New build advice

Hello all, I am looking to build a new system and wanted some advice. I use my system for a little bit of everything, gaming, video editing, mixing audio recording, a little Wings 3D here and there. I don't need a super high-end machine, but I want something that will perform nicely and last me at least a couple years before I need to upgrade.

Here is what I'm looking at:

CPU: AMD Phenom 9950 2.6GHz
Mobo: ASUS M3A79-T Deluxe
RAM: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500)
GPU: SAPPHIRE 100245L Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s
Power supply: CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W
Case: COOLER MASTER Centurion 590 RC-590-KKN1-GP Black SECC / ABS ATX Mid Tower

I already have a monitor, 22x DVD burner, mouse, keyboard, and speakers.

My questions are:

1. Is everything compatible?

2. Should I go for Vista 32 bit or 64 bit? I know that the 32-bit OS can only see 4 GB of RAM, but I've heard that that can actually slow performace because of the greater memory address values. Is there any real advantage to 64-bit OSs at this point in time, or is that really something that will become more relevant in future years?

3. Is my power supply adequate? How can you figure this out? I know you need to add up the amount of power that each component will pull from the different rails, but I can't figure out where to find that info.

4. Am I able to do Crossfire if I decide to get another GPU in the future?

5. Do I need a CPU fan with that processor/mobo combo? I read something about a "heat pipe" on that board but I'm not sure if that's meant to replace a fan or work with it.

Any advice is appreciated.
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  1. You'll get more bang for the buck with an Intel system. A P45 board and a Q9550 would be the better crossfire build.

    The video card is nice, but prices are so low now on 4870s you might want to upgrade.

    The Corsair would be my second choice for PSU. First choice would be the PC P&C 750W:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817341011
    That's an insane price.

    Either one of those PSUs will power two 4870s, so yes you are fine there.

    See my sig for more info.
  2. Thanks for the advice, that looks like a good PSU. The Q9550 definitely looks like a better processor, but it's twice the price of the Phenom. What about a Q6600?

    Would this be a good mobo for an Intel system?
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128358
  3. That's a good mobo - I have it actually.

    Q6600 is great if you plan on overclocking it. If not, then it's a bit outdated. It's up to you. Maybe a duel core cpu?

    If you have a monitor using 1920 or greater resolution, get a 4870 1gb. If you are using a smaller monitor, get the 512mb version or a 4850 if you are pinching pennies.

    By the way, some people have problems installing Vista on that mobo. Send me a PM if you have that problem. It's a simple fix really. That mobo is famous for cheap overclocking.
  4. GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P is an excellent motherboard choice.
    Q6600 vs 9950BE compared The CPUs are very close in performance. When overclocked the Q6600 has the ability to pull out ahead in CPU power. Add an aftermarket HSF for better CPU cooling. ZEROtherm ZEN FZ120 CPU Cooler $44 (with $30 rebate) is a great value. ZEN FZ120 review Another review from FrostyTech ZEN FZ120 review

    I like all the rest of your choices too.

    With the 4870/1GB video card you'd only "see" about 3GB of RAM with the 32bit Vista. That's actually not a real problem. Since the 32bit and 64bit prices are the same and practically all the reasons for NOT getting 64bit have been solved it's hard to find a reason to recommend 32bit UNLESS you have a lot of older games and software you want to keep running on the new system.

    Sizing of power supply; if you're getting one 4870 GPU and your motherboard can support TWO 4870s you can size the PSU to support two 4870s (which will always support a single high-end NextGen video card as well).
    The Sapphire website recommends 600watts for two 4870s. I'd feel comfortable suggesting a Corsair 650TX. If you're thinking about pushing your Q6600 to near max overclock and maybe tweaking two 4870s by overclocking them also, go with the 750W Corsair.
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