man don't fret, building a pc is like playing with legos nowadays. i highly recommend you just go spec, like crazy heatsinks, watercooling, leave that to the pros until YOU feel confident that you can set it up.
as for the bios question... really all you have to do is install the processor, ram, and video card, then boot up. reboot if it asks you to, some will, "stating configurations changed", then stick the disk in and go. be sure to keep all your discs that come with each component. when windows is installed pop those discs in, starting with the motherboard disc, click install all, or manually select each thing to install.
after that your done man. dont be scared, i can understand building confidence, but dont be scared. like i said b4 legos man, there arent many things that can plug into the wrong place... especially since your not buying "advanced" parts. if you need help man just post back, there are plenty of people that love to help with these things. because its one more person on the side of computers.
I was like you, I wasn't sure if i should build one or have someone else build it for me. I knew buying a pre-boxed PC was out of the question, but building my own made me nervous.
I finally decided to go for it, and to be honest, it was the better decision.
I'd never built one before, but overall it was very, very easy. Nowadays cables and ports are either color-coded or specially shaped so that they can only go into limited places. A little reading and a little common sense will easily figure out where exactly they go.
I have no regrets. Built a better system doing it myself and saved some cash for the games I wanted for the new 'puter.
And to be honest... the people on Tom's are very friendly and always eager to help.
Case/PSU: Antec Sonata III Piano Black Quiet Case - EarthWatts 500W PSU
GPU: BFG GeForce 8800 GTS OC 320MB GDDR3 HDTV/Dual DVI (1.Ive heard people going on about the 8800GT.. is the 8800GT better than the GTS? and will it cost more?)
CPU:Intel Core 2 Quad Pro Q6600 "Energy Efficient SLACR 95W Edition" 2.40GHz (2.This energy efficient one is cheaper than the normal one... why is this? will it still be as fast?)
MOBO:Abit IP35-E (Socket 775) PCI-Express DDR2 Motherboard (3. Dont really have a clue about MOBO's.. is this a good one? someone said that if i get a p35 then i prob wont have to do anything with the bios.. is this one new enough for me not to worry about that?)
Memory CZ 2GB (2 x 1GB) PC2-6400C4 Dual Channel Platinum Revision 2 XTC Series DDR2
Hard Drive:Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 250GB ATA-100 16MB Cache
DVD Drive ioneer DVR-112DBK 18x18 DVD±RW Dual Layer ReWriter
OS: Vista home premium 32-bit (4. 32-bit or 64-bit?)
5. How does that sound?
6. Is everything compatible with each other?
7. How will this cope with new games coming out such as crysis?
8. have you got any suggestions, bearing in mind my budget isnt exactly huge.
1. It will be better and it will cost $250, but these are just rumors, nothing sure yet. Wait 3 weeks or so if you can, read the reviews, decide then.
2. It's just as fast. No idea why it's cheaper, only idiots would get the "normal one" at a higher price.
3. Yeah, good motherboard, no worries.
4. 64-bit. It doesn't really matter. All Vista drivers are required to pass testing on both 32-bit and 64-bit anyway before they can be certified.
7. Nobody knows, Crysis hasn't been released yet. Theoretically, Crysis should work even on much less powerful machines than yours, so I think you'll be happy.
8. Maybe replace the Pioneer with a Samsung or LG (make sure you pick a SATA drive)
9. The Sonata is a nice case, but the PSU that comes with it did have some problems at some point. I hope they fixed them.
10. Change the ATA-100 hard drive to a SATA equivalent.
Looks like a decent build. Just change out HD to a SATA one, the one you state is old school and will work, but won't be quite as fast as the SATA. The other bonus with SATA is the SATA cable is smaller and will allow more airflow in the case, which will help to keep things cooler . As far as the OS is concerned, I would either go with the 64 bit Vista (this will allow you to use 4gig's or more of DDR2 later, if you want to), or I would use XP pro. I currently prefer XP pro, but don't let that persuade you. I haven't boght Vista yet, since I don't have any real reason to switch yet. The only benefit that I see Vista has is that allows you to run direct x 10 only games. There isn't a real need for this right now, but this will change sometime later, so this will save you $, if you don't have to re-buy an OS later.