SECOND: XP or VISTA
This is very debatable I know. I have read alot of reviews and I am still undecided. I want the build to go smoothly and without headache. Some people swear by VISTA and others swear by XP. XP hasn't let me down in the past so maybe I should stick with what works? I have heard that there could be compatibility issues with NVIDIA 8800 series GFX cards. I wonder if this is true. I am a gamer and this rig will have a 8800 GTS http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I just thought that I'd pitch in about the SATA drivers. If you decide to get Vista, there's a very good chance that it will have the SATA driver already and a floppy isn't necessary. If by chance you do need to install the driver for Vista, you can now use a USB flash drive instead of a floppy to 'F6' the driver. For XP, however, you'll need a floppy.
First off I'd like to know if you were planning on overclocking with this build, ever. What will you be using it for, Home theater PC, Game station, or your Masturbation Machine.
I have the M2N-E and it was my first motherboard for my first build and everything went smoothly you will only need a floppy if you are setting up raid which you aren't. Only restriction on this board is the memory it accepts. It won't take any memory higher than 1.95.
I was lucky enough that when I bought my XP MCE it came with a free upgrade to vista. So I had the opportunity to try both. I would say to hold off on the Vista, it is annoying, and you've got a 50-50 chance that your game or program will work with it. I got annoyed so much that I uninstalled it after 3 days.
The ram you have is fine, but if you look into overclocking than there are other options you should consider to get the most out of your chips.
OCZ make good PSU's and thats a good choice, but look for future-proofing get something 700W+ and since you are getting a 8800GTS its another reason to get a 700W + PSU.
Don't get that Zalman, get this sucker it fits both LGA775s and AM2s and is a great cooler and cheaper... http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Get whatever case, it really doesn't matter. Worrying about cases are dumb, unless you go to lan parties like nerds and show off your gigahertz.
I have a AMD X2 3800 2.0ghz with Asus M2N-E and 2gigs of Mushkins. Now, that I've said that I'd rather of had a Intel C2D, only because I've played on a kids laptop while I was in class one day and it seemed faster, plus all the articles i've read on the matter.
You get a C2D if you overclock, You get an AMD if you don't.
If you choose to go the Intel route; I'll recommend a motherboard and some chips:
I am trying to stick with newegg since I have a preferred account and no payment for 6 months there.
I really think you convinced me to go Intel this time. By the way what is future-proofing in a PSU? I will take your word on the Heatsink Fan.
I still would like to get Vista but I am still very weary about it. Its like taking a gamble. So I will probably stick with XP for myself and as far as the other machine I will let the new owners (next door neighbors) figure out what OS they want and let them deal with it.
Failed to mention that this will be strictly a gaming machine. I am a big MMO player and this rig doesn't have to have bleeding edge hardware. Just enough to handle the massive amount loading that can be involved in massive raids in these games. I will be playing Warhammer Online, and WoW. However I will dabble in other games such as some FPS games like, BF2, Crysis and Call of Duty 4 and finally, for RTS games; Supreme Commander and Starcraft 2. And like I said before I want to get Vista but I am still very weary of it.
Lastly, will the Antec case width of 8.1 inches be wide enough for the Torque Fan?
Physical Spec of the HSF
Fan Dimensions 120 x 120 x 25mm
Heatsink Dimensions 131 x 108 x 153mm
Phys Spec of the Case
21.3'' x 8.1%u201D x 19.9%u201D(HxWxD)
on Vista 64, and it's blazing! The only thing I had a problem installing was my Belkin Nostromo n52 (addon game controller) because of unsigned drivers, but I found a pretty good link for that and got it fixed quickly. Fear maxed is really sweet
My 3d mark:
This is not OC'ed either. Once I get a new heat sink for the CPU, we'll see.
I flashed my BIOS from a USB stick as I too didn't want a floppy- worked great
You have to format the USB so only the BIOS is on the stick and its named the correct ".BIN" - I'm sure Asus has instructions if you download the manual from their site and read through it. I did it on my Asus P5N32-e Board without a problem and wasn't in a windows environment.