First, let me thank you in advance for reviewing my new baby and offering your suggestions and support. I will be online for the next ~6 hours and periodically (ever 2 hours or so) after that. Please feel free to ask me any questions, or criticize some of the choices I have made; I realize I need a lot of help.
My last build was summer of 2005; I received tons of support from this forum; and I'm happy to report my baby just turned 6 over the summer and I've only had to replace the graphics card & a few harddrives.
Approximate Purchase Date: Want to order by Christmas (Unless you guys think some of these parts may come on sale just after)
Budget Range: $1200-$1500
System Usage from Most to Least Important: SC3 : Skyrim : Shogun TW : media server for 52" 1080p : video editing : jenna haze
Parts Not Required: Mouse / Monitor / Speakers / Keyboard (Have everything but the rig)
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I'd pay $10 more for the part from Newegg because of my experience with their RMA. tiger / amazon only if the deal is outrageous.
Country: Midwest USA
Parts Preferences: would rather stick to a brand name MOBO and PSU, everything else can be value; but with the budget I'd rather have performance
Overclocking: Yes (looking for a mid level OC)
SLI or Crossfire: No
Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 & a 52" 1080P
Current Configuration as of 7:00 EST 12/23/11:
CODE:BOLD = Decided | plain text = pretty sure | italics = unsure. in need of help
I'm not sure about the size, but with one fan my 212+ didn't block a RAM slot. With 2 fans, it blocked one slot, so I just moved the kit into the second channel (no performance difference). You may need to do the same depending on how it turns out.
Asus' stuff always seemed a bit expensive for my taste. Gigabyte IMO has the right balance among quality, features, and price. They have solid products, good warranties, and most of the same features as other comparable boards for a little less. I'd look at something like the UD3 or UD4; there aren't many differences.
64GB might not be enough to hold a few games. Windows will take up ~25GB after updates, and you should keep about 10GB free to preserve SSD life, and you'll lose a little space to drivers, utilities, etc. You could do it, but you just need to be aware of your size restrictions.
Other than that, the M4 is the best drive you could buy now.
CASE: Full tower ATX: beyond that I have no idea.
Order of Importance = Room for 4 x HD's & 2 x 6950 > Cooling performance > looks
You have LOTS of choices here. Most cases now have good cooling designs - you just need to set up the build appropriately.
For instance, the CM HAF 932 can cool as well as the Raven RV02, but if you don't get the right style of GPU and don't point the fans the right way you won't see the results.
My advice - shop around, see what you like, and then bring them back here to discuss cooling layout and the like. The case is one of the few things that you get to show a little personal taste in
Keep in mind the 7XXX series is on it's way in, and should come in at about the same price point for comparable cards.
UGH! Haha had to spoil my fun, and here I thought I had it nailed down. I was browsing and I see that the 7950 could drop as early as January 9th. I don't know if I really want to wait that long, especially since the two reports I read placed it in the $300-$400 range. I'll have to think on this
With 2x6950s you're looking at a 750W PSU. The TX750 or XFX Core 750W should be good choices, and are made by Seasonic (the best in the biz).
I would choose the Corsair if you have the money. It has more watts than the other one (if you look at the amps on each rail), which means it should provide you more power to your components and it's certified SLI so it has at least been tested. Plus the warranty and Corsair is a more recommended PSU brand than OCZ.
I'd do P8P67 Pro, WS Revolution or P8Z68-V Pro/GEN3
-Yes, RAM will work w/ ya MoBo but not w/ ya heatsink....what's the attraction to these tall, toothy heat sinks ?
Get same RAM in low profile version.
-As a single card the factory OC'd 6950 (484 fps) versus the factory OC'd 560 Ti is (495 fps) a toss up, bit when paired, ypu should consider that the 560 Ti has a 103 fps advantage and is cheaper.
Guru3D uses the following games in their test suite, COD-MW, Bad Company 2, Dirt 2, Far Cry 2, Metro 2033, Dawn of Discovery, Crysis Warhead. Total fps (summing fps in each game @ 1920 x 1200) for the various options in parenthesis (single card / SL or CF) are tabulated below along with their cost in dollars per frame single card - CF or SLI:
If ya need a 10.0 jonnyguru performance rated unit for extreme OC's, the HX850 or CP-850 (latter requires compatible Antec case). If 9.5 performance rating works for ya (it will for 98% of us) XFC Core Edition is only $90. The XFX 850 gets the same 9.5 jonnyguru performance rating as the Corsair TX750 V2 but gives ya an extra 100 watts and puts $10 back in ya pocket. The XFX is made by Seasonic. The Corsair TX was made by Channelwell .... no definitive word on the V2 version but it has Seasonic look.
-Crucial M4 is a Tier 5 SSD.....Tier 3's are 21% faster according to THG rankings ... with SF bug addressed by firmware update, see no reason to take the performance hit. And most peeps w/ 64GB SSD's soon find they are a bit cramped.... your budget allows double the size so why not.
A single 570 is going to hold its own at 1920x1080 in the vast majority of games even at the highest settings. The BF3 card shootout showed the 570 as pulling down 49 FPS at ultra at your resolution so I'd say it's a solid pick.
It's a setup that will probably show its age in 2 or 3 years, but should get you there without too many problems.