This is my first post at Tom's Hardware. I am planning on building a maximized gaming rig with a $2500 budget (though I would prefer to stay far below that) over the summer. As my own homework, I researched some parts on the internet and came up with (what I think is) a workable rig priced at just under $2300. I'll post the parts below, but does anybody have any suggestions on what might improve the build for the specified purpose? If there are any incompatibilities, please tell me, and I will appreciate even differences in preferences for certain components. All useful feedback is welcome. Anyways, the parts are listed here:
CPU: Intel Core i7-2600 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor $294.99 $294.99
CPU Cooler: Corsair Hydro Series H60 74.4 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler $62.24
Motherboard: ASRock Fatal1ty P67 Professional (B3) ATX LGA1155 Motherboard $199.47
Memory: Patriot Extreme Performance 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory $89.99
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Green 2.5TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive $134.60
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7970 3GB Video Card $608.49
Case: Silverstone GD01B-R HTPC Case $139.23
Power Supply: Cooler Master 1300W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply $274.99
Optical Drive: MSI DH-18D5S DVD/CD Drive $27.11 @ CompUSA
Monitor: Hannspree HZ281HPB 27.5" Monitor
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) $99.99
Keyboard: Microsoft SIDEWINDER X4 Wired Gaming Keyboard
Mouse: Logitech M570 Wireless Laser Mouse
Total (before mail-in rebates): $2296.39
Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 8 GBs of DDR3 at 1600 MHz, 1.5 Volts (this is what you should target) and CAS latency 8.
HTPC case will be be cramped and expensive. I would suggest an NZXT Phantom ($129.99) for slightly less or a HAF 912 ($60) for the best value.
The power supply is overkill and not by the most reliable brand. For a system with a single GTX 680, a Corsair TX 750 is fine. If you plan to crossfire, a TX 850 would be better.
For hard drives: With your budget, I would get a 128/120 GB Intel 520 or Patriot Pyro SE SSD to boot windows and your favorite programs from, and then I'd get a 1 TB Samsung Spinpoint F3 for media files and other programs.
Thanks for the advice, mortonww! Like I said, this was a first build, and most of my choices were created by compatibility versus budget rather than in-depth research (I'd no idea where to start). The only thing I (essentially) left the same was using a Mushkin Blackline 16GB DDR3-1600 rather than the 8GB just because I had the budget for it. The extra hundred dollars I saved, even after factoring in the more expensive memory and monitor from Asus, is a definite plus.
And, to Serrix, I'm in college with a full ride from scholarships, the money I make when actually working, rather than volunteering, essentially goes to fun side projects like this. It's either buy something absurdly ridiculous -- more clothes than I need and such -- or use it for something that could be construed as semi-productive.