for a chip recommendation I'd recommend getting a homebrew LPC mod chip if you can. See if you can get one with a programmer as well. X-ecuter2 pro won't be out in mass quantities till january/feb (in my opinion) so you'll have to wait a while on that. If you want one next week a homebrew chip is the way to go. Check the Buy, Sell, Trade shop board for deals there.
If you're scared of solder and prefer to wrack your brain with aligning a Matrix/Xodus chip, thats also an option. Although I wouldn't recommend it. Solder is probably much easier.
If you really want to get a lot of good software, I'd recommend investing in a DVD burner as well.