Hello, I'm new here, I'll try to make this concise and to the point. Please give your opinions!
I was hoping for some advice upgrading my gaming PC. (I would like to be able to play games like tf2/mw2/global agenda/Dragon Age: origins max settings 16xAA) at 60+ frames per second. Video rendering + Frapsing is also something I'd be doing. And overclocking =)
I currently have:
e6600 oc@ 3.15 Ghz stable
p5n32-e SLI Plus motherboard
Corsair xms2 DDR2 4x1GB ram
2 x 8800GT in SLI
1kw Antec Quattro PSU (Overkill, I know)
Windows Ultimate 64bit
[edit: 1920 x 1200 resolution monitor]
I'm really not sure what to upgrade. In TF2 it seems I am CPU limited with lots of players, and in other games shadow quality / Anti Aliasing and texture resolution can become the problem with slowdowns.
mobo + cpu
Basically I have read in a fair few places that my motherboard (p5n32-e sli plus) will NOT work with 45nm quads - not sure how true this is. But I would like to upgrade to quad core, and I have read that the Q6600 is not much of an upgrade to my E6600. Also I know my motherboard sucks at OC'ing quads. Should I get a new mobo? What would a good SLI option be (should I keep my current cards)?
I realise the 8800GT in SLI is good (comparable to gtx 260) but I would kind of like to upgrade to really max out shadow/aa/textures, although should I consider waiting for mid-range DX11 cards at this point?
Also is there a general consensus on the best/coolest/most silent PC case that would fit anything( like large graphics cards)? My case at the moment is very noisy and collects a lot of dust.
Money isn't really an object but I would like to upgrade while not going over the top obviously ^^ (I am considering i7/ddr3 mobo - anyone know around how much this would cost me?)
I advice an antec case, specifically P183. please look into it. <--- I keep reccomending that, thats why ppl annoyed with me, but nobody listens. just look into it, read some reviews, its really a very good, very silent and very well performing series of cases. (i have mini version of that)
im also concerned about your graphics, why would you keep, just get one from the newer series, possibly something ATI, (dx11 support).
these cards will perform more than good enough for those purposes though, you CPU would definitely be looked into for an upgrade. (pretty sure its bottlenecking)
This is a tough question because your motherboard only supports sli and the outdated lga775 cpus. if i was going to recommend an upgrade it would be to go either to a core i5 or a phenomII x4. this would give you some upgrade-ability in the future instead of dumping money into a system that has a limited life left as a high end build. If money is no object (within reason obviously) part out your pc on ebay as soon as you can and use that money to fund a new i5 or phenom II build. Personally i would go for the phenom because we know that socket will see new cpu architectures while the future of intel's lga1156 isn't so certain. phenom IIs are not the fastest CPUs at the moment, but they are plenty to play any game and only fall behind in synthetics and workstation applications. As a benefit the entire system will be a bit cheaper (amd mobos are generally a bit cheaper).
To mas out games i would reccomend something along these lines:
cpu: 955BE - $167
Mobo: msi 790fx-gd45 - $100
Ram: 2x2gig around $110
GPU: 5870 - $390
Case: COOLER MASTER HAF 932 RC-932-KKN1-GP $150
I have this case and its dead silent, huge and has a great layout. wouldnt buy anything else, especially for the price.
You will obviously need a hard drive or you can reuse it. A good CPU cooler would be about $40-$50. You can reuse your beefy ass power supply.
This is what I would do if I were in your shoes. You can get 300-400 for your computer parts with no problems. I wouldnt go I7 simply because in gaming there is no real tangible gain (unless maybe you run dual 5970s?) but at that point youre spending 1200 on gpus alone so money is really no object and that would be "over the top".