I also don't want to be miserable again in 2 years with a sluggish machine, so I'd like this thing to be as future-ready as possible so I can go 5 to 6 or 7 years before upgrading again.
you do can guarantee that - even if you buy the craziest powerhouse machine you can afford, things change. A lot. Which is a pretty good reason to NOT go all overboard, but buy something at a reasonable performance/price index.
With that in mind, an i5 2500k sounds like a very good choice. It's probably the CPU I'd go for if I were to build a new machine now (and after getting a Real Job(TM), I'm not extremely strapped for cash). Frankly, most of the time I wouldn't be able to utilize the extra Oomph an i7 has (the clock speed difference isn't all that high, and we're still at a point where not a lot of software can utilize even 4 cores... so utilizing 4 hyperthreaded
cores? In the future, sure, but not now).
As for motherboard, I'd go for a chipset that lets you utilize the CPU-integrated GPU. "What, why?! I'm buying a powerful discrete GPU!", you say. Yes, you are, and that's what you'll be running your games off. But the integrated GPU can be used for GP-GPU purposes - right
now there isn't a lot of uses (mainly video and audio transcoding), but there's a lot of focus on heterogenous computing right now, so this is something we'll likely see increasing in the future.
Personally, I'd go for a Nvidia GPU. I've simply had less issues with their drivers than AMD/ATi, and visual quality has often been better on the Nvidia GPUs (whether you can tell the difference at 60+ fps is another matter
). AMD cards may pack slightly more brute force for the cash, but that doesn't matter much when they suck at new features like tessellation (OK, nvidia GPUs also suck at that currently, but they suck less than AMD/ATi). And then there's PhysX and CUDA on NVidia, you don't get that with AMD/ATi. Go for a mid-end card, high-end cards are always too expensive
(I'm very happy with my GTX 465).
RAM... last time I looked, RAM speed didn't matter all that much, the intel memory controllers have been extremely effective since the core2 architecture was introduced. It depends on your workload - if you can utilize MANY cores very effectively, and mainly deal with very simple computations, then you could be memory I/O bound. Stuff like file compression (think WinRAR, not audio/video) can benefit somewhat from a lot of memory bandwidth. Games tend to do 'crunch' a bit more and not just move data around.
Perhaps you should go for 8GB intead of 16GB, though? I've got 8GB in my current workstation, and definitely wouldn't go for less... OTOH, even with a 512meg ramdrive, I don't go near the 8GB very often - even with development tools and a couple of virtual machines running. Games are still predominantly 32-bit, and while gaming you probably won't be running a bunch of virtual machines anyway. The i5 has a dual-channel memory architecture, so I'd say grab 2x4GB now - you can always easily add another 2x4GB if you need it.
FWIW, I've been happy with and haven't had trouble with Corsair.
PSU... haven't looked at what's available for ages, so won't make any brand suggestions (even big names have been known to use cheap OEM parts every now and then). But you definitely DO want a modular PSU, they're so much easier to work with instead of the utterly hopeless cable mess (and bad case airflow) you get with a non-modular one. As for 80plus and all that: the more efficient the PSU is under the load you'll be putting on it(!), the less heat it will generate. This means two things:
1) do go for an efficient PSU.
2) don't go for a gazillion Watts, go for one that's close to what you'll be using but with some
room to spare. And then be sure to read reviews (or find somebody on DC that has been keeping up
) and select a stable
but it's hard to get over the feeling that 500 watts is a small amount when they're selling 1,000+ watt PSUs for the gamer market.
My current rig (see bottom of post) idles at 150W, does the same at ~90% CPU usage while running WinRAR benchmark (says something about the CPU not going to more efficient state on idle
), and jumps to 235W when gaming (DnF, there might be more GPU-intensive games but I think it's pretty much "idle or powered up"). 700W PSU was definitely overkill, and is probably not running anywhere near efficiently.DO GET AN SSD
. They rock. Bigtime. You sorta get used to the speed over time, but I really
notice when I'm using a machine with a traditional mechanical HDD. 64GB should be just fine for your OS partition (mine's set at 24GB, but that's too small) - but you do need an additional HDD for all the 'bulk data'. You'll be installing games, the pagefile, and other huge stuff on the HDD. There's been a bunch of flaky SSDs lately, though, and I've been bitten myself by a Vertex2... my Intel X25-E hasn't had a signle hiccup, though. Electronics will be electronics, backups will be non-exis... backups.
I'd also like to overclock the CPU
don't bother. Stresses the system too much, can make it unstable in ways that are very, very subtle - like standby/resume fscking up at weird times. And definitely don't do it just for the sake of
The case you've selected looks like the one my brother (not p3lb0x, the other one) has. It seems to be relatively comfortable to work with, but it's noisy, gathers dust, and has too much disco lighting. Take a look at the case Jeff Atwood
is using for his latest rig - it looks like it's very comfortable to work with, and the cable routing is pure genious... apart from being nicer to work with, removing clutter also means better airflow.
My current rig:
Intel Q6600 CPU
ASUS P5K motherboard (intel P35 chipset)
Gigabyte GeForce GTX460 1GB OC
ThermalTake ToughPower 750W (accidentally(!) got the non-modular version
4x2GB Corsair TWIN2MX-6400-C5DHX DDR2 ram
2xWD 74GB Raptor 10k RPM drives
1xIntel 64GB X25-M SSD
Whatever lite-on optical
Intel PRO/1000PT PCI-e NIC (onboard gbit NIC was too unstable on early Win7, and too slow anyway)
All stuffed in an Aerocool S55 case... looks wonderful, so-so to work with, and WAY TOO THIN SIDES, and thus noisy because of HDD vibration.