New build - in need of advice and feedback! Thanks!

My current computer is on its way out after several dedicated years of service, and as such I've been looking into getting a new system.

As I've been off the hardware scene for some time now, I was wondering if anybody could give me some advice? I've got a basic idea (shown below) which looks good to me - but any feedback or advice would be much appreciated!

I'd like a PC for all the usual jobs (word processing, internet etc), the odd bit of photoshop, and some casual gaming (mostly FPS and strategy games).

Here's my currently proposed model:

CPU: Intel Core2 Quad Q9450 4 X 2.66GHz (1333MHz FSB/12MB L2 Cache)

Motherboard: ASUS P5K

GFX Card: nVidia 512MB GeForce 8800GTS

And for the RAM... 4GB Corsair XMS2 800MHz (2x 2gb sticks)

...the RAM I'm not sure about, as I'm not entirely sure which OS to go with at the moment. Any advice on that too will be much appreciated (though I know it's typically for a different forum, so I may have to create another thread elsewhere) - I know XP will only recognise just over 3gb of RAM more often than not, but I know its supposedly a little more efficient than Vista right now and also compatible with everything I wish to use the computer for (whereas some games I have I'm not sure are Vista/64-bit compatible, like HL1 and its mods). However, obviously Vista 64-bit is more futureproof, and for this purpose I might get 8gb of RAM. Should I just delve straight into extra RAM and 64-bit Vista, or less RAM and 32-bit XP, or go for the 8gb of RAM and get both XP and 64-bit Vista Premium and dual-boot?

Thanks for any feedback or queries! Most appreciated :)
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  1. This is just a suggestion on an alternative dual boot system. I normally use Vista Ultimate 64 with 4gigs of ram. Vista is installed on a 320gig SATA3 drive, However I also have another SATA drive in my system, a cheap 150gig SATA1.

    My motherboard (ASUS P5N-D) allows me to choose which SATA drive I can make as primary boot SATA, so I've installed WinXP Pro on the cheaper 150G. Dual boot for me takes a few extra key strokes to go into the BIOS to change the SATA boot order, but it works well enough for me.

    Advantage of this is you don't have to install OS over another OS, or use 3rd party boot loader, and don't have to worry about partitions.

    4Gig of ram works fine with Vista 64. However if you can afford the 8 gigs, go for it.
  2. That guy above just gave you the right answer for everything. Use a cheapo hard drive and put the other operating system on it. I had two versions on a single puter and it would ask me each time which one to boot to. Very good idea.

    That GTS 512mb or a 9800 GTX would be great. I stay away from X2 video cards cause of issues they have occasionally. The new AMD cards are good as well, apparently, but I only use Nvidia.
  3. 4850 beats 8800 in about everything tested so far, hangs with 9800GTX and torches EVERYTHING include 260 in some games like Bioshock.

    $199 4850 is the deal of the year. Get yourself one.
  4. Thanks a lot guys! I'll look into the 4850 :)

    Just one question - is it necessary to have separate physical drives when installing both Vista and XP (as opposed to partitions)? I should be getting a nice 1tb drive so partitioning between the two wouldn't be difficult, although I've read about XP wiping Vista system restore points when installed on partitions.

    It's been a few years since I've dual-booted OS's so forgive me if I'm missing something!
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