I've worked with computers for over 30 years and I know my way around the innards, but I've never build one from scratch and I've never OC'd. So I'm being as meticulous as possible in the hopes I get it all right the first time. I hope you'll forgive the novice questions.
And as for OCing, I'm going to be very conservative. I'll run everything at default speeds for awhile and then push to 4.2 GHz and let that run for awhile. And then push to 4.4 or 4.5. Whatever speed I end up at, I'm not planning to increase the voltage at all. Like I said - conservative. I just want to make sure I'm putting a system together that will handle it.
Video - not sure yet. considering:
Radeon HD 7850 (don't know which manufacturer is best)
GeForce GTX 670 (again, which manufacturer is best)
Case - not sure yet.
Second, the usage:
Photoshop CS6 and Lightroom 4. Very likely I'll be processing the monster image files from a Nikon D800. Not particularly insterested in video, but I'm sure I'll play with it some, just because it's there. And hey, you never know how much I'll like it.
In addition to PS and LR4, I usually have another 10-12 programs (office stuff, programming, utilities and such) open with a couple of them running things concurrently. And I always have a million tabs open in Firefox.
- Since I'm planning to OC a little, should I get 1600 memory, or something faster? Corsair says their memory has room for OCing so my inclination is to go with the 1600.
- I need to make sure whatever cooler I get will fit and not bump into the memory. I'm not quite sure how to go about finding this out. It looks like any memory I get is going to have large heat spreaders. The Corsair low profile memory doesn't go up to 32GB. I've read some comments about this being a problem and I'd like to avoid it if possible. Any suggestions? Not interested in liquid cooling.
- Oddly enough, or perhaps not, I'm a little concerned about the thermal paste. Seems like this has to be done just right to work properly. I will of course watch a few videos before I do it myself. Also, will the paste that comes with the cooler be OK, or should I spring for Arctic Silver 5 that seems to be all the rage.
- I've enjoyed NVidia more than ATI in the past, but the 670 is expensive so I'm considering a 7850. I want 2MB of memory on the card because Photoshop now loves the GPU. Any special consideration I should take into account?
- The Radeon cards only have 1 DVI connection. I have two monitors with DVI connections. Just use an adapter for one of the Display Ports?
- Looking for suggestions. I like the little SSD cage in the COOLER MASTER HAF 912, but it only has USB 2.0 in front so that's no good. Things I'd like: Less than $100, USB 3.0 in front, power and any ports on or near top, a 3.5" bay for a media card reader, and a couple of 5.25" bays for optical drives. Not looking for anything fancy, plain but functional is just fine, although I wouldn't mind a few ease of use features. I assume airflow is a consideration. I'd like larger, quieter fans and one at the top too, I think. I've been busy researching everything else, so I haven't spent much time on the case yet.
I've spent many hours researching and have learned a lot (and yes, for the most part I have enjoyed it), but there's a ton of info and of course some of it is conflicting since everyone has their own experiences with components. But I'm always up for more opinions.
The ram will fit with the EVO ( it will stick above the fan on the Cooler blocking a small amount of air flow ) but will not hit, you could always use a slim line 120mm fan also.
Yes you should get DDR3 1600 ( so when you OC the CPU you dont OC your ram speed by turning up the FSB )
I would go with a NVidia for CUBA for your work ( if it uses it )
The Case is your call i went with a Corsair 550D, I really like it ( but it was 149.99 with a 10 MIR so 139, a bit more then your 100 bucks.
I did look at other MBs, including the ones you mentioned, but I went with the Intel board for a couple of reasons. A friend who often puts builds systems for clients has had good results with them. I wanted at least 4 SATA III connections for future SSD expansion and many MBs only had 2. And having Intel's own (OC friendly) BIOS to overclock Intel's MB seems like a good idea.
I didn't think about changing the fan on the EVO. It's good to know I can do that. Would any slim line 120mm fan do, or is there some compatibility with the cooler I should be aware of?
Thanx for the case pix. Probably won't go with that one because I hate cases with front doors, although I suppose I could remove it.
I used many different PSU calculators and eXtreme Power Supply Calculator ( http://www.extreme.outervision.com/PSUEngine ) seemed by far the best. It kept coming up over 600W. Since I'm sure I will be adding multiple extra HDDs, a slight possibility of adding a second video card, and definitely overclocking (at least a little), I thought the extra headroom would be good. Plus there's a rebate on that unit and separate discount, so it wasn't terribly expensive.
polishboy, thanx for the recommendations. The Antec is a little worrisome without a front fan and it looks like the back cutout is prearranged and it definitely won't work with my MB. The NZXT is a little more like it (although I wasn't thinking WHITE) and I'll put it on my list of cases to consider.