Ok, this is my newest and favorite configuration so far:
CPU: i7-3820 $289.99
At $289.99 the 3820 puts X79 smack in the middle of upper end 1155 builds. Natural pci-e 3.0, 40 lanes ondie. While some may say this is overkill at the price it can afford to be. I see this as current technology supporting pci-e 3.0 w/o having to wait for IB. I also look back at 775 vs 1366 and remember which of the two lasted the longest.
Mobo: AsRock Exteme7 2011 $259.99
So many different pci-e configs on this board. x16x16x8, x16x8x8x8, x8x8x8x8x8. At $260 this board is less expensive than it's 1155 NF200 counterpart which comes in at $279.99. Internal USB 3.0 headers were the really only other concern I had going in.
GPU: Sapphire 7950 $449.99
There were leaked benchmarks of the 7950 today. If they're to be believed the 7950 while not capable of unlocking 7970 shaders, can be pushed beyond the stock speeds of the 7970. This build only includes one GPU, one Monitor but I have the full intent to add a 2nd/3rd card and 2x more monitors down the road.
RAM: CORSAIR XMS3 16GB (4 x 4GB) CAS9 1333 $79.99
I would have preferred 1600 speeds, but recent reports that overclocking ram beyond 1333 can void your cpu warranty lead me here. Memory timings have rarely been much of a bottleneck regardless so the jump doesn't represent a significant loss of performance. I also would have preferred 32GB but budget constraints kept me at 16GB. I plan to run a 8GB Superspeed Supercache drive to the 4x OCZ Vertex 3. I'll also have a 1GB RAMDisk for temp files, internet cache and recycle bin so that these writes will not hit the SSDs.
PSU: Cooler Master Silent Pro RS850 $149.99
This particular CM got a 9.2 from HWS and it's the least expensive model that supports 6x 8 pin. This is here for future 7950 adds.
RAID Controller: HighPoint RocketRAID 2720SGL $159.99
One of my goals for this build was to crack 1 GB/s reads and writes. While it's possible to do it with 2x Max IOPs edition Vertexes on the Intel 6gb/s controller I really wanted something with more expandability and performance. Unfortunately Intel limits both 1155 and 2011 to a max of 2 drives per 6Gb/s controller meaning anything above this for RAID0 requires an add-on card. Ideal would be the LSI 9265-i8 with dual ROCs and 1GB cache, but at $649 (plus another $179 for fastcache) it just wasn't in the budget. The Highpoint has actually had really good reviews at RAID0 using up to 8 SSDs.
HDD: WD 2TB Green 5400 2TB $114.99
This is a pure price per mb pick. Personally I'm not fond of WD and even less fond of 5400 rpm drives, but I've got the SSDs for performance whereas this is more for storage.
SSD: OCZ Vertex 3 60GB x 4 $415.96
I want blistering performance at a price that is reasonable. I know about the past issues with SF2281. I know about the risks of RAID0. With those things being said you can't beat the price/performance ratio here. I'm hoping for 1500 reads and 1200 writes. The next closest thing to that performance wise is the Revo 3x2 240gb, which is basically just 4x agility 3 60gb in a OCZ modified version of Marvell's wretched 9128 RAID controller. It runs $649.99. Even if you include the cost of the RAID card I'm still coming out less expensive, and I have the ability to add 4 more SSDs for 2500/1700 type performance in the future.
Case: Silverstone Raven RV02B-EW $184.99
90 degree mobo, 3x180mm Air Penetrator fans that were raved about in the White Limited Edition RV02. This case represents the upper echelon in air cooling. While there are a handful of cases that cool better at the cpu or the gpu, there aren't many that do it as well for both. Will hold a NH-D14 and 3x7950.
Monitor: Samsung S23A750 1920x1080 120hz $349.99
I really went back and forth over a 2nd Eyefinity 3x1 1920x1200 IPS build or a 120hz build. At the end of the day I went 120hz with the idea of upgrading to an Eyefinity 120hz setup at a later date. This enabled me to keep the costs down in order to squeeze in the SSD/RAID setup while also keeping future options open. Besides I'm tired of fighting with Eyefinity everytime AMD releases a new driver or a new game comes along that doesn't work well with it. I don't care much about the 3D aspect of this screen, I'm mostly interested in the 2D 120hz.
HSF: Noctua NH-D14 2011 $89.99
X79 doesn't ship with a cooler, but this was a given regardless. I considered the TR Silver Arrow as well but I'd rather do all my shopping from newegg if possible so it ships with other parts.
Win7 Home 64 $99.99
ASUS 24x DVD-RW $18.99
This goes over my target of $2500 by a little, so I'm hoping between now and Feb 13 when the 3820 hits shelves we see a few more breaks in prices here and there. I might also pick up a few parts from Amazon as I have Prime with free 2 day shipping. There might also be a handful of bundles I can put together to save me a few bucks.
The 3820 won't ship until Feb 13th, but I'm sure it'll be either newegg or amazon as I don't have a microcenter close by. I've been holding out for it, and to see the 7950 benchmarks. A few more weeks of research and consideration isn't going to hurt.
I cant see any convincing argument to buy one for gaming , unless you consider expensive RAM kits and high priced motherboards to be an advantage
You're absolutely correct. It's going to perform exceptionally close to the 1155 4c/4ht cpus. The catch is that it's going to cost about the same as an 1155 NF200 build with the i5-2500K, but gain the hyperthreading, pci-e 3.0 across the board, and 40 natural lanes vs the 20+20 of the NF200. While the NF200 is fine for passing gpu information, I'm not sure how (or if) it'd work with with PCI-e RAID card.
edit: Quad Channel RAM is no more expensive than Dual Channel if you stick with the 4gb sticks. It only gets expensive when you move up to the 8GB dimms. Again, the motherboards are actually less expensive than their NF200 1155 counterparts. With the end-goal of tri-fire 7950 a typical x8/x8 1155 doesn't suit my needs.