Friends mean well, but sometimes their advice can be incorrect. The RAM issue is an OS problem, not a hard drive problem. Windows (32 bit) can only address 4gB of memory, and this ends up with Windows only recognizing about 3 to 3.5 gB of that memory (here's an article with more details: http://www.brianmadden.com/content/article...it-really-mean-
Depending on the driver availability for your hardware, you may want to consider a 64 bit version of Windows in order to make use of it's additional features (and it'll recognize up to 128 gB of RAM).
I prefer the PC Power and Cooling PSU's even though they're a bit more expensive than other similarly rated PSU's. They're hefty, they do very well in the comparison tests, and I've never had one die on me. With all the hardware that you'll be using, even 500 watts may not be enough.
I've had good luck with Intel mobo's also. My current mobo (tho') is an MSI with the 975 chipset and it works great. Some issues with Vista and the SATA drivers, but nothing that wasn't easily overcome.
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able. - John
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