This is what I have so far:
do I need thermal paste
PSU to 800W for a HD 7970 crossfire in future?
Do I need to wait for a Geforce GTX 680? (don't like the 2GB vRAM buffer though)
also will my HD 7970 fit into my NZXT case?
will my custom cooler fit into my case?
Approximate Purchase Date: in the next two months
Budget Range: (e.g.: 600-800) 1200 - 1330 max
System Usage from Most to Least Important: intensive gaming, homework and watching movies (not blu-ray)
Parts Not Required: windows 7 home premium
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: only newegg - may accept amazon on rare occasion
Country: doesn't matter.
Parts Preferences: doesn't matter, just don't give me some obscure brands
SLI or Crossfire: in the future
Monitor Resolution: 1080p
This is what I have so far and all components are off newegg.
NZXT Apollo Black SECC Steel Chassis ATX Mid Tower Computer Case $59.99
XFX FX-797A-TNFC Radeon HD 7970 Core Edition 3GB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card $479.99
SONY Black SATA DVD-ROM Drive Model DDU1681S-0B - OEM $19.99
Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive $99.99
Logitech Wireless Combo MK260 920-002950 Black USB RF Wireless Standard Keyboard and Mouse $27.99
Acer S230HLAbii Black 23" 5ms HDMI LED Backlight Widescreen LCD Monitor $149.99
Antec EarthWatts EA-650 GREEN 650W ATX12V v2.3 SLI Ready CrossFire Certified 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply $79.99
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBRL $46.99
MSI Z77MA-G45 LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS $124.99
First off the 3450 is a locked cpu and won't over clock, also that 650w psu is never going to push two of those cards if you ever decide to add another one. The reason I mention this is because you have "maybe" filled out next to dual cards and over clocking. I have no idea on that case. I would look for a case though that has front 3.0 USB ports seeing how all the Z77 boards have a front USB header.
The problem here is that I'm not buying a 300 dollar motherboard - that is overkill and I might go for a core i5-3570K with GTX 670 and add in a 800w corsair PSU. I know about the core i5-3450 can't overclock - it's just that if I want to, I'll have to go for the i5-3570K - I was considering a cheaper sandy build - but I guess it's worth getting Ivy bridge for now. Now though I still don't have the money yet to buy my PC but I'll go for it once I do. I'm not really worried about Haswell and Tenerife (AMD Radeon HD 89xx series). But thanks for the tips.
so now: can I use a Z68 mobo with the need to flash or is my Z77 mobo good enough - also is it worth it to get the GTX 670 but in the risk that supplies will run out. Thanks to my time frame, even the GTX 680 might become in stock again but for now I'm contemplating a core i5-3570K with GTX 670 vs my i5-3450 and HD 7970 build. Which is better?
COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO RR-212E-20PK-R2 Continuous Direct Contact 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler Compatible with latest Intel processors $34.99
Total: 1,294.89 no rebates - cheaper than previous build! Pray for GTX 670 avaliability two months down the road unless AMD slashes prices yet again - bringing the HD 7970 down to 399.99 which then I will go AMD.