It has been many years that I have been out of "the game" as it were. I was the tech editor for the A+ book based on the 11th edition of upgrading and repairing PCs, to give a little perspective. Iam planning to build my first new PC in many years, and I see that much has changed since I had the accident that landed me on my hind end. Now, I did have a general idea of what I wanted to accomplish with this build, looking for reasonable performance for gaming among other things, and this is what I came up with:
Asus p8z68 Deluxe
2X gig Radeon HD 6950 1GB
OCZ Vertex 3 (the 120G SSD, as what we used to call the front drive)
WD 1TB, I am thinking green
16GB DDR3 1600 (I can get the corsair vengeance kit for about $86 today from NewEgg)
Silverstone Raven 3 (RV03)
FSP AU-700 for the power supply
What I would like advice on is the cooling for the CPU, and what your impressions are of the overall build.
the cpu in comparison to the motherboard is not en-par. I wouldn't get this motherboard if i wasnt considering serious, and i mean really serious overclocking.
The power supply you chose is going to be inadequate and dangerous. If you are going to stick with 2x6950 (i would go for that option later on when it is needed. for now it really isn't) then get a good 850watt psu. The rest looks great, only you won't be needing the 16gb of ram, 8 is enough.
I'd say get an asrock z68 extreme 3 gen3 for the sli/xfire support and if you don't wish to overclock the i5 2400 is fine and it won't need any fancy cpu cooling. the stock cooler will do.
Actually, I was planning to overclock, which is why I am interested in a cooling fan as well. I will look into boosting the power supply, see if they have something in an 850+ 8G is enough, eh? Good to know.
1) For your budget, you want the 2500K; there is nothing better. The "K" chips allow you to overclock by raising the multiplier, without one, your options are limited.
2) For a modest, conservative overclock(4.0-4.5), a simple air cooler will be good. No need to spend more than $30 on one. The Xigmatek gaia or cm hyper212 are very good.
3) I am not in favor of dual cards when a good single card will do the job, though many will disagree. Here is my reasoning:
a. How good do you really need to be?
A single GTX560 or 6870 can give you great performance at 1920 x 1200 in most games.
A single GTX560ti or 6950 will give you excellent performance at 1920 x 1200 in most games.
Even 2560 x 1600 will be good with lowered detail.
A single GTX580 is about as good as it gets. The upcoming 7970 will be even better.
Only if you are looking at triple monitor gaming, then sli/cf will be needed.
b. The costs for a single card are lower.
You require a less expensive motherboard; no need for sli/cf or multiple pci-e slots.
Even a ITX motherboard will do.
Your psu costs are less.
A GTX560ti needs a 450w psu, even a GTX580 only needs a 600w psu.
When you add another card to the mix, plan on adding 150-200w to your psu requirements.
Case cooling becomes more of an issue with dual cards.
That means a more expensive case with more and stronger fans.
You will also look at more noise.
c. Dual cards do not always render their half of the display in sync, causing microstuttering. It is an annoying effect.
The benefit of higher benchmark fps can be offset, particularly with lower tier cards.
Read this: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-geforce-stut...
d. dual card support is dependent on the driver. Not all games can benefit from dual cards.
e. cf/sli up front reduces your option to get another card for an upgrade. Not that I suggest you plan for that.
It will often be the case that replacing your current card with a newer gen card will offer a better upgrade path.
4) I very much like a ssd for boot and some apps.
There is much hype with SSD benchmarks. Fast sequential reads and high IOPS seem to be the performance metrics.
Unfortunately, that is not what we normally do. The OS does mainly small random reads and writes. It does so at relatively low queue
The actual drive response times are what matters, and those response times do not differ much among all SSD's.
The SSD gives you much better response times compared to even the fastest hard drives.
Newer drives tout the benefits of 6gb sata, and they do show up well in synthetic benchmarks.
But how many apps do you run that do sequential processing?. If it is enough to make a difference, you probably
can't afford the price for the capacity you need.
My take is, get the capacity you need and don't look back. A SSD makes everything feel so much quicker.
Look at the Intel 320 series today.
In a year, expect the prices per gb to be much lower.
Considering the current high prices for hard drives, I suggest buying just a 80-120gb ssd to start with.
Plan on adding a hard drive for storage later.
The WD 1tb green drive is a good one but slower than the black. It is fine when paired with a ssd.
6) 8gb of dddr3 1600 is good, no value in faster. Also, don't pay extra for fancy heat spreaders. 1.5v ram does not them, and high heat spreaders can interfere with some cpu coolers.
7) The fsp psu you selected is good enough to power any single graphics card made today.
Other quality brands are Seasonic, Corsair, XFX, PC P&C, and Antec. It is not wrong to overrprovision a bit; the psu will then operate in the most efficient middle third of it's range.
Psrhaps not a big issue with a gold rated psu.