Got to tell you there is something wrong with your system than. My Geforce 7600 GT played UT3 on low settings with 20-30 FPS, my 7950 GX2 and 8800 GTS (320 MB) which is really close to what you have MAXED UT3 with 30-40 FPS, haven't played UT3 with my new 4850 but there has to be something wrong.
Ok, I went back into UT, pushed the res up to 1280*720. It runs at 40-60fps. So I guess it was just looking really crap at 960*600. I am still getting some artifacts on the screen, and i notice it when it drops to 40.
I don't think the CPU is a huge bottleneck here. This is not the time or place for a AMD vs Intel grudge match, but a 2.6ghz dual core amd will hold its own against a 2.5ghz Pentium Dual Core (even if it is the worfdale architecture).
Thanks for all the really quick replies, I think I will look at getting a 9600GTX+ as an upgrade.
I think the whole artifact thing is solely on the 7XXX series, EVERY game i ever played i got artifacts on with a 7XXX series.
DONT GET A 9600 GTX, you will have the same performance with that maybe even slightly worse (or slightly better). My Geforce 7950 GX2 maxed alot of games, and when i got my 4850 i didn't notice a lot of differences (except i could max everything and never went below 60 FPS). Dont get anything less than a 4850/GTX 260, or else it wont be a upgrade.
You would be surprised, i promise you that's a huge bottleneck, had a Pentium D 805 2.66 GHZ with a 8800 GTS 320MB and when i OC'ed it to 3.8 GHZ i got 10-15 FPS extra on oblivion and BF2. You basically have the same setup i used to have, if you can oc it to 3.2 you will prob max out your performance.
I think u are better off with the 9800GTX+ because 1st of all its a sli board so no ati here and i think the best card which can offer the performance similar to 4850 is 9800GTX+ and they are in the same price segment...
so as urs is a sli board u can buy a nxt one later and go sli...so dont get confused and go for the 9800GTX+
newegg is having a sale on powercolor 4850
Original Price: $159.99
You Save: $15.00
($124.99 after $20.00 Mail-In
Rebate pdf )
a little better performance then the 9800gtx ATI Radeon HD 4850 Versus NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GTX+ http://www.legitreviews.com/article/731/1/
you probably might need a little better psu ? 500w with at least 30a on the 12v rail or rails
Go with an 750 800+ Quality PSU or you will regret it later PSU's work best at about 75% load and wait on the GPU upgrade if you can till the 3Q the new 45nm GPU's will be coming out then. Check out the PSU calculator. http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jsp and set your TDP cap aging and sys load all the way up. Take what that gives you and add 100w for the future.
X2 5000+ Blk @3.2Ghz
4Gb DDR2 800mhz ram @ 853
8600Gt DDR3 @ 732, 1751, and 770
2 WD Raptors raid0
1 1TB Segate
Powerd By BFG 650W
And I'm running very close to the edge need to upgrade PSU before I get a New card