Ordering a new pc and have questions

I'm about to purchase a XPS 730 from Dell. I know I could build it cheaper but due to the fact my credit cards are maxed and cash in hand is an issue that leaves me with Dell only since I have a credit card from them ;) and I'm in need of a replacement pc for gaming (Warhammer Online, Crysis, COD4 ect...)

Anyways I was thinking of getting the following:

4GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz
DUAL CARDS: ATI Radeon HD 4850 512MB or maybe the GTX280

I was told by a Dell rep that I can OC the E8400 without voiding the warranty as long as I didn't go overboard on it. I'm new to OC'n and have a few questions I'm hoping can be answered.

1)If I left the E8400 at stock speed is it still powerful enough for gaming in terms of high settings and running at 1280x1024?

2)If I was to overclock it using the standard cooling that comes with the system what is possible speed wise and still being in the safe zone on temp/voltage?

3)Is the ram speed a good choice or should I just downgrade to the 1066MHz?

4) Lastly I cannot decide on the video card setup completely. I have thought about going with a single 4850 or possibly 2 for Xfire. But on the same note I could get a GTX280 for a couple hundred more. Any recommendations as to what is a better for gaming needs?

Any help would be greatly appreciated as I'm ordering the system tonight or tomorrow before the coupon I have expires.
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  1. Hey, i currently am running the Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale and love it, i have beaten crysis almost 2 times and beaten call of duty 4 a whole lot because it is so short. anyways crysis is probably the hardest game to run out right now and i can tell you i can play it very well. I have a 9800GTX+ superclocked edition and play crysis withought lag on 2x antialiasing and 1440x900 resolution and max settings which are Very High. if you get the 280 you could play it on very high resolution and not notice any lagg at all. so yes the E8400 is by far powerfull enough to play any new game out at the most intense settings, the main thing you gotta look at is your video card now. The E8400 has a good reputation for overclocking Very well so you should easily be able to get 3.6Ghz on stock air cooling withough causing the Dell rep guy any stomach ache :]. Mine idels at temps of 38c so that leaves Plenty of room for overclocking. As far as the ram goes, its up 2 you, certanly wont hurt to get faster speeds as far as i can tell but if its alot higher i wouldnt personaly go with ddr3 because they are no need with the cpu your purchasing, but just trying to save you some money there.. But i would go for the GTX280 probably mainly because i dont know much about radeons. But if you go with dual 4850s they would probably do better or just as good as the single 280. Anyways hope i helped a little.
  2. Thanks a bunch for the speedy reply. The more I'm reviewing the GTX280 the more I'm starting to lean towards that as the GPU I want :)
  3. no problem dude. youll definately like nvidia : ), i just wish i had the money to get one when i was building : ( lol
  4. At 1200x1024 the GTX 280 is overkill for almost any game except Crysis IMO.
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