Thanks for the quick replies:
* I'm using ext3
* I downloaded the source from kernel.org, uncompressed it, ran menuconfig, did my thing there, saved it, made a dpkg then installed the dpkg. This is how I've always done it but until recently it was with 2.4 kernels, early 2.6 kernels, and always LILO, now I'm using GRUB.
As far as compiling in my chipset (not as a module) I chose the nearest possible for my hardware setup which is:
Dell OptiPlex 160L w/ Intel 810 board PIV processor, all on board stuff, regular IDE HD.