Ethernet cabling questions, who here crimps their own?

I'm looking at buying a spool of ethernet cable. I need a couple GbE-capable long cables by me (the one long cable I own now is a nearly out of spec 100 Mbit wire that's picky about equipment at each end), and I'll probably end up running a wire or two in my parents new house after the walls go up before the sheet rock goes on. I have a few questions for anyone who does more networking work.

  1. I really like the feel of stranded cable. They're much more flexible and only a couple dollars more for a 1000 ft spool. Is there a major technical reason not to go with stranded?
  2. I have some RJ-45 ends and a crimper bought off eBay more than a decade ago. This was long before anything in the consumer space worried about gigabit. Are they still good for it, or has something changed where I should buy new ones?
  3. Over at Monoprice I can get Cat6 550 MHz for $110, or Cat5e 350 MHz for $83. Do I get anything worthwhile going Cat6, like longer cable lengths, less interference, etc? I'm not overly concerned with my cabling being good for 10 GbE whenever that rolls down the pipe in the future, but I would like solid 1 GbE performance for the life of the cable.
  4. Any testing tools to recommend? It'd be nice to have something a little more definitive that I screwed up crimping a cable than plugging it in and trying to get networking to work. Something mobile would be particularly useful, especially if I'm going to poke at a house without power.