I currently have an e5200 processor (overclocked to 3.3GHz, 266x12.5) and an aging Radeon 3850 video card. I bought a crossfire-compatible motherboard with the intention of eventually using it, and I am considering buying a pair of 4770s or 5750s. What I'm unsure about is this: will my modest dual-core processor bottleneck these cards?
Yes, even with that nice overclock;)
What is the monitor resolution, though? At higher resolutions you'll need a stronger card, 'modest' CPU or not.
The 3850 is not the greatest but it's still a powerful piece of kit-are you having any issues? Perhaps a driver/DirectX update is all you need.
I game on an Acer 22" 1680x1050 panel. The 3850 hasn't been terrible, and certainly is still acceptable for TF2 and WoW, but I'd like to be able to confidently play newer games. It was disappointing in Mirror's Edge, Far Cry 2, and of course Crysis.
Even with the overclock you'll be looking at a HD5770/GTX260 class of card at the most, anything more will simply have too much performance to be used with your CPU at that resolution.
As for Crysis, one big help will be to turn the physics down a bit-it uses a LOT of CPU power.
If you want to replay Mirrors Edge and play Batman AA you might be better served with an Nvidia card- both games use PhysX to good effect.