Critique my planned budget build, please.

Hey all. This is only my second time building a PC, and I'd like a little input on my hardware choices before I pull the trigger.

I'm planning on using this rig for moderate gaming(CoD4, Age of Conan, TF2, etc.), light photo editing, light digital painting, browsing the Internet, and college stuffs. I'm not comfortable with overclocking new hardware, but I wouldn't be opposed to trying it when the system begins to show its age. I'm sticking with Windows XP SP2 for the time being. My budget is capped at $650USD.

I already have all of the required peripherals, a Cooler Master Centurion 5 case, a Corsair 550 VX PSU, and a 450gb hard drive. The HD is a PATA model that I'd just purchased last November as a replacement for the one in my current PC. Will I encounter any major bottlenecks if I use it in my new system?

I'm planning on buying:

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Retail

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L

Video Card: MSI Geforce 8800GT 512M OC

RAM: Corsair XMS2 800(PC6400) 2GB

DVD-R: Samsung 20X DVD-R with Lightscribe OEM

Some of the RAM's user reviewers mentioned a problem with needing to adjust the voltage and/or timings in order to boot. I wont have any other DDR2 sticks, so I won't be able swap them out and access the BIOS and make changes if necessary, right? If that's the case, which make and model would be a good alternative?

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  1. You dont need to adjust the voltage or timming in order to boot.
    Standard timming is 5-5-5-18 and voltage is 1.8, and you dont have to change it unless you want to overclock it to 4-4-4-12 @ 2.1v.
    RAM runs fine at standard speed.

    I use Corsair XMS2 TWIN2X2048-6400C4

    with GA-P35-DS4, and it works great.

    It ran fine at 5-5-5-18 @ 1.8v, but I am running it 4-4-4-12 @ 2.1v
  2. All right, cool, thanks. I'll try one of those. I looked on Gigabyte's website but I couldn't find their compatibility sheet for this specific board.

    Any other suggestions?
  3. 450GB hard drive? That's a new one for me :)

    Very nice list. Go for it.

    Maybe, if you don't mind spending $20 more, get the MSI 8800GTS G92 instead of the MSI 8800GT.

    It will be about 14% faster for 11% more money (including rebate and shipping), and it includes the Witcher too.

    BTW, I think the Witcher you get there is the child-safe version :)
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