personally i would buy a Q9550.. It will play all the games you want and wait for Sandy Bridge to come out at the end of the year, Also AMD has just released the AMD 6 Core processor which will be worth a look at. It seems to be on par with a 920 i-7..
Sandybridge is a great leap forward to current tech and to save you mucking around and installing a new os.. You will need 800MHz ddr 2 btw to make the Quad work well.
A new video card a 5000 series will work in the new systems..
Were only talking 4-6 months away so for the intirim go for a quad 9550 or a e8500 which will speed it up.
My recommendation... You will be better off in the long run going with the i5 750 build over upgrading to the Q9550, if the price difference is acceptable. The Q9550 is the best CPU for the LGA 775 socket in my opinion and is plenty strong enough for your needs... http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/50?vs=109
Your GPU purchase is dependent on your gaming resolution. If you are playing (or plan to play) at 1920x1080 or higher, the 5850 is your best option, as it will provide the best performance. If you are gaming less than 1920x1080, the 5770 is your best option.
Thanks for all of your replies, I'm leaning towards the q9550 or the e8400 now - I know that Bad Company 2 takes advantage of quads now, so I'm assuming new games will start going that way too?
I haven't heard about putting in 800MhZ RAM for quads... My MB supports 1333FSB (333MhZ x 4) so wouldn't the 667Mhz RAM be bang on the right speed (333 x 2)?
Also tecmo34 is right I have checked and my MB should run quads with a BIOS update.
I would have liked to do some overclocking but my RAM is at its limit at stock, and with DDR2 RAM so expensive nowadays I wouldn't want to spend out on DDR2 800Mhz when I could go DDR3 for a bit more...
Can anyone clarify that I need 800Mhz DDR2 to run a q9550? If so I would probably just put the money towards i5.
I game at 1680x1050 so I will go 5770 - thanks for this.
Your 667 ram will be fine, I say get the 9550 or any other intel quad and a decent cooler and overclock it, I know your mobo can OC. Then start saving money for the next best thing when you cant game on a quad anymore at the required settings you like.
Price difference between the two options is £100-£150. So all else being equal are the performance benefits of option 2 worth up to £150?
I am willing to spend money on either setup and a 5850/5770 (another question!), but only if it offers "bang for buck".
I realise gaming is largely GPU orientated but I want to play Bad Company 2 and the new GTA, both of which as far as I am aware, quite CPU dependent.
I'd say if your looking for "bank for your buck" definitely get the 5770 which is £100 compared to the 5850 £187, and the 5770 can definately max out Bad Company 2 with maybe only AA turned down a bit. Plus if you ever want to get another 5770 for crossfire you'll be looking at 5870 performance for only £200