Build looks fine to me.
I like the i7 for modern gaming builds because things are finally "getting there" as far as parallel loads are concerned, and it will offer you better performance while running screen captures or background tasks in more demanding games. Price difference isn't too aweful dramatic. I think the problem I have with the i5, is knowing that there is an FX-83XX chip available in the $150-200 range that can actually overcome the i5 in parallel workloads while still playing all of those lightly threaded games "good enough" that the performance hit doesn't matter much. (The i5 may be a better pick if you play specific, lightly threaded games that are always CPU bound and highly reliant on L3 cache performance, like SC2 (both supreme commander 2 and starcraft II). I sort of find myself skipping over the i5 as a consideration these days except in limited circumstances. 2+ years ago it was the go-to for nearly every build but the landscape of CPU choices and price points has shifted. Furthermore, for non-OC builds, there are E3 series chips available at i5 prices that offer better performance in parallel workloads as well with little or no performance difference otherwise.
The 212 is a great value cooler but sort of boring and overdone these days. I would do something different, if for no other reason than to do something different.
I would look for low profile memory, or at least something without heatinks above the PCB. The vengeance is crazy tall and will interfere with lots of possible cooling options.
I would not put anything less than a 250GB SSD as a boot/app/swap drive in a windows machine these days. 120GB is gone with just a few big apps or games.
The phantom is a neat looking case, but I would opt for one of the many $40-50 mid-towers out there that are comparable in quality unless the aesthetics of this one beckon you significantly.
There's almost always a 400-550W gold+ rated PSU for around $60-70 from Rosewill, or FSP, or someone. I would take those over the bronze efficiency XFX personally.
For 1080P resolution, the best value GPUs will be those that favor shader performance over pixel fill rate. The only time you're going to bottleneck on the ROPs of a higher end GPU at 1080P will be in game titles that are already going to run at insane FPS (older games with less shading/texture detail).
Study these charts:
- Among the 600 and 700 series for Nvidia, and 7000 and Rx200 series for AMD, you can compare shader performance by comparing the single precision GFLOP performance column. You're looking for cards that give you the highest GFLOP/$ ratio
- Next in line of importance would be to consider GT/s performance. Some games will bottle on this before shader performance at this resolution, some will bottle on shaders first, the importance of this metric is about on par with shader performance. You're looking for cards that give you the highest GT/s/$ ratio.
- VRAM bandwidth (and size) will not routinely be a bottleneck problem at this resolution unless a texture quality is loaded that is higher than can be appreciated at this screen resolution anyway. The only other time you will bottleneck on this bus is in older games that do not present a substantial shader/mapping load, which will be running at insane FPS anyway. You can "lightly" consider VRAM bandwidth for this build, but put the shader/GT/s performance ahead of this metric in importance.
- Finally, the GP/s column, is the least important metric for this resolution in the class of cards you should be interested in. Any time you bottleneck on the ROPs, you are going to be at insanely high FPS already anyway.
Both VRAM bandwidth and ROP related bottlenecks can typically be alleviated (if they are causing a play-ability problem) with a simple switch of AA settings if it becomes a problem. VRAM size related bottlenecks can be solved by switching to a lower texture quality, which, is not apt to be very visible at this resolution.
With above taken into consideration. There are some cards that stand out as potentially high value for this....
GTX660Ti, GTX770, HD7950/HD7970, R9 280X. All good choices if they go for the right price.Edited by mdocod - 11/24/13 at 11:27pm