2) I know many will think the video card is way outdated, but I know the 7600GT to be a solid performer and hard to say no at that price (i think it's 70 after MIR). Should I bother paying another 60-70 dollars for a dx10-ready 8600GT/s?
3) Anything that is blatently obvious that doesn't match up specs? Like mobo/ram mismatch, wrong type of hardware cable, etc?
4) Not planning on overclocking, but should I bother with an aftermarket cooler in the $20-30 range just for rock-solid stability?
1) On your budget, forget a Sound Card.
2) The PSU is terrible, I would shop for some other specials.
3) Another card like the 1950pro would be a massive improvement.
Don't worry about DX10 in your price range.
4) There are a few nice 3.5floppy/MemoryStick reader combos that are nice. Not mandatory and can always grab later since they are often USB.
Oh just thought of one last one - do i need a 3 and a quarter floppy for any reason?
No I don't think you need a 3 1/4 floppy drive. Some older mobo's need to have the SATA drivers loaded with a floppy drive, but I'm pretty sure (correct me if I'm wrong) that you won't need one.
If this is a gaiming rig this is what I would change to your initial build to get a better video card and keep you close to your original build price ($750-800 I think).
CPU - $85 e2160 This can be easily OC'ed to about 3-3.2 ghz on stock cooling. Read over a Anandtech forums that there are several people doing this with very little effort. Also Tom's did a write on this too, just don't have link yet. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E1681...
Keeping Case/DVD/HDD your total would be - ~$835 shipped - $140 in MIR's = $695!! Now I don't know if this is more than your budget, but it's close to your original build, so I think it might work for you. I know you mentioned doing some mild OC'ing and this rig would work well with that. Then in 1-2 years you could upgrade to Penryn or whatever is out at a reduced price and be set for 1-3 years (unless you want a rebuild later).
1. Are you an audiophile? if not then dont get one simple as that, if you are look at the X-Fi range of card wether it be the Creative type or Auzentech.
2. Depends on your budget and what you are using the machine for... gaming wise save money on CPU and go with a 8800GTS. If you arent gaming stay with the 7600GT. Another worth looking at if you are a gamer and dont have the money for a 8800gts is a 1950pro or XT will give you great gaming performance.
3. Everything looks matched to me
4. Stick with stock HSF
5. No floppy required unless you are into using floppy disks. The only reasons people were still using them was for loading drivers for SATA controllers to install windows and BIOS updates and both those issues are pretty much non existant now.