1. What YOUR PC will be used for. That means what types of tasks you'll be performing.
Main use will be for work: Adobe CS5 (After Effects, Premiere Pro, Photoshop, Illustrator), Cinema 4D, Maya, Nuke. Lot's of working with really large files, HD clips, long 3D renders, etc. However, I'm also kind of a Starcraft 2 addict. Don't play too many other games anymore, but looking to pickup Portal 2 once I build.
2. What YOUR budget is. A price range is acceptable as long as it's not more than a 20% spread
$3000. With all the time I spend staring at my apps loading, waiting for After Effects RAM previews, or twiddling my thumbs while waiting for renders to finish, I figure it's worth it to spend a bit extra on a really solid machine.
3. What country YOU will be buying YOUR parts from.
4. IF YOU have a brand preference. That means, are you an Intel-Fanboy, AMD-Fanboy, ATI-Fanboy, nVidia-Fanboy, Seagate-Fanboy, WD-Fanboy, etc.
Whatever currently has the best performance combined with reliability.
5. If YOU intend on using any of YOUR current parts, and if so, what those parts are.
Only my two LCD's. Clean, new build.
6. IF YOU have searched and/or read similar threads.
I've been reading threads for the last few months or so, delaying the inevitable. After plenty of research, I'm pretty much ready to buy. Looking for any last minute advice or tweaks. The straw that broke the camel's back was a recent project I'm wrapping up that took forever to render; in addition, handling the HD video was agonizingly slow - both in After Effects and in Premiere Pro.
7. IF YOU plan on overclocking or run the system at default speeds.
Looking to get 4.5ghz out of the 2600K. Not looking to go overboard; rather have what's easiest and safest.
8. What resolution YOU plan on gaming with.
Looking to play Starcraft 2 at 2560x1600 with maxed out settings. Also, would like to play Portal 2 at 2560x1600 w/ close to max settings if possible.
9. WHEN do you plan to build it?
Within the next two weeks.
Q6600 @ 3.0ghz
Asus P5K Deluxe
8gb Patriot Extreme DDR2 RAM
EVGA GeForce GTX 260
EVGA GeForce 210
Corsair 620HX PSU
500GB Samsung 7200
1TB WD 5400
2x2TB WD 5400
Logitech G7 Wireless Mouse
Dell 30" WFP3007 LCD
Samsung 2343BWX 23" LCD
[size=-1]My old system has served me well since building it way back in August of 2007. The only upgrades have been going from a dead GTX 8800 Ultra to the GTX 260 via EVGA's warranty, as well as some of the HD's. I've resisted the upgrade urge for the last couple of years, but now the itch must be scratched! The performance increase over the Q6600 is too great now to ignore. I'm doing a lot more work than gaming these days and if I can save a lot of time with a good upgrade, it'll more than make up its cost in time saved/increased productivity. At the same time, I love Starcraft 2 and am getting tired of playing it at 2560x1600 with all the settings set to the lowest.
Ok, so after a few weeks of research, here's my current build plan:
CPU: Intel Core i7-2600K 3.4ghz - $314.99
This was the obvious CPU choice for me. Making the step up to workstation level hardware wasn't really within my budget. Also, the price/performance ratio didn't seem to align too well either. If it's affordable/compatible, I'd like to upgrade to a 6-core SB down the line next year.
HSF: Hyper 212+ - $39.99
I was considering a H60 or H70, as I've never tried water-cooling and it looked interesting/easy. However, I don't really plan to push my OC very high. Decided to stick with the 212+
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws 24gb (6 x 4gb) - $284.99
Can never have enough RAM. Would have liked to go 32gb here, but doesn't seem to be possible right now?
Power Supply: Corsair AX850 PSU - $182.99
Seems to be a solid choice for a PSU. I think this also gives me the upgrade path of SLI'ing another GTX 580 down the road.
Motherboard: Asus P8P67 Deluxe - $229.99
Didn't actually do too much research on motherboards - this one seems to be a popular choice though.
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 580 1.5gb - $479.99
This took a few nights of research - at first I was pretty set on SLI'd 6950's. However, nVidia's got Mercury Playback GPU support in Premiere Pro now. Since I only really play Starcraft 2, I don't think I really need to go SLI (the cost is also kind of exorbitant). The GTX 580 seems to be the best card for me in particular; it has the most CUDA cores for the Premiere Pro acceleration, as well as being beefy enough as a single card to handle Starcraft 2 at 2560x1600 with maxed settings.
I might go 3gb here instead, after doing some more research into how VRAM comes into play with Adobe apps. It seems that increasing VRAM helps with 4K Red footage and other really large stills.
HD 1: OCZ Vertex 3, 240GB - $549.99
This is another one that took a while to decide on. Over the last week, I've had to reboot at least 15 times and reload all my Adobe CS apps. Patience is a virtue, but I was really starting to feel the sluggishness of having to reload multiple apps after every 1-2 minute reboot. Maybe 4-5 minutes total each time I needed to reboot due to a memory leak or crash. I'm aware of the unreliability of SSD's and OCZ in particular, but I plan to do the OS + Apps + Games on SSD plan, with all my work/data files on the two Caviars.
HD 2/3: 2x WD Caviar Black 2TB 7200rpm - $319.98 ($159.99 x 2)
I'm aware that RAID0 offers much enhanced performance with HD video editing, but after losing a handful of RAID0 setups in the past, I'm kind of over them. One of these drives will be used for work/project/video files, while the other one will be more of a storage drive. I've also been looking into getting a 4th drive dedicated to being a scratch disk. Adobe recommends using an SSD for a scratch disk, but I've yet to find too much hard info on this subject (did lots of Googling).
Case: Corsair Obsidian 650D - $199.99
Convenience and clean design helped me make my decision here. I've grown to love easy-to-build cases, after dealing with so many razor-sharp finger traps in the past.
Mouse: Logitech M510 Mouse - $39.99
Surprisingly, it's been difficult searching for a nice wireless mouse that has a good middle mouse button. The middle button gets used a lot in 3D apps and I find that a lot of current mouse designs are poor in this regard. What'll happen is that I try to middle click, and instead I'll scroll the wheel, causing undesired results. My all time favorite mouse was the MX1000, with the old school Intellimouse Explorer a close second. Any advice here would be appreciated.
So I've done most of the legwork. Seeing as it's a particularly large purchase, I thought I'd run it by the forums first and maybe make any last-minute adjustments and fine tunings. Any advice, critique, tips, is greatly appreciated!
Sites used for research:
www.anandtech.com - Various forums.
www.hardocp.com - Various forums.
http://ppbm5.com/Benchmark5.html - Machines with fastest Premiere Pro benchmarks.
www.adobe.com - Various forums.