The other way to look at it is to see how long it is before you're likely to upgrade the rest of your system - the most important factor being your monitor....
If you're currently running anything 19" or less (1280x1024) or (1440x900ws) on most monitors, then there's not a massive amount of value in going for a super-duper graphics card, I have a 4670 running 2x 19" monitors fine for most things at the moment.
If however you can foresee yourself upgrading the rest of your system (or the monitor) in the near future, it makes no sense to buy the bare minimum graphics card and upgrade again in a few months.... One thing, if you *do* buy a monster graphics card, make sure your PSU can handle it.
For your resolution, you won't see a major bottleneck unless you play CPU limited games(like WIC etc.)
GTX 460 is a great choice for your resolution, but i would recommend going with the 1GB version, because resolutions like yours benefit from the extra memory especially with AA/AF turned on.
Thanks guys, so my estimates weren't too far off. I knew getting a 5850-level card was overkill, but I thought a GTS 250/HD4850/HD5750 level card wasn't enough for my needs. So if I'm upgrading I'll probably get a 5770 or GTX 460 768 MB. I wish I could get a 1GB GTX 460 but the price difference here is quite huge.
Maziar, do you not think a GTX 460 is going to be bottlenecked by a E6550 at 2.8? I wouldn't even suggest a GTX 260 let alone a 460.. not without a much better clock speed or a new CPU.
It depends on the games and resolutions, for a resolution like 1920x1080 and with AA/AF turned on, the game becomes more dependable on VGA,so it will be fine, however like i said in very CPU limited games like WIC, it will be a bottleneck.
If the price difference is huge,then stick with 768MB,its much faster than 5770.
I'd just like to put a +1 to everything that Maziar has said.
I'd also like to add that the difference between the 1GB version and the 768MB version of the 460 is not just the memory amount. The 1GB version is faster because a few specs are higher: http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-r...
The card also performs accordingly against the 768MB version. Not to say that the 768MB version isn't still good value and a good card though.
Everyone is spouting "bottleneck here" "bottleneck there"
The CPU you have is excellent at 2.8GHz. It performs about the same as a phenom II x2 at 3.0GHz. (I'm saying that for my own reference as I am more in tune with AMD's products performance). The speed of each core is not a problem. But 2 cores will become a problem in the future. It already will be in games like Dragon age, FSX, GTA4 and BFBC2.
So I guess that is to say that in more CPU intensive games like those, the CPU could be a problem. But certainly not to the extent of making the game perform so badly that a nice powerful GTX460 wouldn't be worth the cost.