On sweeteners: Use any sweetener you like, even sugar. I see no need for sugar. I like Splenda, usually. Some adults can tell the difference, but my kids can't. They get enough sugar elsewhere...
On Splenda: One Splenda packet roughly equals one tbsp of sugar, as far as sweetness goes. Use any sweetener you like. I prefer the Splenda packets because they have hardly any maltodextrin, where the Splenda Granular contains 1.5g of carbs per tbsp. Not a lot, but it's still "sugar" where I don't want it.
On crusts: I love graham cracker crusts, but they are a dime a dozen. They are easy. If you'd like to use graham cracker crust, go for it. In any of my recipes, you can use sub the shown crust for this one...
Graham Cracker Crust Recipe
1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 teaspoons sugar
Combine crumbs, sugar, and butter.
Press into bottom of the spring pan.
Hmmmm... prebaking the crust? Prebaking the crust does make it a bit crispier. Some like that, some don't. I'm torn. I like it both ways. I also like a thick crust that's moist. The best and most decadent crust is a doubled up graham cracker crust recipe, not prebaked.
Baking Times: Scour the internet and all your cookbooks, and you'll see a huge range of cooking times. 20 minutes to an hour! But, the temperatures and ingredients are basically the same. What gives? Don't know. I've tried mine at 50 minutes and 20 minutes. Basically the same, you just have to wait longer. What's the good news? Cheesecakes aren't picky. Especially if you top them with a sour cream topping to cover any cracking in the surface.
Water Baths: I guess if you want a tall and perfectly uncracked cheesecake, try a water bath. Also, try someone else's recipe.