Upgrading PC, a few questions about current hardware.

I'm looking to replace most of my PC, but keep as many parts as I can to save money. (so I have more to spend on the important components)

It's a while since I bought any major hardware and I have a few questions, I have read as much as I can but some things are tricky to figure out and I'm guessing they're easily answered by anyone who knows modern computers...

1. I'd like to keep my monitor (CRT, no DVI connection), keyboard (PS/2), modem (56k, external, com port), and DVD/CD-Rewriter optical drive (IDE), are these components still capable of being used on a current system?

2. I'd like good performance for gaming, is it worth getting a second hard drive so I can run the OS and swap file off one, and applications off the other?

3. Is it worth the extra money for a WD Raptor hard drive for the OS/swap file, or for everything if two hard drives aren't needed? (I don't expect to need a lot of space for storage, performance in games is the only issue here)

4. Alternatively, is RAID-0 worth looking into?

5. For gaming, is it better to go with AMD or Intel for the processor? I saw someone say AMD is limited to DDR RAM as opposed to DDR2, if accurate, is that enough to choose Intel?

6. Will I regret buying a graphics card with only 256mb video RAM? They seem a lot cheaper than models with 512mb, but I don't want to get one and then wish I spent more on the extra RAM when recent games perform badly.

Thanks for your help.
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  1. One, probably. If you like them then they are fine. I moved to an LCD and wont go back to CRT’s though :)

    Two, running the swap on a different drive will not improve your performance by much. Better to either one, get a raptor system drive and a bigger slower drive for data. Or two, you could run a RAID to increase speed and/or for fault tolerance.

    Three, see two.

    Four, see two.

    Five, AMD is faster with games though that may change in 4-6 months if you care to wait that long (and pay a lot for it).

    Six, depends. When DX10 comes out there will be A LOT of people upgrading. Regardless, there will always be a bigger badder technology coming out. Right now, a 200-300 video card will do just about everything at mid to high levels w/o a problem in 99 percent of games, even FEAR. If you want bleeding edge tech then get ready to spend 500 every six months as new cards come out.
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