I'm not sooo worried about spending more money if it'll improve my overall performance. Btw this build is for more multitasking, somewhat resource intensive programs with occasional gaming. I want to max out overall performance. I was wondering, how much of an increase will I see from 1066MHz ram as opposed to 800? Is it not worth the extra I would have to spend on it?
1. Word and Excel will work beautifully on this machine. Games not so much. If this is a gaming machine, drop the Raptor and the 8600GT and use the money for an 8800GTS G92. That means -$170-$130+$280, so you save $20 too.
BFG Tech BFGE88512GTSE GeForce 8800GTS (G92) 512MB, at 675MHz - best deal of all the G92s at Newegg today http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814143119
3. Vista: do you know the differences between Vista Home Premium and Vista Ultimate? Do you need any of them? If the answer is no to any of these then get the Home Premium and save some money. With Ultimate you will mostly get additional features that are designed for local networks in a corporate environment - useless if you just want to play games at home.
4. Good DVD drive and case and CPu and monitor. No clue about the modem. I paid $50 for mine, but I bet you'll get about the same performance from your $6 modem. It's still 53 kbps at most... Make sure it has Vista drivers before you buy.
5. Motherboard: compare features at newegg with GA-P35-DS3L. If the DS3L has all you need you can save about $50 there.
6. RAM - absolutely, get mlaporta's advice. I'm guessing you won't overclock, so DDR2-800 is fine.
OK, then stick with the Ballistix, overclockers love it.
You didn't include a CPU cooler, so I assumed you're not interested in overclocking. You will need an aftermarket cooler for a serious overclock. If you're just thinking of a mild overclock, then the DDR2-800 will be fine again and so will the stock cooler.
Here are some good options (that is, reasonably quiet coolers), with the best performing/most expensive first:
Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme + Scythe S-Flex SFF21F fan
Scythe Ninja or Tuniq Tower or Zerotherm Nirvana or (Thermalright Ultima-90 + Scythe S-Flex SFF21F fan)
Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro
Before you buy a cooler make sure it fits in your case. The Freezer 7 and Ultima-90 are smaller than the others.
If you're interested in this subject, go to www.anandtech.com and read some of their heatsink reviews. They are pretty good.
I think this is going to be my final build. I have a few questions, which are all in parenthesis. (I switched the PSU and GPU)
PC Power & Cooling Silencer 610 EPS12V EPS12V 610W Continuous @ 40°C Power Supply
Sapphire Radeon HD 2900 Pro Video Card (What about the HD 3850 or a Geforce card? I want to stay within this price range)
ASUS P5K-E/WIFI-AP ATX Intel Motherboard (can i crossfire with this board? I wouldn't do it initially, but thought about keeping the option open in the future. Is it not even worth it with the GPU I'm, getting?)
SAMSUNG 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S203B
COOLER MASTER Centurion 5 CAC-T05-UW Black Aluminum Bezel , SECC Chassis ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Western Digital Raptor WD1500ADFD 150GB 10,000 RPM Serial ATA150 Hard Drive (I think I want to keep the raptor cause I saw performance charts indicating it had better I/O marks. I think this is going to be important for what I'll be using it for.)
Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST3500320AS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive (this has a 32MB cache, Would that make performance better than the cavier?)
ENCORE ENF656-ESW-NDPR 56Kbps Fax Modem
2x Crucial Ballistix 2GB (2 x 1GB) (4GB total) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model BL2KIT12864AA1065
(I was looking for 2x2GB game, but couldn't find any 1066, but found 1000. Is there a difference? I've heard Ballistix is real good for OC so I'm hesitant to buy something else, but I'll need to buy 2x2GB ram in the future if i want more ram)
Microsoft Windows Vista 64-Bit Ultimate for System Builders Single Pack DVD
I plan to eventually overclock, so I want good ram. Initially I won't though, so I'm not worried about getting extra fans yet.
I also plan on running dual monitors, which I think should be ok, but i read one customer review on the vid card that said they had problems doing it. Anyone else heard of such problems?
(thanks for the help malporta and aevm, I really appreciate. Also, thanks for the links aevm)
Between HD 2900 Pro and HD 3850 - I would pick the HD 3850 (that is, the 512MB version; avoid the 256 MB version, it will struggle in some games). HD 3850 is faster than HD 2900 Pro. The HD 2900 series is obsolete, it's noisy and consumes a lot and runs hot.