Hi dropoflove. I just finished piecing together my own rig and I can offer you some suggestions from what I've learned.
I did a lot of research on cases but finally fell in love with the Ultra m998
. I've had a Ultra X-Connect 500W PSU for some time now and have never had an issue with it, so it stood to reason they knew how to make awesome cases as well. I was right. It is a beautiful case. What guy doesn't love brushed aluminum - in black, no less! All the metal is polished to a chrome shine as well. HUGE. Plenty of room for whatever you need, and an excellent cable routing system. What I liked was the fact that the mobo tray slides right out the back and that the top and the sides of the case are removable. Everything is put together with large thumb screws so it's very easy to take apart. You can read a review about it here
I don't know a lot about video cards, but everyone recommends the EVGA 8800GTS
. EVGA makes really good cards, judging by the number of positive reviews and user comments. Myself I got a Diamond X1650 at an awesome deal of $34 - of course this isn't a gamers card, but perfect for what I needed it for.
I spent a little extra and got the Intel Quad Core (Q6600). My original choice was the E8400, but then a lot of people told me that because I'm a graphic designer and run large programs and multitask with other apps at the same time that I would be better off with a Quad. I figured for 20-30 bucks more this made the most sense. If you decide to get a Q6600 then I suggest buying it from ClubIt
. They have the version with G0 stepping which I've read is a more advanced chipset than the other B3 version. I also saved a few bucks and bought the OEM since I was getting a HS and fan for the CPU.
NOTE: Be aware that ClubIt has a very incompetent staff. They sent me the wrong motherboard and it took me three hours on the phone just to get a return shipping label. In the end the sale guy (Jeff) got me on a three-way with FedEx and asked the lady there to send me a return lable. She told him that was ClubIt's responsibility, not FedEx. I had to laugh out loud at this. Finally the FedEx lady was kind enough to send a truck to my house to pick up the package, since obviously ClubIt was too inept to do it themselves.
The best heat sink I found is the Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme
, paired with a Scythe S-FLEX 1600 RPM 120mm Fan
. I bought both of these from the Heatsink Factory, because they had the lowest price on both.
As for the PSU I had many people link me to this Official XS Tiered PSU List
. Unfortunately, according to the list, my X-Connect PSU was Tier5 - not recommended. Fortunately, I had the list, so I was able to pick a better PSU. I opted for the PCP&C Silencer 610 because it was the best fit for my needs and one of the most powerful PSUs recommended (Tier1). If you're into gaming then you may want to check out the PCP&C Silencer 750 Quad
, which supports SLI (Dual 8800 GTX and below).
Anyway, that's about all I can offer. Hope it helps in some way. Enjoy building your new rig. I know I am.