I am a heavy gamer playing crysis, cod4, tf2, portal, css, and others. I play at 1440x900
What I would like your opinions on is would it be better to upgrade the CPU to a q6600 or upgrade my gpu to a 9800gtx? Both cost about the same and with the future nvidia price cuts it'll be even cheaper (the gtx 260 will be around 220, would that be better to wait?) I'm kind of leaning toward the q6600 at this point because I'd like to see increased performance in applications as well. I'm also thinking that at my current resolution, a new graphics card wouldn't be the best thing to purchase. Thanks for your opinions and suggestions, they're much appreciated.
If you are a heavy gamer, you really need to upgrade both!
However, I agree with you and say go with the CPU ugrade first. See what the GPU's do as far as price, which I think they will only go down over the next month or so.
TF2, CSS and any other VALVe game will benefit more from a CPU upgrade than a GPU upgrade. And at the res you play a 9800GTX may be a bit much. You could get a 4850/4870 and play much happier with a lower cost too.
9800GTX might be more than you need, but a CPU and GPU upgrade can be worked out with the budget you want for either/or. The quad is a good choice for almost anything; get a card that suits the rest of your budget.
B-Unit; good call on the 9600gt... even a 8800gt(s) would do well at the price points.