I've read this thread and have a few questions for a system I'm looking to build, please.
[Naturally, while I'm directing that towards Harm, I hugely appreciate advice from anyone else, too.]
I will mainly be running Premiere CS5 and the common related apps. My budget for everything excluding software is about $5,000 ($4,000 is okay too).
CASE: For a case, I'm not into contours, windows or lights. I like the clean, "business-like" look of the Lian Li PC-A77F you recommended, for instance -- though that's currently unavailable on NewEgg as I type this and I'm wondering if there's a reason -- such as it being discontinued for another model or something (or else I can just look elsewhere). It seems to provide plenty of cooling, and options for quieter fans. So, can we confirm this as the choice, please, or suggest a similar alternative? (Note that once I decide on the case, I may ask your advice on upgrading the cooling, including specifically for the GPU, which I notice the Lian Li PC-A77F supports.)
MOBO: ASUS P6X58D. I'm guessing that's a good choice that should require no further dialog.
CPU: i7, but then the question is 920, 930, 980x? I'm not an enthusiast and would normally never consider overclocking, but I see you recommend it. I will need you or someone to point me to how, but you say it's simple so that's fine. Just as long as I never risk it crashing and corrupting my OS. (Note that I read somewhere that overclocking requires slowing down the memory and it becomes almost a wash, but I don't know the details or how reliable that was.) As to cost, well, it becomes a question of where it hits the point of diminishing returns. If there really is a significant time difference when encoding, I'll pay for it. The time it saves me will be worth it. I'm not going to begin to try to guess how to quantify this, or figure this one out without your advice.
GPU: That will be the GTX-470, thank-you-very-much.
RAM: What I'm currently looking at is "Kingston HyperX 12GB (3 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) XMP Desktop Memory Model KHX1600C9D3K3/12GX Intel XMP Ready." I'll go with whatever you suggest, and will appreciate your advice on generally ballparking the performance difference between 12 GB vs 24 GB.
HARD DISK DRIVES: At your suggestion, I did a lot of reading and chose the Samsung SpinPoint F3 for my choice for hard drive. I will go with a total of five hard drives: one for OS/apps, one for swap, and three in a RAID-5 array for data.
RAID CONTROLLER: I have gotten unanimous advice not to use the on-board RAID, but don't yet have any suggestions for the controller card to get. I have had used LSI before and am told it's one of the best. I'd appreciate your advice.
PSU: I know I need "plenty." Would you care to make a recommendation? (If using the Lian Li PC-A77F, I believe mounting the PSU in the bottom is preferred. Would you agree?)
COOLING: Once the choice for case and mobo is made, I'd appreciate your advice on an aftermarket CPU fan if any and extra GPU cooling if any. I don't know that you'd suggest getting into water cooling for this system, and I assume I can handle quieter aftermarket case fans on my own.
BURNER: I'm planning on burning DVDs and CDs, and have not even begun to explore Blue-ray at all yet. I'm strictly producing business presentations. Do you suggest I get a BR burner, or just a standard DVD/CD burner? And would you care to suggest one?
Thanks so much!
[Note: I've edited this post to clarify at the top what my budget is "excluding software." -- Jay]