I've tried full ATX boards and the screws don't quite match up on the lower side of the board (meaning it was flexible) so I'd prefer not to go with one again. I've already got a AMD 5770 which will go in this. Is this stuff worth it? The mobo is cheapish compared to the other parts, should I try to make it more balanced? Any thoughts appreciated.
The X6 is a horrible chocie for gaming. It actually has worse performance than the X4 955. If you change nothing else, I'd drop the CPU to the X4 955.
I should also point out that you should think about waiting for Intel's Sandy Bridge CPUs to be re-released. The i5-2500K (the unlocked, overclockable version) runs about $225 (about 140 pounds), and would offer a good 50-100% performance boost in gaming over the X4 955 or X6s. The boards would be slightly more expensive at around $190 (120 pounds), but it's worth it.
Also, 8 GB of RAM isn't needed for gaming. I'd save the money and get a 2x2 GB kit instead. That would allow you to pick up a board with two PCIe 2.0 slots running at 8x/8x, which would allow you to Crossfire later. If you went with the Sandy Bridge CPU, dropping to 4 GB might allow you to pick up the i7-2600K (about $330 or 200 pounds), but the i7 isn't necessary for gaming.
What about changing the CPU to a X4 975 (20 quid cheaper)?
RAM: I'd like the extra 4GB as I do a lot of multitasking with many browser tabs and video programs running. Should have mentioned that!
About Intel: something causes Intel to be very expensive over here. It isn't a matter of simply converting the dollars into pounds, I find they are generally about the same number take 20 quid. So I don't really want to go with them.
I wouldn't buy an AMD CPU more expensive than the X4 955. The X6s above the X4 aren't much more powerful, even outside of gaming. The other X4s (965, 970) are basically factory overclocked X4 955s. Since the 955 is unlocked, you can simply up the multiplier by a little in the BIOS and get the same speed for less. You probably don't even need an aftermarket HSF.
Even with the added cost of Intel, I'd still go with Sandy Bridge. The CPUs are absolutely phenomenal. The i5-2500K is nearly equal to the i7-980X (a $1,000 hex core), while the i7-2600K easily beats the 980X. And that's without overclocking. Both SB CPUs can easily reach 4.0+ GHz without much effort.
A budget I consider is 600$ US. You could try out the 600$ budget build in my siggy and I'd consider that a budget build.
Mad is on the spot with the 955's. After the 955 no point in getting any higher. The rest are just higher clocked versions of the 955. And the 1055T is the best value hex since the rest are just higher clocked hex's of that. The 975 actually has a huge power consumption vs the 955.
That's pretty much the gist of the issue right now. The problem Intel had with the SB chipsets is that the first SATA ports' performance degraded over time. Intel estimated that this problem would only affect 5% of released boards. This issue would take an estimated 3 years to develop.
April is when Intel has stated that they'll release a revision. Of course, I expect that a fix will be out before then.
^Horrible idea. LGA1156 boards and CPUs add about $100 over AMD, and you don't get much more performance. The i5-760 gives around 10-15% more performance than the X4 955. The i5-2500 gives you at least 30% more performance than the i5-760, all for the same price.
^Not necessarily. There are ATX H67 boards with multiple PCIe 2.0 slots.
However, I agree that H67 isn't the best idea. You'd only want to get an H67 board if you weren't going to use a discrete video card. The main benefit of the H67 is that it's able to use SB's integrated graphics, but you can't overclock the CPU with the chipset. P67 boards aren't priced that much different than the H67 ones, so you wouldn't really be saving a lot of money that way, except for the $15 you'd save by not getting the "K" version of the i5-2500. The difference between the "K" version and the non-"K" version is that the "K" CPUs are unlocked, which allows you to overclock. Since H67 doesn't let you overclock, it's pointless to by the unlocked with it.