After some failed research at other forums, someone directed me here. After a couple weeks of wikipedia/Google research, I have learned a lot but not enough to be sure enough to buy. Searching threads here hasn't helped as my keywords may have been poorly chosen. Getting past a wish list seems impossible at this point without your advice, so I had to post: I am building a computer that will be used to: *Run MS Office '07 including some heavy Outlook (with Xobni plugin), Access databases, Publisher newsletters, and large Excel spreadsheet use. *Run multiple media editing programs (AcidPro/Audacity for music, Pinnacle/Windows Movie Maker for video, Photoshop CS3/Paint Shop Pro and others for images) for semi-professional use (wedding and school videography & photography) *tune in to HD and standard cable television and record like a DVR and view movies in 5.1 surround via optical signal *support a future purchase of a Blu-Ray burner *convert old VHS videos to DVD and other digital format *faxing with Word documents and jpg pictures (I have an old PCI modem) *support some 3D gaming (Battlefield 1942, BF2, BF 2142, etc.). *Use a resolution of 1600 (current) or 1920 (after possible monitor purchase) x1200 at all times (except for gaming, where a slightly smaller resolution would be acceptable). When using Office or online or working with pictures, I really need a 1200 pixel tall screen to minimize time-wasting scrolling and see a high resolution pic in one shot. *notate music (sibelius, encore, finale) or accompany instrumental performances/practicing (band-in-a-box, vivace) *internet browsing/instant messaging *scan and print for school publications and weddings (already have printer and scanner). *support 6 or more external USB devices, 1 eSATA device, and duel monitors (currently have an old 1600x1200 Dell CRT, will eventually add a 1920x1200 LCD) *run CPU-intense Winamp Advanced Visualization Studio presets at a decent resolution and frame rate *I would really like it if I could have (Creative's EAX) or similar reverb effects "environments" *run at least 2 SATA II hard drives and as many PATA drives as possible, up to 4 in addition to the 2 SATA. Less PATA is acceptable if need be though. *read old school 3.5" floppy discs. *read high speed 4 gig SD cards Already have: *PCI fax modem *ps2 mouse and keyboard *scanner & 3 printers (USB) *Technics SA-DA8 receiver/amp supporting 5.1 optical dts or dolby digital signal (does NOT have the RCA-shape digital input, only optical)(7.1 channel is not important to me, only 5.1). *plenty of desk space *4 PATA hard drives: 250, 120, 60, 40 gig models. *old basic CD drive, might just scrap it. *VCR, DVD player, coax/RCA/S-Video input TV Here's my wish list (VERY rough draft and open to editing): Motherboard: DFI LANPARTY UT X48-T3R LGA 775 Intel X48 ATX Intel I like the support for a quad core CPU, 4 DDR3 RAM slots, optical out for sound, large number of SATA II plugs, the 2-device PATA plug, and the 3 oldschool PCI slots. Is this an ok brand, and will it be compatible with the other hardware that I have listed? Also, will a good video card block the old PCI slots? CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9650 3.0GHz LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80569Q9650 - Retail I dont know much about overclocking at this point, but I did want something that was a solid 3 gig quad core so that the box will last long without major upgrades. Overclocking is something I might do, but not at a dangerous amount. Because of this, I was hoping to stick with the included basic CPU cooling system. RAM: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-4GBPK - Retail I like the price and was hoping to buy cards that were at least 2 gig DDR3 1333. This way I can either buy the total allowed 8 gigs now or just 4 and have empty slots available for a later upgrade. I know nothing about brand preference. Latency seems high at 9 but the motherboard reviews said faster RAM causes problems not sure if thats true or not? Hard drive: Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM Inexpensive, fast, and very high capacity for uncompressed media editing. I may later consider adding a 32 or 64 gig solid state drive for faster operating system and office program loading, but not sure yet. PSU and Case: COOLER MASTER Stacker 810 RC-810-KKA1-GP Black Aluminum Bezel, SECC Chassis ATX Full Tower Computer Case RS-850-EMBA 850W Power Supply - Retail Lots of bang for the buck, lots of room for drives of all kinds, even handy office chair style casters, and very little (what I consider annoying) led lighting. I understand that PSUs are very important and didnt find this brand on the avoid list, but I dont know enough to decide if this is a safe choice. Optical Drive: ASUS 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model DRW-2014L1T - Retail Fits my needs for now. I would like to add a Blu-Ray burner later if and when they come down in price. TV Card: KWORLD PlusTV HD PCI 120 ATSC 120 PCI Interface - Retail This seems to fit what I was requesting above. I get a lot of VCR tapes from videography customers and need something to convert them to computer-editable files. I also want to use this machine to watch broadcast TV like a DVR setup as well as DVD movies. Card reader/3.5 floppy: SIIG JU-91RW12-S4 9-in-1 USB 2.0 Card Reader/Write + Floppy - Retail This will read my camera card (and other peoples submitted cards) and old floppies. Added PATA inside and eSATA outside: MASSCOOL PCI-E 1 port eSATAII + 1 port SATAII + 1 port ATA133(JMB363 chipset) Model XWT-PCIE15 - Retail Kills two birds with one stone, but Im hoping a video card wont block its slot. Im hoping to connect 2 PATA hard drives to the internal PATA plug and one eSATA Western Digital 1TB My Book external hard drive. Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit English for System Builders 1pk DSP OEI DVD - OEM I have a license for MS Windows XP x64 edition (bought in 2005 with a 32 bit version too for total of $20 at the student rate), and I would like to use it, but everyone I talk to says that itll likely cause endless problems including but not limited to driver update issues. Video Card: This is where Im really lost. All the research Ive done on other forums, Newegg, Wikipedia, and here doesnt seem to be enough to help me make an educated guess as to what I could use. Maybe a good one would replace my need for a TV card. If so, would it still be good enough to run the Battlefield games at a decent resolution/frame rate? See my list above the hardware list to see what I need the card to handle. Im hoping to stick with one video card for now, mostly because I dont think I game enough to need two, price, and I want to block at most one PCI slot, though Id rather not block any. This motherboard looks like Id use a PCIe 2 16 slot but the card would be so fat it would block an extra PCI slot This is ok, but if I had two cards doing this, it would limit my expansion. 1920x1200 monitor: Open to suggestions. Around 24 and good (not best, but good) for photography, decent but not extreme angle and distance viewing, and some 3D gaming. The listed specific hardware totals $1944.52 including shipping on Newegg, but lacks tax, a monitor, a video card, and any extra wiring to make it all work. Thank you very much for your time reading this. I dont really have any tech-savvy friends; Im usually the guy they go to, and Im no hardware expert at all; just learning. Id really appreciate anything youd have to say regarding this. If you point me in the right direction, you deserve everything good that happens to you. I'm sorry about such a long post. I wanted to be as detailed as possible, and I am welcome to suggestions, even from the devil's advocate, as to how to improve my posting and my selections for hardware. Thanks again.