How important is a CPU for gaming?

I'm wanting to save as much money as possible on my new computer. If I'm going to be gaming a lot, is it worth getting an i5/i7 over my Intel Core i3 530 DUAL CORE 2.93GHz 73W? I will mostly be playing not-so-demanding shooters and various MMORPGs. How much of a difference will I see if I upgrade to an i5 or i7?
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  1. Well The difference won't be enormous but there will be a difference. Would the new processor be going in a homebuild computer or one you bought from like Hp or something?

    Also, I'm assuming you are sticking with Intel because you want to reuse the motherboard you already have, correct?

    Truth be told, you could upgrade to an i5-750 for $200, but you wouldn't see near the performance increase if you put that $200 in crossfiring/SLIing your current video card instead.

    What is your current video card anyways?
  2. The I3 is a very capable gaming chip, the majority of games won't see much benefit from another cpu.
  3. The cpu is the second most important part in a gaming rig.
    It is pointless to have a cpu that is bottlenecked by, or bottlenecks the gfx card.
  4. If they are not all that demanding, just go with the i3. It is a very capable gaming CPU.
  5. i3 is a good gaming chip, but balance is key. What is your graphics set-up?

    I agree with Touchdowntexas13's comment. You are better off improving your graphics by $200 before upgrading your CPU, but it must remain balanced.

    http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/build-balanced-platform,review-31726.html

    Still an excellent article.
  6. Depends completely on what games you play!
  7. i3 530 is very capable, once ur on the low end side, you should be fine all the way up to 1920x1080, with less demanding games
  8. Let's say that u want play GTA IV or Crysis without CPU...oh. wait, U can't (maybe in the future)

    Now, the i3 is a solid processor but u can't compare it with the i5 or i7 since both are quad core CPUs.

    U can take a look of this articles and see what happen with 2, 3 and 4 cores.

    1- Is Intel's Core i3-530 Fast Enough For Performance Gaming?
    2- Part 1: Building A Balanced Gaming PC for Intel rigs.
    3- Part 2: Building A Balanced Gaming PC for AMD rigs.

    As u can see in the articles, the performance depend of the CPU and GPU not only from one of both. A high end CPU (980x six core) with a low end GPU (ATI 4650) is a bottleneck, or a low end CPU (Pentium IV) with a high end GPU (ATI 5970) is another bottleneck.
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