I'm willing to spend about $1000, ideally less though. I've already got a very nice keyboard/mouse/monitor/speakers, so I don't need to worry about any of that. This will mainly be used for gaming, but I do use photoshop on occasion and like to leave some background applications active while I play. I've got the following parts decided on, but am willing to change if given good advice:
-Video card (looking to get a VERY nice one without going too overboard, I don't want to have to upgrade for a few years ideally)
-Sound card (unless the onboard audio is really nice..I don't really know how to tell), hard drive (looking for above 200gb and good speed/price),
-Some extra cooling stuff (my current computer is dying because of that and has had a lot of issues...I literally have to have a box fan up next to the side of the case which I have open just so it won't overheat...so I want to have more cooling than necessary)
-Windows version (I have XP OEM from when I built this computer, but would like to upgrade to Vista. Need to know which version of Vista I should buy)
Also had a few random questions I figured I'd add:
Would a surge protector be a good investment? What about a network card, do they make a difference at all?
Save $50 with the P5Q Pro. Dump the Freezer. Downgrade to Q6600.
Good PSU/RAM/DVD. Do add a power strip with surge protection. Don't bother with sound card/network card/after marker cooler. Add a WD6400AAKS hard disk. Get a cheaper case (RC-690, $75). Use all these savings to get a Visiontek HD 4870 X2.
Sure, one extra fan wouldn't hurt. You'll have 4 instead of 3, a little more air whooshing and a little lower temperatures.Your setup is not very demanding, you know. The HD 4870 has a vent to kick the hot air directly out, and that means the case fans have less work to do than, say, with a HD 4850 or 8800 GT.
Excellent choice of video card. Actually, I've rarely seen such newegg ratings, 90% 5 eggs, 0% 1 egg, 0% 2 eggs, wow... It's a 1GB version, which means it will give you a few fps more than the 512MB version at 1680x1050. If you ever get a 24" monitor TV with 1080p that extra RAM will make a bigger difference.
You don't really need extra fans with the RC-690 and a HD 4870 and a non-OCd dual core.
You're not convinced about the P5Q Pro, I see. How about the GA-EP45-UD3P? That would save you $45.
Whoops, I missed this response when I was replying. It looks like the 3 motherboards basically offer the same stuff, so should I go with the gigabyte or p5q pro because they're cheaper? Does the extra $ spent on the p5q-e give me anything? They all have different onboard audio stuff, and the p5q pro only supports 8 gb or memory, but I can't imagine I'll need that much.
The P5Q-E supports 16GB of RAM, true, but in 4 slots. That means you'd need to buy 4GB sticks, and those are massively overpriced IIRC. For example 2 sticks of 4 GB each Crucial $665. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148219
Compare that with 4 sticks of 2GB each, which is about 2*$50. Besides, who really needs more than 8 GB?
The P5Q-E is in fact worth the extra $45 compared to the P5Q Pro, but only for some people. It supports overclocking better, and you can stick 3 video cards in it if you insist (say, if you need 5 or 6 monitors). I'm just saying you should compare features and get the MB that fits your needs best. No point in buying features you won't need. Mind you, if you're not sure what exactly you'll need, then do buy the P5Q-E. Better risk wasting $45 now than risk having to buy a new MB later.