Well, I have had the new computer up and running for a bit now so I thought I would post here with a follow up.
First I wanted to comment about the raptor and the chance raptors burn out fast. I don't care. It has a 5 year warranty, WD is easy to get replacements from, and I only use it for games anyway so if it dies, nothing lost
However, it has totally noticeably improved my game load times under XP. Is it enough of a speed difference to justify the price? Especially, as pointed out, you can get 750GBs in the same speed bracket for the same price, likely the answer is no. OK the answer is no. But it is still hella fast compared to my 4 month old seagates.
First the motherboard, EVGA 650i Ultra Conroe LGA755. By far the oddest motherboard I have ever worked with. It would do strange and unusual things. I would, for example, unplug the computer, and it would tell me after that I had changed the CPU. I checked the battery, its fine. I updated the BIOS, same thing. Then suddenly, it stopped doing that. Hasn't done it since. There were a few other issues that came up. I would definately NOT recommend this line of mobos for novice builders. I have built many many computers so I puzzled things out OK, but a novice would likely have simply tried to return this board. So save yourself the trouble and get something else. Bonus, at least the drivers in windows claim it, the onboard sound has hardware acceleration. I know most people hate onboard sound but I don't care much about it. I usually play games with sound off and winamp on anyway. Lifetime warranty, rapid RMA option for 8 bucks if you live in the USA, which I dont =/
The graphics card, EVGA 8800GTX 768mb. Awesome, period. Lifetime warranty, rapid RMA option for 15 bucks if you live in the USA, which I dont =/
E6600 CPU is plenty fast, have not OC'd yet, waiting until my Zalman fan arrives, will report back. (Edited, have an E6600, not a E6400)
The 24 inch Samsung 245B LCD 5ms. I have read many angry comments about this monitor, all written about 5 months ago or longer. Let me say this, the monitor is beautiful. It keeps up with my games no problem. No ghosting at all. There is no light bleed around the frame, so whatever caused that problem in the past seems to have been addressed. Windows exactly, perfectly, aligns to the edge of the screen, and there is no light bleeding though at all, yet I can see every single pixels that windows offers. I could not be happier with this investment. This monitor should last my next few computers so I am now very glad I put up the extra cash and went with it. And the 1920x1200 resolution is to die for. The contrast and color quality is top notch.
My Antec 900 case. The goods: Attractive, very very good airflow especially with optional 120mm side panel fan (the huge blow hole fan helps too of course), good quality sturdy construction, handy device tray on top of case for MP3 player or digital camera. The bads: Pain in the [bleep] during building, took about 2x longer to build than with cheapo cases, but that is the price you pay for modular design. It is a vicious dust collector, especially the front panel and top button area which have crevasses for looks that make perfect dust collection pits, not quite as roomy inside as you would hope but easily fits 8800 GTX cards (May require you move a drive out of the way though, not hard since you have 8 other places to put it).
The PSU, Siverstone Zeus 750w. Good power for the price. Quad SLI certified. 4 rails. Has no trouble keeping up to my computer load. Tonnes of connectors, TONNES!!! Not modular so you have to store all these long, braid wrapped wires in your case some where. The excess wires took up a full 3 hard drive bays in my case to give you an idea of the bulk. The cabling is nicely braided in black. Generates very little heat under load. In fact, under load while 3D gaming, I have put my hand on it and it barely felt warm. Of course, I am not using nearly the max load on this thing. Likely I am using a third most of the time. My computer plus 24inch LCD, plus speakers, plus 19inch CRT use less than 400w under full load according to my UPS.
APC 1200 VA UPS - Good software bundle, 19 minutes uptime at full load (max 3D gaming and CPU usage) for my computer plus 24 inch LCD, 19 inch CRT and speakers, so plenty of time for safe shut down if the power goes out. User changeable battery (of course, that is a crock because by the time the batteries die, you can likely buy a more powerful UPS cheaper than buying the battery for your now older UPS)
Logitech G15 keyboard. My favorate toy in the whole works. I have already created my own custom LCD application that monitors the CPU usage of both cores along with individual CPU core temps, CPU fan speed, FPS and resolution while in games, as well as pagefile and physical memory usage, all in one handly little display right on my keyboard??!?! Pure geek pwnage! Some of the user created winamp plugins actually make your keyboard backlights flash in time with your music. And, in 25 years of typing from manual typewriters right up to today, it is by far the most comfortable keyboard to type on I have ever had. The built in USB ports are near useless as they are USB type 1 and the keyboard itself likely uses most of the alloted power delivered along USB type 1 ports anyway. You can plug a mouse in but I wouldn't plug in anything that draws the juice as it likely will not work. Great for a USB headset though.
Vista Ultimate - So far I hate it. You will either love it or hate it too. Honestly, I think 99% of home users should stick to Vista Basic. Most home users do not have to connect to domains, and aero is not worth turning on. The rest of the features can be accomplished with freeware readily enough. DX10 works on Basic so your gaming is covered. However, the video editing software built into the home premium and ultimate versions is very nice.
So anyway, I hope my follow up of mini reviews helps a few people decide what to buy or not buy.
Thanks again for all the advice I have received here. I am very happy with the performance with my new computer.
Edited by Adebisi, 10 June 2007 - 10:47 AM.