Well step #1 is to download the latest non beta BIOS. Unfortunately the BIOS releases are frequent and some are considerably better than others. The good news is that if you are going for quiet and not Overclocking you should be on the safe side. Spend some time in the BIOS and in the manual or on the web and turn off any features you are sure you don't need but don't mess around with default settings if you aren't absolutely sure about it. I would suggest turning cool and quiet on but most hardware sites suggest you turn it off (They usually are suggesting Overclocking settings instead).
Step #2 is to download the latest drivers and support software. If you try to upgrade software you may see issues so you should avoid doing multiple installs where possible.
I would highly suggest you not have a network cable plugged into the PC during the setup. Keep it off the internet as long as possible (until you get your antivirus, firewall, antispyware software up and going). And you shouldn't be installing those until you are done with all your OS and driver issues.
I've not set this board up in Windows 2000 but I hear it is less finicky on W2K SP4 than it is on WXP SP2. I'm assuming you can get the gist of the order of install from the next section even if you choose to use W2K.
(This next section is slightly edited from a post that is over 6 months old on hardwareanalysis.com, I wouldn't recommend using what they had on there "as was" if you plan to use Cool n Quiet or you bought an X2 processor which will require newer bios and support software than the versions he listed)
You can choose to install either Windows XP Home, Professional or Media Center Edition but it is recommended that you stick with Windows XP Professional. Install the operating system and device drivers according to the following sequence, make sure you already have SP2 on a CDR or different media so you can install that right after the installation of Windows XP completes. Do NOT install device drivers or other software before you have updated Windows XP with SP2. If you know how it is recommend creating a slipstreamed bootable CD with Windows XP and SP2.
- Download SP2 here: http://download.microsoft.com/download/ ... P2-ENU.exe
- Download NVIDIA chipset drivers (nvidia.com)
- Download NVIDIA ForceWare drivers WHQL version (nvidia.com)
- Install Windows XP Professional from the bootable CD
- Install SP2
- Install NVIDIA chipset drivers (RAID/IDE/Ethernet/Audio)
- Install NVIDIA (Video Card) ForceWare drivers WHQL version
Once all of these device drivers have been installed you can proceed to install device drivers for any other components you might have that aren't listed. Keep in mind that if you want to make use of SLI the system will detect you have two video cards installed and ask for them to be set in SLI mode and reboot. Once the reboot is completed you need to manually enable multi-GPU rendering in the driver tab of the video card. To do that you need to enable ‘Show Advanced Settings’ in the Performance and Quality settings pane first and scroll down to ‘SLI rendering mode’.
The current URLs are http://www.nvidia.com/object/nforce_nf4 ... _6.70.html
but if you are reading this more than a week after I wrote it you should start from http://www.nvidia.com/content/drivers/drivers.asp
instead and go to the approprate sections (Platform - Nforce4 AMD - Windows XP) and (Graphics - Geforce - Windows XP)
If you have the capability you may want to make a ghost image or some sort of full backup of the drive after the windows service pack install but before installing the chipset driver so you can start over more easily if needed. You could even use a spare hard drive to make a test install and play with that for a few days before you finalize your procedure on a bigger hard drive.
I haven't even begun to detail the ASUS software and drivers you might want/need to download and install other than the BIOS. In general it is a good idea to download the latest version and not rely on a CD distribution for these.
In short the hardware is good but you have TONS of bios options and TONS of software options. You might be able to choose defaults all the way through and get away with it but I would plan on it being a learning experience...