So thanks to this forum (and others) + an incredible amount of research, I've decided on most of the main components for my first build.
Could any of you recommend a reliable manufacturer of RAM? I'm looking for 8GB of DDR 1600. I've read horror stories about ram sticks not working and breaking easily etc.
Finally, a question about hard drives. How would I find out if specific hard drives would be compatible with my motherboard, what do I look for? If it's any help the motherboard I'm purchasing is the Asus p8z77 v LX.
1. Better use 1333MHz, since even Windows 7 doesn't have a native support for memory with frequencies higher than 1333MHz (1600, 1866, and etc), and thus, even though the higher frequency memory will work, shenanigans might happen (and probably will), such as: glitches, errors, slowdowns in games, incorrect allocation. All of this might happen mainly because of incorrect memory addressing. It doesn't happen in 100% of cases, but it does happen nonetheless, so better be safe.
1333MHz is more than enough for any tasks these days, and difference between "1333MHz" memory and "1600+MHz" memory is absolutely miserable, not worth it at all, IMHO.
2. What brands are 100% trustworthy and whose products can be purchased without any hesitations and fear: Mushkin, GEIL, Kingston, Samsung, Hynix, G.Skill, Transcend.
3. If you want 8GB, better get and use "4GBx2" kit, in Dual Channel. That way it will work much better than the "2x4" kit where all of your RAM slots will be full with 2GB planks.
8GB is more than enough for almost all modern tasks, 16GB ("8GBx2 in Dual Channel") and more - will be absolute overkill for 99.99% of any modern tasks. Keep that in mind.
4. Look for memory kits with lower timings and lower Voltage. It's the most crucial parameters on which you should always make your point on in the beginning.
As long as memory kit has "1333MHz" frequency and more than 4GB of capacity you'll be absolutely fine, so settle your mind only on timings and Voltage: both are better as they lessen.
Special note on Corsair:
Corsair makes decent memory, but it's very highly over-hyped, over-advertised AND over-priced.
This memory doesn't earn the praise it usually gets and definitely doesn't justify the money it asks for itself.
It is NOT the best memory on the market, and never was. But it sells for such money like it's the one.
Don't be fooled and don't listen to anyone who recommends you Corsair's memory as "THE best and only solution".