So after loads of research, I've put together a system (as in I've put a list together) and would like some feedback from the many experts on this forum!
Approximate Purchase Date:Within the next month or so. Budget Range:£750 or so, £800 max. Not sure how this translates into USD though because the VAT (sales tax) here in the UK (20%) skews everything. System Usage from Most to Least Important:Gaming, surfing the internet, watching movies. Parts Not Required:Keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers. Preferred Website(s) for Parts:ebuyer preferred, but can also use dabs or Overclockers. Country:United Kingdom Parts Preferences:Preference is for value for money. Overclocking:Maybe. SLI or Crossfire:Maybe. Monitor Resolution:1680 x 1050 Additional Comments:Aiming for a gaming rig that will be able to play recent games such as BF3, Skyrim, SWTOR, etc, at max settings @ 1680 x 1050, with some sort of upgrade path. Hope to use the system for 4-5 years.
In terms of upgrade path, I was thinking of going Crossfire in about year 2 or so, with my reasoning being that it'll be cheaper to get another HD 6870 on the cheap in 2 years time as opposed to replacing it. The P8Z68 MOBO supports CrossfireX and ATI's website tells me that 650W is sufficient for HD 6870 in Crossfire. However, the second PCIe x16 on the MOBO runs at x4 mode. Will this excessively hamper the graphical performance gains when going Crossfire? Or is this still worth pursuing?
There's the ASUS P8Z68-V\GEN3 which would run in dual x8 in Crossfire but this MOBO is £50 more at £129.99 and I don't know if this is worth it.
If you want to Crossfire, x8,x8 is better than x16,x4; although your resolution should not require Crossfire at all.
I would suggest a 120mm cooler such as the Xigmatek Gaia over the 92mm Arctic Cooling one you have chosen. I had one of those on my old Q9450, and it cooled well enough but had an annoying whine. A 120mm cooler will be a lot quieter.
Edit: Otherwise, the choices look good. The Truepower New is a decent PSU. The only thing I don't like about my 550W version is that both the 4- and 8-pin CPU power cables are fixed, rather than being modular.
I think any Crossfire-ing will be done as part of an upgrade, 2 years or so down the line when there may be more graphically taxing games for this resolution.
Having thought more about it, if I'm buying another HD 6870, it'll only be at least 2 years down the line on the cheap - in which case Crossfire in x16, x4 may not be that big an issue (as the 2nd card would be cheap anyway). I'll probably stick with the P8Z68-V LX.
Found the Xigmatek Gaia and at £16.99 free delivery from Play.com, I'm definitely swapping for this. Thanks for the advice!