Should be a simple question and who is more fit to answer this one but you guys :
i'm buying a new machine, besides the graphic card (Geforce 6600GT 128) and the HDD (western 160G SataII 7200),
the hardest thing to choose is AMD or Pentium SO :
OK, look at it this way. DDR at 400 mhz, DDR-II at 533 mhz = 133 mhz difference ... a slight advantage for Pentium IV.
But the AMD 64 chip has an on-chip memory controller that functions at an effective 2000mhz.
The Pentium IV is still using old-fashioned front-side bus technology at 800 mhz or 1033 for the Extreme Edition chips.
So, comparing the AMD 64s on-chip memory controller at 2000mhz, and the Pentium IV FSB at 800 = 1200 mhz advantage for AMD.
In other words, that 133 mhz perceived speed advantage with the faster memory is completely erased by the Pentium IVs FSB bottleneck.
Short answer: Go with AMD.
For games AMD is the obvious choice. I doubt you'll get a consensus on the motherboard though!
The performance of any nForce4 Ultra or SLI chipset on the different motherboards is going to be very similar because of the affore mentioned on die memory controller. You have to consider features, cooling/layout, and overclocking potential (if your'e into that).
I have essentially that same board (mine's the Platinum edition).
Good, easy-to-use overlocking tools, very clear and simple documentation, added features. Driver disk loads up easy.
One word of warning: I had trouble with two MSI optional security programs: Lockbox and Password Keeper. I was never able to get those to function properly and they goofed up my Windows Registry.
If I hadn't had Norton GoBack loaded up I would have had to reinstall Windows.
(After installing Password Keeper, it required that I restart Windows. Upon restart, I got a screen demanding my password. But I had not entered a password. It apparently had skipped a step).