half inch is standard, thinner (quarter inch) is used when you need a little flexibility, and thicker (three-quarters inch) is used for fire resistance, like on walls that are next to the garage.
To make your drywall installation better insulating, the best thing you can do is NOT use the metal/non-wood and instead use drywall clips at corners. http://www.toolbase.org/Technology-Inventory/Interior-Partitions-Ceilings/drywall-clips-stops, more space is created for insulation, resulting in a more comfortable and energy efficient home. You also get better sound proofing using the clips.
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