New Midrange Gaming/Computing Machine- Need Advising

I am currently looking to upgrade, completely, from a machine designed some 4 years ago. It was a wonderful beast, but is falling behind now on what I want to use it for. I have a basic set of parts I need advice on, as well as whether it is worth it to buy now, or wait for some newer nextgen options are cheaper (DDR3, GPUs, etc.)

Heard good things mostly about thermaltake, although also heard it is overpriced rubbish a few times.

PSU: I already own an Antec Truepower 550W unit. Recent buy, works fine for my machine, would rather not spend money on a new one if not necessary.

High rated on newegg, and I like having 6 SATA outs, and the numerous PCI ports. I want this machine to last 4 years, so I want it upgradeable. I do not know much about MOBOs though.

Heard good things about this one (EVGA 8800GTS). Do NOT have money for anything more, this one is already pushing my budget. Need advice on whether this is a good buy, or whether to buy cheap and wait for the 9xxx line to drop prices on the GTX.

The Intel Core 2 Q6600. It is between this and the duo. I game fairly heavily, but one of my hobbies is playing in Lightwave (same as Maya, or 3D-Studio Max, etc.) as well as photoshop and with other video making programs. The quad looked good, but I have heard something about stepping problems. Don't know what that means, need advice.

A scythe infinity cooler. I will be attaching a second fan, one to push air through, the other to pull it out. Read this was a good deal esp. for overclocking quad core processors, something I plan on doing.

Buying two sets for 4 GB of Patriot DDR2 800 RAM. It looks like these are good, middle of the road, and also overclock nicely. A must I hear for the Quad processor. Don't know though.

I already own one 250 GB SATA HDD, and severel hundred GB in smaller Ultra ATA HDDs. I want to consolidate data, but again, want to save $$$. Would it be better to buy a couple $70 HDDs and put two in RAID-1 ? This is new to me. Also, I am interested in setting up a dual boot system. Windows XP/Vista and Ubuntu Linux. Or even triple boot with all three. Don't know the first thing about this.

Disk Drive
Thats about it. I also have a floppy drive sitting around, though I don't know if it will work.

In summary, I am building a mid-range Gaming/Processing computer. (I am a physics major, hence the Linux and need for power to run Mathematica and other programs). I don't know whether to go Vista yet or stick with XP Pro, but I would like to play Bioshock at a nice graphics level. I need to know about modern HDD setups, and the general advice. My old machine could make it another year, although games like Medieval 2 run choppy in large battles, even on low graphics. I also don't know the first thing about overclocking, just that it is good. I checked the compatibilities, but I have been known to err. Did I forget something? Help please!
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More about midrange gaming computing machine advising
  1. looks nice , if u dont want SLI , go for P35 like P35 DS3R or P5K-E
  2. Thanks for the response. I rather like the P35 DS3R, especially with the dual DDR2, DDR3 compatibility. Any more help welcomed!
  3. I have the 8800 GTS 640 MB card. It is a monster card in terms of size so you will want to make sure you get a big enough case for it. I purchased a mid-tower and had to literally pry some of the case back to get it to fit correctly. I like the Video card it runs well. I think for the price it is good. Had I had more money to spend I might have gone with the GTX but am planning to upgrade to SLI when I do some more modification to my system (when I have money to build the wife her computer so she can get off of mine). Overall the card has served its purposes and worked well. I play a lot of BF2 and FPS games. It has taken everything I have thrown at it so far. Hope this helps.
  4. Count Zero said:
    Thanks for the response. I rather like the P35 DS3R, especially with the dual DDR2, DDR3 compatibility. Any more help welcomed!

    P35 DS3R = DDR2 only
    P35C DS3R = DDR2 and DDR3
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