Here's my preliminary setup for my new comp that will be used for everything from work to gaming (and I would hope to have this be able to run Crysis at high settings @~1280x1024 when it comes out). I'm most likely going to take the convenient option and buy everything off Newegg (plus, they have some decent rebates for the parts I want).
SOUND CARD (To me, this is absolutely necessary as I have high quality speakers and can hear the difference between onboard sound and good audio cards):
Creative 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Interface Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer Fatal1ty Professional Series http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E16829102005
Note: With these parts, I am within ~$100 dollars of my budget cap.
Now, I have a couple of questions:
1. HEAT - I plan on OCing the E6600 to at least ~3.1-3.2GHz. Will I be able to do this with the case and cpu fan/sink I've selected? Also, for anyone experienced with the Antec case, will there be any problems with airflow dynamics, being that the massive 8800GTX is in there? (And for anyone who has bought this particular Antec case, does it come with the 'optional' fourth 120mm fan for the front, as the manufacturer's website (but not Newegg) suggests?) As I do realize that I must remove the upper HD cage to fit the 8800GTX, will there be any problems with heat when I put three 500GB drives together in the lower cage?
2. COMPATIBILITY Will I have any serious compatibility issues between these parts, especially with regard to the RAM I've chosen, which uses 4-4-4-12 timing. Can the motherboard support it?
3. OS - Since I have 4GB RAM, does that mean I must use Vista 64-bit (I need Vista, not XP, because I will eventually be playing stuff running DX10, and do not plan on reinstalling an OS later.)
Any critique/comments/advice will be much appreciated!
I don't think you'll have a heat problem with the three 500GB hard drives in the bottom, especially if you put a fan in the front at the bottom as well as the middle fan. I also believe it only comes with three case fans.
The motherboard and RAM work well together.
I don't have experience with the Zalman heatsinks. The Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme is the best heatsink out there right now, but it'll run you a good $80 between it and and an excellent fan for it (no fan included).
The Tuniq Tower is another highly recommended heatsink.