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New build directions

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I want to build my first computer & like everybody else, Iím looking the best bang for the buck. Looking for something in the $400 - $600 area. Thinking along the lines of AMD athlon 64 x 2 (AM2) higher end build. 3.0GHz area.

Wanting something I can have lots of things running background programs full system tray & never see an hour glass or flashlight again. My computer is so old (11 yrs +) & with all non, essentials turned off, I canít surf & have outlook running at the same time. WMPís Ė youtube vids skip so bad I cant even watch half of them.

I really donít know much about terms like front side buss except the more the better. PCI express is best. Go with SATA drives etc: trying to learn but itís the old dogs & new tricks thing. So forgive me for my blunders; thatís why Iím asking the experts. What will work with what !!!

General info:
I plan to use my old CRT monitor, keyboard, mouse, stereo speakers, web cam & microphone. But will upgrade later.
I plan to use Windows xp pro (OEM) as I am now, till xp is not supported & then will probably go with the new Windows 7.
I use Windows office 2003.
I use AT&T DSL thru their westell wirespeed modem going to an Ethernet card (which has been replaced several times due to failure)
I have an older Belkin 802.11g for wireless to another old computer; I think I can still use this.
I also have a scanner, printer, copier. (I canít use these most of the time because the system)
I use a mid sized battery back up mostly because of the delivery of constant voltage supplied to unit.

The system will be used for general usage, lots of multitasking, some video editing etc but would like to be able to game a bit. I download lots of home vids & photos. I use instant messaging with cam I want to download & copy vids, music, photoshop, BUT need capability for high end programs I might want to try without bogging down.

Iím looking for reliable, quality parts. Want to go with Full ATX
PSU: While I wonít be a hard gamer, donít think I need SLI or crossfire. (at least for gaming) Plenty of power, efficient.
CPU: AMD 64 x 2 dual core. I see different bios names Windsor, Brisbane etc. is this a concern? Hyper threading, cool & quiet. Lower wattage better??
Heat sink: Something better than stock I assume. Iíve heard push pin type not advisable. NOTE: I plan on lapping the heat sink and the CPU. Do I see raised eyebrows??
Motherboard thoughts: SATA, pci express, plenty of slots, lots of USB ports & a firewire port. Do you think I need anything additional to be ready for 64 bit?? Add heat sinks to bridges?? If so Iíll probably lap these as well. (stop laughing Ė Iím trying)
RAM: Thinking of 3gig DDR2 800MHz? 1066MHz??
DVD CD writer & burner combo.
Video Card: Is this the same as a GPU card? Again not a big gamer but I want to view & down load vids if this counts. Needs it own memory though.
Sound Card: Hummm!! On board or card? Not really sure here but if I download a vid I want the sound to be good. Maybe surround sound? Mainly to copy music with good quality. Dolby? 5-1 / 7-1? At this time I only have stereo.
Ethernet card: I see data transfer rates of 10 to 1000Mbps.
Stops for beer!!!
Hard drives: I figure around 500 + gig. (SATA 2?) Is RAID worth the money? Can RAID be partitioned? I partition my hd Ė an area for the os & an area for antivirus, reg cleaners, anti spyware stuff etc & a partition for personal things like home photos etc thinking this help keep the nasties from surfing getting to them. Thought Ė If I were to use RAID 0 for the speed; could I use a third Hard drive as a mirror back up incase of one of raid hard drive fails?
Cables: Will everything come with the appropriate cables & hardware?
Floppy drive: Thing of the past or advisable?? Maybe one with the camera sd cards. If so I want to use a round cable.
OEM: Iím kinda leery of OEM products. Except for software like Windows xp. Thoughts?
Reminds me: I guess I canít use my XP OEM pro disc for this build & will need a new one. (I plan to keep this computer with xp on it)
Anything Iím forgetting?
To OC or not OC. I think staying within design would be best BUT I keep seeing people ocing the heck out of them with seemingly no problems. I could be tempted to try this after learning how. Donít want to harm anything is all. But seeing a 2.6gig CPU running at 3.6 g sounds interesting. But if you need a yes or no answer then it would be NO. Thatís why the 3.0GHz area processor.
I may need a way to fax from this computer to actual fax machines. A fax modem?? I saw a usb fax modem; is this what I need?
Case: ATX mid or full tower. Doesnít need to be fancy but functional, with plenty of drive bays. This kinda caught my eye: http://www.tigerdire...mp;Sku=ULT40142 Looks like lots of cooling. Even an opening for the CPU.

This brings Case questions Iíve been thinking for a long time. Has anyone played with case air flow for the best cooling?
I would like to use an actual high efficiency air conditioning filter media to keep the case clean. Positive pressure. I know this will impede the air flow due to the filter resistance. And I donít know what this build will need for good airflow. I have seen cases where in the front there are places for 2 fans as well as rear fans. Iíve seen case mods that added a series of fans to the side. Iíve even thought of getting a 110volt fan with an intake filter & ducting it to the front of the case. Any thoughts?? Heads shaking like What the...??

Final thoughts: Iím looking for a reasonable priced, good enough to run high end programs, reliable, long lasting, quality parts & everything will fit properly & easy start up.
I donít plan on much upgrading of this build because in a couple of years the technology will be cause for a new build; however if windows 7 is only 64 bit; I may upgrade the ran to take the advantage of 64.

If you have a build that you like, donít hesitate to inform me, & what if any changes you would do over. Also appx price of your build would be appreciated.
I will probably be buying most of my parts from Tiger direct & Comp USA is in the area.
Sorry for being long winded here but wanted to give as much info as I could. After reading lots of forums seems thereís always something left out thatís needed for proper answers.
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