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Need Opinions for New Rig

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Feb 14, 2006
I'm looking into current parts and prices and I'm in need of some opinions.

At first I thought I should build a new PC with the optical drives\hard drives\case that I already have. It looks as if I will invariably need a new PSU and just about every unit I've been interested in have top mount fans.

Out of curiosity do most\all PSUs have the same size fan up top?

With that said, I'll need a new case so the new PSU isn't blowing air at a dead end. This I will likely keep basic and inexpensive. To speak generally, I like a solid (or primarily solid) colored case. Black, naturally. I'd like to finally have a hdd bracket that extends all the way to the floor of the tower, so that I may cram 5-6 or however many drives inside my system as I would eventually like to have a RAID array. It would need to be able to fit a bare minimum of two optical drives and preferably two floppy bays so that I may use one for an all-inclusive mini card reader. Front-side headphone and microphone jacks are a plus. Large rear fan (preferably 120mm) and maybe a frontal, or side mounted fan as well (air cooling is not too crucial, better quiet than anything and by the time I need advanced cooling I will switch to liquid). Also, I won't deal with a tower that can't handle a normal ATX board. mATX is not my thing. These requirements I know can be met with little expense, though I would love a ridiculous tower (wouldn't we all?).

I'm going to start off with RAM as I've been recently structuring the entire build in my mind around the RAM technology I'd like to use. I realize the price barrier between DDR2 and DDR3 has largely been dissolved and with that being said, my first thought is why not just buy the best deal I can get on high end DDR3? Even on an AM2 board, it could clock itself down, and I wouldn't have to re-buy it with other upgrades later. The only problem I can see with this is the total cost of decent DDR2 right now, PLUS the cost of DDR3 I would want (by the time it rolls around that I HAVE to upgrade to different technology), may be lesser or not all that different in the end. Opinions?

For the most part I almost just want to buy the highest end AMD chip on the market and end the thinking about it all together. What is it these days? Phenom II x4 965BE? I keep getting bombarded with ideas of other money saving options that can yield basically the performance and save some money for now so that when the 965 is as cheap as what I could settle for right now, I won't be breaking the bank to get it. Isn't it the Tri-Core BE chips that everyone is getting for saving money? You can just unlock the fourth core and OC it like any other higher tiered chip? I think someone on this board even suggested buying a high end dual core CPU and OCing the hell out of it as they can achieve higher clocks, are better known\trusted, and the market has very little need for 4core processors for quite some time. The problem with that is though it can save me quite a few dollars to go that route, I'd rather get the highest up processor and not have to buy another one for YEARS. Any ideas and opinions are welcome. Worded well enough, I could be swayed into a dual or tri core.

I'm half tempted to save a bunch of money here just for a month or two and get some inexpensive mATX AM2\+ board, slap the 965BE (or another higher end chip) and as much high performance DDR3 ram into it as it will hold. The chip and RAM will clock themselves down and the board will essentially be maxed on performance in those areas and will also give a major break of duty to the onboard VGA it will likely have (or the same amount of a bull-**** buffer for a middle of the road pci-e card not to choke to death all day). Before all of this current technology, my old philosophy was to buy the best motherboard you could get for the CPU and RAM technology that you wanted, buy LOW in those categories, get bare minimum video and ride that stuff out as long as you can until the prices of the cpu\ram\video prices plummet and as such, just buy up the highest end stuff the board can handle. This way you have a few MORE years left of a board you just upgraded and substantial enough performances increases that you should be staved off from wanting more so soon. This has always been price and psychologically effective in the past. The issue is that I feel like I could get a nice $300 mobo right now, and by the new year I'll be regretting it (major price drop, new technology introduced to market, etc...). So the question is, big guns\little mobo? or fire peas out of a cannon and have a stout board with plenty of room and time to upgrade for when the high end stuff I want now comes down in price?

So much has changed since AGP 8X. I have to research to even begin to understand the current market, pci-e, sli\crossfire, and all of the **** that is coming down the line at this very moment. I'm half tempted to just cross my fingers and get that ATI HD video card that Maximum PC is drooling over in their 2009 year in review issue right now and waiting for the price to drop so I can get a second one and chain it to the first later. It seems that one by itself will be so much of an upgrade over onboard when I finally get it that waiting to buy the second one won't be so tough. Any thoughts on one solid card (for the money) or two alright ones that perform in a similar way for a comparable price as the former would be greatly appreciated. I'm the most lost right now over video cards.

COMBO deals\Barebones\etc..

I found one really nice deal for the money on NewEgg that could get me started. The issues I have with it are that it utilizes an mATX board, DDR2 technology and supports less than the highest end processors. As SATA and other important ports go, most if not all of my needs are met. I think it even has onboard video which would probably compare to or even beat my current graphics card. I keep looking desperately and generally run into the idea that I can only be truly satisfied purchasing the system piece by piece and that time and money would be lost saving the cash up front buying "kits" and combos etc... Only to turn around and replace parts later when they come down in price. Here is one of my favorites though..

(And yeah, I know this is an Intel setup, the point I'm trying to make with this bundle is that it's pretty complete and a pretty good deal for getting started, with minimal future upgrades necessary)


I've got to get to bed for now, I work third shift and I'm up pretty late for the moment. I'll let you guys chew on this for a bit and I'll get back to it in the next day or so. Thanks for the input and ideas in advance guys :)