Advice on Gaming system upgrade

Im looking for suggestions on getting some more Horsepower for the new games, specifically Bad Company 2, Just Cause 2, and newer games. My system does ok now, i can run pretty solid 50-70fps in MW2 and around 40-50 in BC2 at 1680 medium settings. Even with an ok framerate im noticing some serious performance hits (game lag etc). Especially when I attempt resolutions above 1680. Ive tried a 5770 1gb card and it didnt help much compared to my xfired 4850's. I have been advised that my cpu may be the bottleneck. Someone advised I keep same mb and gfx cards and grab a Q9550 cpu and even overclock a bit. I dont have much $$$ to spend, so I want to make sure Im getting what I need with the money. Is this all i need for now, do i need to upgrade my vid cards and get a 5850/5970 as well? I was hoping just one of the upgrades would be enough....although i know how that goes. Need some expert advice.

I currently have the following:

Asus P5QPro with an E8400 CD2 3.0mhz
4gb DII800 Ram
2X Asus EAH4850 512mb
CoolerMaster HAF 932 case
Windows 7 64 bit
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  1. There isn't a single upgrade you're going to find for under 500$ that's going to make an appreciable difference.

    If you've just got the upgrade bug then consider throwing in an SSD. While it won't improve gaming other than load times it does make the entire system snappier if run as your primary OS drive.

    You could try upgrading your hsf and getting that e8400 up to 3.6-3.8 which would also help.
  2. Of course the 5770 wouldn't improve performance above dual 4850s. The dual 4850s have about as much power as a single 5850. That said, you may want to check out your actual performance (not FPS), as dual 4850s should be able to play fairly well at 1900x.

    Have you overclocked the CPU? If not, I would do buy a Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus ($35) and overclock. That should get a few more FPS, depending on the game and resolutions.

    As far as replacing the GPUs go, you would need to get at least the HD 5870 to see any improvement. That's $400+ right there, so from the sounds of it, you don't really want to spend that much.
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