need help with new system - ram and mobo mostly

ok, so i am trying to build a good system on a budget, with room to upgrade in the future as my financial situation improves

things i already have:

case: Antec p-180 -
cpu: AMD Athalon 64x2 6000+ -
HDD: Seagate 320gig SATA 3.0Gb/s - no link, sorry
PSU: ThermalTake ToughPower 700W modular -

things i am going to get(known):

video card: ATI HD4870 - whichever one goes on sale for a price i deem worthy at newegg first
optical drive: Samsung 22x DVD Burner w/lightscribe -

things i need help deciding on:

RAM: ddr2 800 or 1066? i know that the processor i am getting won't recieve any benefit from 1066, however i am also looking at future upgrades, and eventually if i get one of amd's quads, the benefit from 1066 will be present. that said, ddr2 800 is cheaper, so it is likely 4 gigs of 800 vs 2 gigs of 1066

after that question, if i get ddr2 800 - 2x2gigs or 4x1gig - the 4x1gig would have better timings, but would it be a noticeable improvement? i don't know anything about overclocking, however i might learn how to once this thing is up and running

Motherboard: AMD 790GX vs 790FX vs 780G vs 790X chipset: part of me wants crossfire capability, even though i wouldn't need a second card for a long while, another part of me wants more than 2 pci slots, in case the 4870 ends up blocking one, i have a TV card i'll be taking from my old computer, and a second slot for my next question. also is the difference between SB600 and SB750 significant?

Sound card - is it worth it? how is onboard sound usually compared to a soundcard such as - will my 26 dollars give me a noticeable improvement?

thanks in advance for all your help everyone - i've been racking my brain for the past week or two about this, and i can't seem to come to a decision


I am going to be dual-booting Vista Ultimate x64(spend most of my time in vista for gaming) and Ubuntu 8.04 x64
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  1. Go with the 2x2 GB DDR2 800 RAM 1.8v tight timings. Uses less power, room for expansion, usually cheaper.
    Run the onboard sound first, you can always add a sound card later if it isn't up to snuff.
    I'm not real good with AMD mobos, but i'd seriously consider this one Foxconn 790GX
  2. that was one of the 4 or 5 motherboards I had my eye on

    another question: as far as the voltage on the ram goes, what advantage does 1.8v have over 2.1v besides power usage? is it faster/slower/etc? what would be good timings to look for on ram meeting your criteria?

    thanks again in advance
  3. JEDEC standard is 1.8v, some mobos will default to it and you have to set it to other voltages. You may have to set timings in BIOS. 1066 RAM is just factory overclocked RAM.....and it often doesn't perform at listed specs.
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