I've been trying to find the right set-up balancing quality and price (I'm looking in the $1500-1800), so I've been tweaking this over the last week or so.
I have Windows 7 (64bit) already and will bring that over. Also have suitable mouse/keyboard/etc.
I'm currently running at 1920x1200 resolution, but may be upping that in the near future. I'll also add another gpu down the road. I figure that since I like playing around with heavily modded games (ex: Skyrim), and plan on jumping to a higher resolution (possibly three screen) that 4gb vram might be useful.
check the mb for the speed the pci video slots run at. some low end mb have one slot running at 16x the other at 4x. make sure both slots run at 8x if used. also check that the board is sli/crossfire cirt. some low end mb dont have sli cirt.
@ Icelock, thanks for the suggestions. Sadly I don't have a microcenter near me, and I'm frankly terrified of water cooling. How is Seagate, quality-wise? HDDs, if judging by the feedback posts on newegg (maybe not the best source all the time), seem to have relatively high failure rates.
@smorizio Thanks for the heads up, this is the kind of stuff I tend to miss. Fortunately that board has two 16x ports and supports sli, according to newegg.
seagate did have a firmware bug on some of there older drives where the drives would brick after a set amount of up time. also I think when the flood happend where most of these hard drives are made..there was a new learning curve to retain people to build the drives at other plants. seagate and wd qa may have slipped with them trying to keep up with demand. as a tech i do see both brands die...most times in new builds it how well the drive traveled and was packed. i gotten a whole case of drives that were drop is shipping and were killed. (they made good wood sanders) some of the litter buggers were buzzing loudly.
if new egg or micro center has the drives shipped fine to you or there local store..you should get years out of your hard drive.
side panels can be clear..waffled to let air pass (beter).. and soild with a fan.(best with a large 200mm or larger fan).
if the side panel is open to let air in and out it help gaming pc pull in cold air and push out warm. a large fan is going to blow cold air onto the video cards.