That system is over the top. If you're someone whose finances allow it, go for it.
If you have to pay for part of your own college expenses, I'd suggest you could back off a notch or two and retain the ability to play all current games and most any game that'll come out in the next couple years.
Sometimes the better way to make a system future-proof is to budget for upgrades in the future. Another issue is that theft is often prevalent college areas. Two university buildings I was in were ransacked specifically taking only computers & hi-tech equip.
Video Plan B looks fine to me.
OS: You'll need 64-bit with your RAM set up -- you can get OEM/system builder versions of Vista Home Premium 64 for $100-130ish. I don't imagine a gamer would find much in Vista Biz to merit going with Vista Ultimate.
Places to cut back:
Prob'ly 4 GB would be more than enough for a gamer.
The "Extreme" line from Intel are really nice, but are just incrementally faster than the ones at ~ half the price.
Graphics: To me the nice part of SLI/Crossfire is that you can get really good graphics performance without having to buy the most expensive cards. What could you be planning to do that a single 9800 GTX/X2 or 8800 GTX can't handle? So you could start with one now, and add another in a year or two when the prices have come down more and maybe there'll be a good game that will play better with more.
Or shave some $$ off and go with 2x 8800 GT. My reasoning is that you'll get kick-butt framerates, and except for e-peen there's no benefit in having fps higher than you can see.
I think a dual SLI is fine for gaming - three would be unwanted headaches anyway. That mobo just has 2 slots for it, right?
Monitors: When I think of college students, I think of small apartments. So perhaps a monitor that can double as your xbox-360 screen would be nice? I like the Gateway FHD2400 - nice looking glossy screen, supports picture in picture, takes component + composite inputs in addition to HDMI/VGA/DVI.
I am planning to build a gaming PC for college at Penn State. This is the end of my senior year in high school and I want to use my cash from working to build (from scratch) a very powerful desktop that I can use to play LAN/Online competitively with my friends on campus. I've done some research but I am not a tech genius and I was hoping the forums could help me put together the best machine I can. Please point out any of my machine's shortcomings and please let me know how I could improve it. If any of this is incompatible or doesn't work please let me know.
Looking to Spend $3000 roughly but am willing to adjust up or down.
Main Application: Competitive Gaming
Operating System: Windows Vista (sadly for DX10 ;_;)
Case: Cooler Master Cosmos SRC-1100-KKN1-GP Black Computer Case
MOB: Asus Striker II Formula LGA 775 Nvidia nforce 780i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard
RAM: 2x Corsair Dominator 4GB (2x2GB) 240 pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500)(I will use 2 of these, thus having 4 sticks of 2 GB each)
Hard Drives: 2x Western Digital Velociraptor WD3000 GLFS 300GB 10000 RPM SATA 3.0 GB/s Hard Drive (I will use 2 of these and thus have 600GB of HDD Space)
CPU: Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650 Yorkfield 3.0GHz 12MB L2 Cache LGA 775 130W Quad-Core Processor
I really really need advice here. I think there are new cards coming out soon but unless those are INSANE I will probably stick with a card that is already out. I have not been able to figure out exactly what would work best here, but these are my ideas so far:
Plan A: 2 or 3(I heard 3 was possible but heating, space, cost could be prohibiting) BFG GeForce 9800 GTX 512MB, 256 -bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card
Plan B: Same as Plan A but with BFG Tech BFGR88768GTXOCE GeForce 8800 GTX 768MB 384-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card instead. Which is really better? I thought the 9800 was a newer, better card but the 8800 has more memory and is 384 bit. It is also listed as PCI, not PCI 2.0, but I'm not sure how important that is. Basically the 9800 has higher clock speeds, but the 8800 seems to have the higher memory and 384-bit? Could someone help me out with this? I also heard the Gigabyte 8800 comes OCed to 700mhz but can be bumped to 800mhz with an included voltage mod chip. Anyone know anything about this? That sounds absolutely blazing fast.
Plan C: I could (this is really expensive though.....) get 2 BFG Tech BFGE981024GX2E GeForce 9800GX2 1GB(512 per GPU) 512-bit(256 bit per GPU) GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0x16 HDCP Ready SLI supported Video Cards. That sounds sick but since each of 9800GX2 is actually 2 cards (using one slot) I am not 100% sure how well this would work in SLI. I would buy this one stock and then OC it since the OC version is $120 more expensive per 9800GX2. I would expect this to be absolutely crazy graphics. But a high price for sure and perhaps I could add a third card to Plan A or Plan B that would actually come out to about the same price and power as this.
I have not decided on a Monitor yet so any input on that would be awesome. For dvd/cd drives I think I can manage that, but I am concerned with the compatibility of all the above. I have no idea on what I can do for cooling and Power Supply Unit. I want to stick with Air Cooling if possible because Water Cooling sounds complicated, but my case can do both. With this type of setup a large power supply seems necessary, so any advice would be helpful and do you think water cooling is necessary with this setup? If so, is there any product you would recommend?
Please especially point out compatibility issues. I also still need lots of help in deciding between 9800 SLI, 8800 SLI, or 9800GX2 SLI. LOL I already know this is going a bit over what I wanted to spend but as long as the final product comes together well I can deal with it. Please let me know if my setup is unbalanced (IE way too much CPU and not enough RAM or GPU). All help is appreciated- Thanks much.