Gamging Upgrades -- $1000 budget


Aug 1, 2011
Approximate Purchase Date: Plan to purchase this week

Budget Range: Would like to be under 700 post-rebate but that's flexible up to 1000 if necessary

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Video Editing, CAD, multitasking.

its not uncommon to find the following stuff running on my system: Diablo II botting, World of Tanks active, Pandora radio, windows movie maker encoding files, various websites open, and a couple of youtube videos prebuffering. With this upgrade to the system (if i get in for under 700) i would like to add a second monitor which means I will then have either 2 active game windows or a game + movies running 90% of the time.

I'm building to try and have me gaming ready for at least the next five years - games include things like the fallout series, crysis, diablo III, world of tanks, various free to play titles, and possibly a new mmo if something other than WoW comes along and catches me.

Parts Not Required:
Hard drives - Seagate Barracuda 7200 rpm drives x 2
Power Supply - OCZ elite extream 800W
DVD Drive - Samsung 22x SATA burner
Case - possibly. I've got a mid tower ATX which has passable airflow after home-modification. It runs pretty loud with all the crap i've done to get airflow though. I'm not opposed to getting a new full form case
Video Card -- I have one EVGHA GTX 460 SE 1GB card. I considered adding a second in SLI, but could replace with a single high end card

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: i'm not opposed to using other trusted vendors though

Country of Origin: Southeastern United States

Parts Preferences: I've always been an NVIDIA and AMD guy, but i dont vote party lines and i'm not so loyal to a brand i wont try the ATI/Intel if the performance for my dollar is better

Overclocking: Not initially. will O/C some to stretch the lifespan of the system

SLI or Crossfire: My plan was to buy a second GTX 460 1gb and SLI the two together. Im not set on this course of action though.

Monitor Resolution: 1824 x 1026 is the resolution i stretch my display to for full view of everything. Its a SAMSUNG PX2370

Additional Comments: Primary concern is i live with two cats, if i opt for a new case, it needs to be something i can easily clean of all their hair. I do prefer a quiet machine, but a low drone doesnt bother me. Another concern if i get a new case is that I require *FRONT* facing usb and audio headers so i can put under the desk. I'll be running windows 7 64bit on the system.

Heres my current setup:

AMD Quad core Phenom 9550 2.2 GHZ
2x 2gb Corsair Dominator DDR2-1066 ram
EVGA GTX 460 SE 1 GB (NOT superclocked version)
Mobo: XFX MDA72P7509

After a quick parts search, i was thinking the following:
Asus M4N98TD EVO Motherboard
AMD HDZ975FBGMBOX Phenom II X4 975 Black Edition Processor - Quad Core, 6MB L3 Cache, 3.6GHz, Socket AM3, Unlocked, Fan, Retail
Coolermaster V8 CPU cooler (The CPU cooler i have is 1) wrong socket and 2) has interference with my ram and i've never been happy with it)
Add another EVGA GTX 460 SE 1GB and run in SLI [[ Will two 'double' form fact cards fit together in this mobo?]]

Things i'm not sure about though:
1) Will SLI GTX 460 1GB perform well enough that i wont be left wanting? OR am I better off to eat the 120$ i spent on the first GTX 460 a few months ago and pickup a new, single higher power card? If i dont reuse the 460, i can always try and sell off the system to a buddy to recoup some of the losses.

2) Will i be happy with just 8gb of ram or is there further noticeable difference if i go ahead and push to 16gb?
3) Could i build a better system for the money?