All of these questions (ALL of them) could've been answered with just a liiittle searching.
2) Yes and yes, in that order.
3) Depends. Noobs start with Evox, many prefer Avalaunch or UnleashX.
4) Neither. Your retail games will play fine either way.
If you want to improve load times, running games off the HDD is obviously faster, thus better.
5) If the above questions need to be asked, and are indicitive of the same amount of effort/prep you've put into soldering practice, locating your choice of d0 or lframe, checking up to see if you need to rebuild the LPC, then the answer may very well be "damn frustrating" to "damaging."