't limit framerates until the tri-580 range. It's such a good value, though, that it's still the one you should go with. The next time you upgrade you'll probably only have to replace the GPU, and maybe add more RAM.
8gb will be enough for all but big-time HD movie editing, I think.
Well, the GPUs would still be the bottleneck. The CPU would have to work harder, yes.
Really, it's not a problem that you have to avoid here. The 2500K will be a good choice, as I said, because it'll future-pad you a little (recently introduced alternative to "future-proofing," which is meaningless).
This can apply equally, in computers, to bandwidth and processing/data handling power. Your PCIe transfer speed can be a bottleneck, and so can your CPU.
Bottlenecks are often specific to certain types of work. What bottlenecks a computer in gaming (the GPU, usually) will have no effect on video transcoding (the CPU will), and may not matter in rendering if there's not enough RAM.
You've selected an SLI capable MoBo but your PSU is undersized for the 2nd card. I'd suggest either upping the PSU to handle two cards or saving some money and getting a less expensive MoBo that doesn't support SLI.
My recommendation....get an XFX Core Edition 850 to handle the addition of a 2nd GFX card some time later on. You will also find that the XFX Core Editions and the Corsair TX V2 series get identical 9.5 performance ratings from jonnyguru. You will also notice that the XFX models are significantly less expensive:
Why pay $20 - $30 more for the same quality / performance ?
Thanks for the help, great explanation kajabla. Would SLI (with another 560ti, for example) do anything to improve the bottleneck? I won't be doing that as of now but I'm just curious.
Two 560's would give you 862 fps in Guru3D's game test suite for about $430 - $460 compared to 495 fps w/ just one ($215 - $230). Compare that w/ a single 580 which will get ya just 616 fps for $500. The 560's still have much more OC headroom ..... 1000Mhz is easy.....1070 Mhz has been done
A single card will play just about anything on high settings, my son has two 900 Mhz 560 Ti's currently set at 980 Mhz ....we notched them down a bit since he moved the tower under his desk, and the upper card was breaking 82C under OCCT GPU test .... now it's at 80C. He plays everything on max ultra settings and haven't seen anything yet it can't do flawlessly.
For rendering, you'll likely wanna unlock CUDA on those 560's ..... it's officially supported on th 570's and 580's only but you can unlock it using the technique here: