I want exactly make a lsit of specific models, instead I'd like to give you some guidelines for some components. Of course, some of these are personal preferences, but I'll let you judge the arguments.
Fantastic. Just what I'm looking for.
CPU. Right now, you should even consider AMD processors.
Instead, look at the Core i5 2500k or the 2600k if you need high performance. The ladder has hyperthreading (still four cores, but 8 threads, good for highly threaded software). If you're not overclocking, then the i5 2300 og 2400.
I'm just beginning to sort out the Intel i5 model numbers. I won't be overclocking, so the 2405S looks interesting at its price point.
SSD. Though offering great performance, Sandforce-driven SSD's has been riddled by so many firmware bugs that I'd rather recommend something more reliable, e.g. Crucial M4 (recently had a firmware-bug, but issue was easily figured out, and Crucial has offered a firmware update to fix the problem), Samsung 470 or 830, Intel 320 (quite overpriced, also had firmware bud which has been fixed).
Thanks for that. SSDs are an area where I've only begun to scratch the surface in my research.
Three monitors. Either choose a Radeon 5xxx or 6xxx with a DisplayPort (NB: Most lower-end Radeons can't run three monitors because of this. Sapphire Go-flex, however, allows for three monitors despite the lack of DisplayPort) or you'll need two GPU's, but I sense that you won't be able to Crossfire/SLI these.
So if a video card has two DVI and a display port (and sufficient processing power), it should be able to handle three monitors?
Any ideas about whether or not the onboard HD 3000 graphics of the i5 can drive the two 1280x1024 monitors that I currently have? I'm thinking that it might be a while before adding the third monitor and was wondering if I could get away with no video card.
Motherboard: I prefer ASUS boards because of their excellent fan-controlling. Via FanXpert in ASUS AI Suite (windows application), you can control a temperature/RPM curve. The CPU PWM fan can be controlled to as low as 10 % (of 12 V - VERY LOW SPEED), and 3-pin case fans to 50 % (or 40%?? don't quite remember.. but somewhere around 5-6 V which is still very low). And as your system is pushed hard you can control how much these fans should ramp up.
Also, if you don't use many add-on PCI cards, then I'd recommend a micro-ATX board. It gives you the sense that your components don't take up so much room.
Chipsets are another area where I've only begun to scratch the surface. All I know right now is that the mobo will likely have an LGA 1155 socket.
HDD. Western Digital Green. I believe those are the quietest you can find, and they've even received the Editor's Choice.
HDDs aren't a concern at the moment. I have sufficient storage on my file server, plus I'll be moving a 3.5" drive from the current system to the new one.