My plan is to throw in a radeon 6850 - I've seen it on sale recently around $130, so I'll wait for it to hit that again. I also have a 2TB external that I think will become an internal storage drive.
This system is for a bit of everything - gaming, design (autocad, solidworks), programming (matlab, R, sas, c++), everyday browsing and my media storage.
One question I had was with regard to the CPU installation; is the stock i5 thermal paste good enough? Should I pick up an external cpu cooler? I doubt I'll be over clocking in the immediate future, but don't want to rule it out completely either.
Think the 6850 would serve my purposes as a good, reasonably future proof midrange vid card? What are your thoughts on this system? Any tips/suggestions?
Edit: Do you think I should consider the 7700 coming out soon as well? Or go higher to the 6870?
The 7770 overclocks nicely, but it is overpriced at the moment. You can get 6870's for $150 or even less after rebates and they perform as good or better in many cases.
If you need to save the few bucks 6850 is an excellent choice, otherwise the value of 6870 is hard to beat.
^+1 using the standard heatsink the paste works fine.
As for if you should get a different cooler or not, if you don't overclock you don't have to. But if you think that the standard cooler is too noisy for example, a $25 investment on a cooler such as Cooler Master Hyper 212+ will keep things cooler and with much less noise.
Is the stock cooler very loud? I definitely place a premium on silence... I haven't actually put the system together yet, just trying to decide on this before I start assembling.
Does the Cooler Master Hyper 212+ (I see it has a ton of great reviews) come with thermal paste? I figure if I'm picking it up might as well do the entire thing properly.
Also, which paste would you recommend for ease of removal later on? I think my system is pretty good, but the next thing to upgrade in a few years would be the motherboard (more pci-e slots, etc.), so might have to yank the i5 off.
Well it's not extremely loud especially if all the settings are proper so that it adjusts according to temperature.
I know it's louder than many 120mm fan based solutions and it does get louder if you overclock or in general load the CPU heavily.
I wasn't able to find a definitive answer on a quick search through the web.
Most probably you can live with the stock just fine, but if you overclock you want the after market HSF.
Yes Cooler Master Hyper 212+ comes with everything needed to do the installation short of a Philips head screwdriver.
I see the gigabyte one looks like it has three fans on it, whereas the xfx one (td site) has only one. Does this make a difference at all? They're close enough in price that I don't know which to pick.
I'm just putting things together now, and it doesn't look like the 6870 will fit (based on measurements, haven't bought a vid card yet) in the PCIEx16 slot due to the RAM clamps getting in the way... so then I'd have to stick it in the PCIEx4 slot. Is this a big issue? I'm pretty irritated, thought this mobo could handle everything.