Hi there,

I was hoping you may be able to offer some feedback on my next PC spec that would be ideal for the oncoming Black and White 2 etc. I have held off playing Doom 3 and HL2 until doing the upgrade. I will be using www.scan.co.uk for the components (as I have for all previous specs).

To run HL2, Doom3, Black and White2 etc with all the effects running (or near to)
analogue video editing (potentially upgrading to digital at some point)
not silly £££. It is counter productive to buy top end stuff now as it will depreciate faster than potentially going for a different spec which is going to cost less to buy and offer less depreciation when I come to sell in the future.
I have already highlighed most of the spec (see below, and please suggest any improvements to it) apart from I am really struggling on what socket set (CPU and MB) to go for. I have always used Intel but now starting to think about AMD as Intel seem to be applying a lot of pressure to convert from AGP to PCI-E. I purchased a top end ATI AGP card a few months ago and would like to keep it, but if the overall recommendation to change to PCI-E is there then I will sell the AGP card and change to PCI-E.

I am keeping my existing monitors/keyboard,mouse and 120GB SATA Seagate Barracuda. I am looking at a new system built by SCAN:-

Asus Vento 3600 Blue Case Hi Performance Gaming w/o PSU £76.00 £89.30

580W Tagan 2Force T580-U22 SLi U-Quiet 21db Also support 12v EPS/SATA/XEON 3 Years Warranty ATX/BTX £69.99 £82.24

Sony DRU-800A Ivory/Black Bezels 16x16x4 DVD±RW 8x8 Dual Layer Retail £39.63 £46.57

Sony Black 16x DVD-ROM + 48x CD-ROM IDE £12.89 £15.15

1.44Mb Sony Black Floppy Disk Drive OEM £3.69 £4.34

250Gb Seagate Barracuda (7200.7rpm, 8Mb) - SATA NCQ £74.19 £87.17

512Mb PC3200 (PC400) DDR Memory (Major) Retail £24.89 £29.25

512Mb PC3200 (PC400) DDR Memory (Major) Retail £24.89 £29.25

£383.27 so far
The memory above may change depending on the board/processor chosen...
Obviously I need extra fans (at least 2x80mm case fans), a heat sink, plus speakers etc.

Another big question:-
The sound system will only be used for games. Is 7.1/6.1 over kill or should I just go for 5.1 (I currently have 4.1 that I was planning on selling on Ebay)?
Whatever the speaker system chosen, is the on board sound good enough these days or is it still best to buy an Audigy 2 such as:-
Creative Labs Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS 71 THX OEM UK £38.69 £45.46

This is the part of the system that I am unsure about.
I am currently on S478 2GB. I first thought about the below:-

Asus P4P800-E Deluxe i865PE, ATX, DDDR400, Gbit Lan, USB 2.0, 1394, 8Ch Audio, SATA, Raid, WiFi Port £64.60 £75.91

3.2GHz Intel Pentium® 4 S478 CPU "Prescott" (800FSB) HT 1MB Cache *Retail* £124.32 £146.08

then I found that this is supposed to be quicker (but could it handle my analogue video editing):-
Gigabyte GA-K8NS Pro NF3 Pro 250, ATX, DDR400, Gbit Lan, USB 2.0, AC'97 Audio, 4 x SATA, Raid £53.75 £63.16

AMD Athlon 64 3700 32/64bit CPU S754 Clawhammer Retail inc Heat Sink Fan & 3 Years Warranty £127.37 £149.66

What do I go for based on my needs (listed earlier and budget as per below)?
My budget is £1,000 including 5.1/6.1 or 7.1 speakers. If I do need to change to PCI-E then this has to fit within the budget as well as the related motherboard and CPU choice. Obviously, both of the above socket sets will allow me to keep my ATI AGP card. I don't want to buy technology that is so new that it is both silly money and not supported by enough available software to make full use of it's capabilities. Nor do I want to need to upgrade again in another 6-12 months....
Can cooling still be adequate with fans etc or should I go watercooled. I doubt I will be overclocking as I want stablility for my video editing.

Can anyone offer any help with the specification?

Thanks in advance