Any suggestions (critiques, substitutions, etc.) are appreciated. Everything is within the return/exchange period and is ordered from amazon (due to an existing prime membership and the ease of return/exchange; the components are also ordered directly from amazon rather than one of their third party retailers--whenever possible--to facilitate the ease of potential returns/exchanges) so it can be adjusted without much headache.
Intel i5 2500k (3.3, 3.7)
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler
Gigabyte Intel Z68 ATX DDR3 2133 LGA 1155 Motherboard
Corsair 650 watt power supply
Corsair 16gb DDR3 Ram (1600mhz)
Western Digital 1TB Black
EVGA Geforce gtx 560 ti Superclocked
EVGA Geforce gtx 560 (this card is the result of a screw up on my part, that was shipped before my order cancellation of it was processed. So I can, potentially, either return this card or return the gtx ti superclocked and order another gtx 560 in order to setup sli. Unless people suggest otherwise for good reason, I'm planning on keeping the gtx 560 ti Superclocked and returning this card).
Asus 24xDVD±RW Drive DVD-RAM/±R/±RW 24x8x16x(DVD) 48x32x48x(CD) Serial ATA Internal
Windows 7 Pro 64 bit
At the moment I'm planning on using an Alienware case from a few years ago.
Available components that could be used: A 7.1 Soundcard (which I wasn't going to bother with due to the built in sound support of the motherboard), The cpu liquid cooler from the Alienware system (which I'm not sure will fit with the new setup so I was planning on not using), the case fans in the Alienware case (all of which have been cleaned regularly and still work well) and a couple Cooler Master 120mm case fans (which would be tricky to add to the Alienware case, but could be added if I got a new case which needed them).
One thing that did stand out is the size of your PSU- for an SLI system with two GTX 560 TIs, 650w is not really sufficient. Maybe you'll get away with it today, but as the capacitors begin to age you may find that your PC either starts to crash during max load, or the GPUs are not allowed to reach full load, restricting performance. I would recommend 750W at the very least, although 800 or perhaps 850W would be even better and would leave some headroom for overclocks and upgrades.
I would also recommend that you send back the GTX 560 (plain) and buy another GTX 560TI for SLI- the TI is a noticably better card than the plain GTX 560.
16GB of RAM is also excessive unless you do a lot of heavy photo/video editing work, although that's your call if you're willing to pay. Windows 7 rarely uses more than 4GB or RAM (except with certain memory intensive software), so 16GB seems like overkill. 8GB probably offers a sensible midde ground.
If you've got a decent set of speakers and you've got room on the motherboard for the soundcard (without restricting the graphics cards' air flow) then you might as well use the sound card, it will offer slightly better quality audio without the risk of the interference you sometimes get with onboard sound chips.
You may be able to reuse the CPU watercooler. Try to find out its manufacturer and model (I imagine it will be Corsair, CoolIT or Antec perhaps) and google reviews. If they're positive you might as well use it, providing its not too old (otherwise there could be a risk of leaks or poor cooling due to ageing).
My final recommendation would be getting a better CPU cooler and overclocking that i5 2500k to unlock a nice big slice of extra performance. There are plenty of overclocking guides for the i5 2500k on forums such as this one, namely because the i5 2500k is an epic overclocker. If you do want to overclock the CPU, 16GB of RAM will probably prove inhibitive as all of your memory slots are full so your memory controller is under increased strain and therefore may not support an OC.
Once the system is complete, monitor your temps closely to make sure things are not getting too hot in that Alienware case- especially if it was designed with CPU watercooling in mind, you may find heat builds up because of your dual graphics cards and CPU HSF which dissapates heat inside the case (whilst a watercooler transfers heat more directly out of the case).
The ram is 1.5v. Yes, my current plan is to run the single card (the gtx 560 ti superclocked) and to return the other one; so no sli. I'll take a look at the liquid cooler info from alienware and see if it will work with the newer system.
The model numbers someone asked for are:
I'll take a look at more powerful power supply units.