Hard Drive - Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST3500320AS 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148288
(although I heard that the western digital was generally better, I just noticed that this one was roughly the same price/speed as the western digital equivalent but had a 32mb cache instead of 16. Then again I dont know hard drives well)
I obv would use vista 64 bit premium since im going with 8g of ram, and for the gpu either a 4870x2 or a single gtx 280. (im waiting for the prices/benchies on the 4870x2 before deciding)
Any input/advice would be immensely appreciated, and im just curious if theres anything else specical id need to buy for this build. Only other thing I think I need for this would be some thermal compound ?
Also how difficult of a build would this be for someone who never built a pc before ? (I dont mind having to take it apart and redo it, but im just somewhat worried about how easily I could damage/destory the hardware.)
No problem. Be aware that from what I have seen it's ALWAYS harder to get 8 Gigs running on a mainstream board. No games will use that much right now, so it might be best for you to just go for 4. If you want 8, be very careful to buy something actually tested to work with 4x2gig sticks. Consult the MB site and the RAM site for the respective manufacturers.
The fastest video card or combination of cards recommended by THG in their review are 2 x HD4850. Their article states "At this performance level and at this price, we have a hard time recommending anything more expensive than two Radeon 4850s."
So are you sure you need to spend an extra $200 for two HD4870s?
And I also wonder why you need 8 GB of memory. What do you plan to do with system besides gaming?
As to building your own - go for it. Everyone has a first time. And most don't damage the hardware significantly. On my first build I did damage the push pins on my hear sink - cost me $30 for a new heatsink - but still saved a lot with BYO. Do follow safe ESD practices though. And just take your time.
The 32MB cache on the HDs makes no real difference in speeds. However, I have heard that the 500GB WD is not so good as the other WD drives, so if you are sttled on that size and price the Seagate is probably OK.
Well I was looking at the 4870x2 rather than two 4870s. While it would still be roughly the same price as two 4870s, I was under the impression that a single card would put less stress (use less power, release less heat, work more efficently etc) on my system and add to my pc's longevity