I haven't built a custom desktop in, probably, 6 years now. I'm totally comfortable doing doing so, but a lot has changed since then and I find myself completely overwhelmed by all the available information. That's why I'm here, so thank you for any suggestions in advance.
What I would really like to do is upgrade, or completely overhaul, my current desktop to be a nice gaming machine, one that will last a while.
Although I'm only an intermittent game player, I play a lot when I get the chance. These are the games I keep comming back to (in no particular order):
I'm sure Mass Effect 2 will soon be commanding a lot my free time as well.
WHY I WANT TO UPGRADE:
My current desktop, the one whose parts I listed under "MY CURRENT DESKTOP" plays all of the above games just well, but not great. It really struggled with Assassin's Creed on even medium settings. It will play Mass Effect and Fallout 3 on high settings, but chokes (thus ruining the experience) in the most intense scenes. I'd really like something that could max out these games (1920 x 1200, highest quality settings) and have room left over for the future.
Also, it was work machine that was replaced recently and that I got on cheap. Physically I think it was well taken care of, but I know it grinding away on huge databases and statistical analyses damn near 24/hrs a day. I have to believe that would wear a machine down over the years.
+1 on belial2k's suggestion, it would probably be the best results for the least money. If you don't want to SLI, the only other viable option would probably be an ATI 5870. And if you are looking for an overhaul more than an "upgrade", there is always the i7 path, but you will have to change CPU, MB and RAM ... plus the GPU or else the gaming performance would probably close to the same.