APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: at least 1 week out, possibly as long as 2 months
BUDGET RANGE: $150-250 tops, BEFORE rebates; prefer $100-200 if possible
USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT (most to least):
-- Gaming: currently Halo CE, Halo 2, SWAT 4, AoE III, BF3, FarCry 1, & Starcraft II, but considering Diablo III, Call of Duty: MW2, and/or Battlefield 4
-- Video conversion (Nero)
-- Watching movies online
-- General office PC work
CURRENT CPU AND POWER SUPPLY: AMD Phenom II X4 970 BE; Thermaltake TR2 750W Modular
OTHER RELEVANT SYSTEM SPECS:
Motherboard: Gigabyte 990FXA-UD3
GPU: Radeon HD 7450; will probably be upgrading the GPU within the next couple of months (likely candidate being an HD 7950 or some other AMD card in that performance range)
RAM: 8GB Corsair XMS3 DDR3-1333 (2x4GB)
Case: Thermaltake V3 Black; standard CPU cooler, 4x120mm case fans (max for the case)
OS: Windows 7 Professional (64-bit)
Hard Drives: WD Blue (1 TB) primary, WD Green (1 TB) secondary
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: *NONE*. I want something available in retail stores -- the local Micro Center is almost right on my drive from home to work -- so no online-only items.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
PARTS PREFERENCES: AMD CPUs only
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe
MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I'm a pretty avid gamer, but I tend to stick with games that I like, even if they tend to be "older", so I don't always rush out to get the newest games when they're available. I'm not looking for absolute top-of-the-line (as seen from the price range), but I like to plan ahead on my hardware so that I'm not buying a new CPU every 6-12 months. Sidenote: I just had to buy a Gigabit Ethernet adapter (the onboard Realtek 8111E just went out literally overnight), so I'm hoping I don't have to replace the motherboard as well. If I do, though, I want to stick with AM3+ mobos only.
Honestly the cpu you have is fairly powerful. i would upgrade the gpu first as far as gaming and movie quality goes. but if you feel that the cpu is the choke point and must go get an fx-8320 or 8350 it would be the best cpu in your budget. for a gpu you can get a 7870 in that budget and do really well with it. around 150 for the 2bg 7870 ghz edition yesterday when i looked.
the r9 270x is a re-packaged 7870 and the hd 7870 2gb ghz edition being on sale makes it a better buy. of the 2 its just what ever is cheaper. if you can get an r9 280x within the budget and find one in stock the go for that.