System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, programming, video encoding, web browsing
Parts Not Required: Don't need keyboard or mouse. Will get a monitor, but not part of the budget.
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com or amazon.com (keeping in mind that I have free shipping, but tax, from Amazon). Not against other recommended sites but those two are the once I've used the most.
Parts Preferences: ASUS or Gigabyte mobo (unless otherwise recommended), eVGA graphics card
Overclocking: Yes, Ivy Bridge capabilities are ok though (know they are a bit lower than Sandy Bridge)
SLI or Crossfire: Maybe. Not sure if I need SLI for the monitor resolution I plan to go for (with a 60 FPS cap). Also considering a single GTX 590.
Monitor Resolution: I'm planning on getting a 2560x1600 or 2560x1440 monitor (Apple 27" LED is high on the list atm)
Additional Comments: Quiet is nice. I'm not super high on the bling factor - there's usually not a party under my desk so no one would see it. Plan to run with a RAID-0 SSD setup (2xSSD). I set up a potential set of items on a Newegg wish list: http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx...
One more thing I forgot: I picked this motherboard due to (supposedly) better onboard sound. I want to support surround sound without the typical noise levels of onboard sound. The only other mobo I've seen with better sound, and a mobo that's on my list of possibilities is the Gigabyte G1.Sniper 3. If not, I'll probably pick up a Xonar - http://amzn.com/B0017DJXG6
As for SSD's - one 256 MB SSD just isn't enough. I might get one larger one. It's more expensive, slower but you keep TRIM running. Garbage collection should mean that normal use shouldn't suffer much, even though you can get higher write amplication at times.
No. However with some individual games using up towards 20-30 GB each, 256 MB isn't much. My current off-SSD game folder is 262 GB (26 GB of those are steam backups). I also have around 4 GB of applications installed to HD. I have another 36 GB games on my SSD and I'm using a total of 100 GB on that SSD.
So today, I'm already using 330 GB space for games and applications (and this doesn't include ANY user folders, even the basic stuff, since that's also moved to the HD).
~500 GB is sufficient, but certainly not by any huge (next 3-4 years) margins.
To be clear, I don't like shuffling games on and off the SSD, and Steam as a whole (which is a large chunk of my installed games) doesn't let you customize where individual games are installed.
I don't understand using a mATX board for a potential dual card set up. That board just doesn't have good spacing when you take a closer look at it. That and I would go with 2x8GB set of RAM so you don't fill up all four RAM slots right off the get go. Leave yourself an upgrade path.
I've decided to go with a 120 GB system SSD, and the hyper x 480 GB for gaming etc. It'll be fast enough and keeping TRIM is a good idea.
Edit: I've decided and ordered the motherboard now. Just waiting on graphics card availability.
I'm currently set up with notifications from eVGA and Newegg. Any other reliable parts sellers I could sign up alerts on?