I'm going to be setting up my new computer this weekend, and I'm getting together the new drivers for my install. My question is, should I go ahead and update the BIOS (newest version is 1502) before I get everything else installed? Or is there an older/stock build I should consider instead? I'm worried flashing my BIOS after I get everything else set up will cause havoc on my computer.
Sandy Bridge CPUs and Cougar Point boards are still new products. As such, you should still be upgrading to the newest BIOSes at the earliest opportunity. They are still working out the kinks and giving performance/stability boosts and new features.
By six months after the release (in this case August), things should be stabilized. Then you can do the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" thing.
And flashing the BIOS after you have it set up shouldn't harm anything.