Well, all of my computer parts except for my video card have arrived now, and I have my new machine assembled, as far as possible. A friend has graciously lent me a spare PCIe video card, so I had something with which to install Windows and some basic software like Office. I'll get the essentials (Winamp, Visual Studio, Photoshop, World of Warcraft) installed this weekend, and Monday evening I'll swap out the video card and I'll be ready to go.
The first thing I noticed is that the case I bought is fantastic. It's a Gigabyte 3D Aurora, and I love it, despite the lame name. It looks nice, but the important part is that it's very cleverly designed. Drives install without screws. It comes with your choice of a grill or a window for the side door, silent fans with LEDs, and cable organizers to keep things tidy. Instead of a standard power LED, the front of the case glows a medium blue when the machine is on, and it actually projects the Aurora logo onto the floor. It's also very roomy. I highly recommend it.
After an annoying bout with my Intel motherboard, which comes with 8 SATA ports but seems picky about which ones you plug your drives into, I got Windows installing. I love what Vista has done with setup; it's fast, attractive, and convenient. After booting for the first time, I was very surprised at how wonderful the Aero Glass UI was looking. I use Vista on my oldest machine at work (the others are all servers), and it has a horrid super-budget video card in it. The UI is very sluggish, though switching off Aero doesn't help much, so I leave it on. But here, even with this temporary ~$60 GeForce 6600 with a sputtering, dying fan, it's blazing fast, and beautiful. Normally I can't stand many of the various window animations, and quickly turn them off, but with Vista on a decent machine, I actually like them. I can't wait to see how it performs with the 8800 GTX on Monday, especially in games—I have to admit that I was quite wary before tonight.
UAC, however, is very much disabled. Cancel or Allow was a very easy decision.