Motherboard - abit AN8-SLI
CPU - AMD Athlon X2 64-bit 3800+ (Socket 939, 2.0 GHz)
Memory - Super Talent DDR-400 PC3200 w/Heatspreaders (D32PB1GJ, 2x1GB)
Graphics - XFX Geforce 9800+ GTX Black Edition
OS - Windows 7 RC
Hard Drive - Western Digital Caviar Black 1 TB / 7200 RPM
Power Supply - PC Power and Cooling Silencer 750W Quad (Red)
As you can see, some of the parts of my system are quite outdated (namely the CPU, RAM and Motherboard). What I was wondering was whether or not this set up is holding back my relatively new graphics card, and if it is then it'd be great if you could post the minimum specs for a system which wouldn't be bottlenecking the GPU. Overclocking the CPU is out of the question, taking it up by just 100 MHz takes it up to dangerously high temperatures under stress (over 70 Celsius in OCCT). I'm thinking of maybe going for an i7, but I'm lost when it comes to choosing a motherboard. A Good AMD would be fine too, as I don't want to spend too much. The main thing I use this PC for is gaming, so If it can run Crysis at acceptable speds (~30 fps) then that would help.
What potential budget do you have for an upgrade? Use FRAPS to measure your FPS at 1280x1024 and then at 1024x768, if you dont get a significant increase then your CPU is heavily bottlenecking your GPU.
CPU: AMD Phenom II X3 720 Socket AM3
MOBO:Asus M4A78T-E with Sideport Memory Socket AM3 AMD 790GX Chipset
RAM: any ram with this 4gb (2x2gb) Ddr3 1600mhz Xms3 Memory Kit Cl (7-7-7-15)
HSF: Scythe MUGEN-2 SCMG-2000 120mm cooler
what case you using ? you could get the antec 300 wich is a great case
that comes too £318 an crysis at high acceptable frames
Just upgrading to Phenom II should let you run Crysis with your 9800GTX+ at that res, at least on high but perhaps not very high. Anyway it seems you don't really upgrade that often so by the time you get around to getting a second card it's not worth it. Because of that I say to get a board with a single PCI-E slot rather than spending more money on a crossfire or SLI board when you won't use them. A good 785G or 770 board with some DDR3 Ram and an overclocked Phenom II 720 BE or 550 BE would be the way to go for you.