I am going to be buying a monitor with a native screen resolution of 1680 x 1050. I posted on another forum asking if there would be any point to setting the resolution on games any higher then that (without adjusting monitor settings), and the people there told me no. The best viewing for games and movies is at the native resolution.
I wanted to post at this better, more active forum to confirm that. Also, I wanted to know how powerful of a graphics card am I going to need to be able to run any game at 1680 x 1050 resolution, and run well.
The 9800gtx's are hovering around $200 now, not much more than a 9600gt. I just bought the 9600gt and wished I had waited another month (i already waited two) to spend the extra $40 on a 9800gtx.
However, Ati is looking mighty fine with its new 4xxx series. I would consider checking one of those out.
8800 GTS' are good, however I think your money is better spent buying the newer tech. The GTS 512 mb cards have been able to oc to be on par with the 8800gtx if I'm not mistaken (correct me if i'm wrong!) The 9800gtx is marginally faster, however the 9800gtx's are around $200 too.
Imo, it looks like you want anything above 8800gts performance. So, you will probably be looking at: 8800gts, 9800gtx, 4870. I think the performance goes pretty much in that order with the GTS being the lowest. I like the sounds of the 9800gtx or the 4870. Nvidia's new GTX 260/280 cards are too expensive upon release to even consider those.
Don't worry about pci-e and pci-e 2.0. It's like the agp cards, the pcie 2.0 cards will run fine in 1.0 slots. I have the 9600gt (which is 2.0) in the original pci-e x16 slot. Works fine.
Really, the 2.0 is only double the bandwith running on both sides of the card contacts instead of only one. However, the current tech isn't able to fully utilize that theoretical bandwidth. So, 2.0 or not, you will be fine as long as you have a pci-express x16 slot.