More than 8GB RAM? Skulltrail or? ~$4k workstation some gaming.

I'm building a system mainly for Photoshop, 3dsmax, Flash, video encoding and general multimedia busyboodyness with occasional gaming. I generally need a bunch of stuff open at once.. PS, flash, 20 IE/FF windows open concurrently, WMP, outlook, excel, trillian and a dozen other small apps.
I work over a LAN so i'm not as concerned about HD speed.
I try to build a beast every 3 years or so that lasts for a while and has the added benefit of being a kickass gaming platform (at least for the first 18 months).

I recently specced out a system based around skulltrail:

Asus Z7S WS Skulltrail Motherboard
Intel Quad Core Xeon E5420, 2.50Ghz Fbs1333Mhz, 12Mb cache. Qty 2
Kingmax 12Gb DDR2 800Mhz Ram
Nvidia Geforce 9800GX2 PCIe Graphics Card
3x Seagate 500Gb SATA2 Hard drive
Microsoft Vista Ultimate 64Bit
Silverstone 1200watts PSU

But then I realised I needed FB DDR2 RAM which changes the equation slightly.
I also realise Skulltrail isn't as great as it was initially hyped.

Maybe I should be content with 8GB on another platform.. ?

But I liked the Asus as I'll eventually be able to get it to 24GB if 4gb FBDDR2 chips are ever affordable... But FB is slower..
How would you spend 4-5k (no monitor, no/before overclocking)?
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More about more skulltrail workstation gaming
  1. Unless you are planning on SLIing, crossfiring 3-4 cards, don't use skulltrail. From what I've heard, their are way better server boards. The only reason skulltrail is so special is the gaming "hype" and its support of crossfire and SLI.
  2. Well, I was planning to add another 9800GX2 as an upgrade 12 months down the track... (was going to start out with dual 8800's but figured most of my apps wouldn't currently take advantage of it and a single dual gpu card with 1gb ram would be better right now.) If I went with another server board i'd still have to use FB DDR2 as well.. not that it matters too much,
  3. my opinion, Dont bother with Skulltrail... If you want a comparable system that suppors regular DDR2, dual quads, SLI in a Workstation/server class package than go QuadFX with dual quad opterons. I have A quadFX rig running dual FX72s OC'd to 3 grand with 4gb of pc9200 DDR2 + a 5 drive terabyte raid and dual 8800's SLI. Its the most powerful F'ing computer I have ever used... the whole thing cost me 3000 and the two videocards where by far, the most expensive part. the board plus both chips cost me 600, the unbuffered OCZ reaper cost 300. I'm also running a very slick dual proc watercooling system. See, if you go the cheaper route you can spend the extra dough on **** like awesome watercooling, or a nice case. The Antec P190 is superior for this rig or skulltrail and it offers 1200 watts of power, cost = 400. QuadFX all the way... its a $3000 question vs. a $6000 question.
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