I'm looking to upgrade my CPU from an AMD FX-4170 to an FX-8350. Would this upgrade make much of a difference to performance in games? I've heard that GPU's handle most of the rendering so I am not sure as to whether it will be worth it for my gaming build. I don't have much of a budget so currently I am running a GTX480.
To see if your cpu is the bottleneck open GPUz and task manager and play a game. If the cpu is @ 100% usage and the gpu isnt then you have a cpu bottleneck. Also some games do perform better with faster cpu's.
You aren't going to notice much difference by changing processors, your Quad core processor at 4.2ghz is enough processor power to run any game out there just fine, and capable of pushing a must faster video card than what you have now.
Your GTX480, I am going to say this is your biggest gaming hurdle right now. Its was a great card 3 years ago, but it's age is going to be showing with new games. First, I would budget in a new GPU. I know that is more expensive than a processor, but if you are playing "graphic intensive games" and you feel you are not getting enough performance from your machine right now, a newer more powerful GPU is first on the list of upgrades for your system. Especially if you are trying to game at 1080, the GTX480 is simply not up it.
Now, I am not saying don't get the new processor if you are getting it for a bargain dirt cheap deal or something, in the big picture it would be a small upgrade to what you have. But the new processor alone is not going to do much for your games.
Thanks for the input, the GTX480 is a pretty noisy and hot-running GPU anyway. I've looked around on videocardbenchmark.net and the 760 and 670 seem like good contenders. Do you have any opinions on these?
Both are excellent choices. I would lean towards the 670 if you can budget it, its a top performer.
If not, the 760 is a solid choice as well at the price point, and a lot of folks will argue that it is the best value for performance out there right now.
I've been using an Nvidia 660 Ti card for the last 7 months and all i can say is that it was one of the best puchases i ever made. At the time of release, it was 300 $ and considered a sweet spot from all major review sites. The price / performance deal was pretty impressive.
At the time i had just an i3 CPU, and even with that, the card gave me 60+ FPS on Far Cry 3 at HIGH settings, Bioshock Infinite on HIGH settings, Hitman Absolution and Sleeping Dogs, as well as many other major titles. All games running at 1920x1080 resolution. I could even venture into ULTRA settings on all games with FPS in the range of 40 to 45 (absolutely fine for playing!)
So my conclusion is this - the NVidia 660 Ti is a wonderful card. So if you can afford the 670 (jitpublisher said above) then go for it! If the 660 Ti could do these things on an i3 than just imagine what the 670 can do for you!
I've used many card from ATI and NVIDIA over the years but it's only with the Nvidia Keplar (6xx series) that I can say I am fully satisfied for the money i spent