I'd get an Asus P5Q Pro. That gives you the Crossfire option for later. The Antec 900, 650TX and HD 4850 already support it. Unfortunately, Gigabyte doesn't have a Crossfire MB based on P45 in that price range, AFAIK.
Anyone have any opinions on using a different vid card for similar price?
Actually, the Sapphire HD 4850 is the best choice for that price. The nVidia card closest to it in speed is the 9800GTX+, which typically costs more and gets almost the same fps. Also, with an nVidia card you'd need an nVidia chipset for multiGPU, and you're better off IMO with an Intel chipset i.e. a P45 motherboard. Stay with the HD 4850, it's smart. The best manufacturers seem to be Sapphire and Visiontek, btw, based on the reviews I've read so far.
The 9800GTX+ has a better cooler than the HD 4850 (that is, it's dual-slot), but with an Antec 900 you won't have any cooling problems anyway.
I don't plan on OCing for a few weeks until my system is all setup and working. I guess I will just stick with the OEM then until I decide to OC.
Does the pcu come with paste on it from the factory? If I just plan on putting the machine together to test all the pieces, should I apply Artic 5 to it with the OEM heatsink, or will I be fine with the paste that comes on it already.
Well thats what I'm asking Aevm, does the PCU come with some brand of paste on it already so I can just put the whole machine together to test if everything is working? Or do I need to apply thermal paste to the cpu before putting on the OEM heatsink.