5850 is not better than nvidias gtx 470. The 470s run hotter and are more exspensive if you buy EVGA (but EVGA is always more expensive because they are known as the best so your paying for quality and a bit of branding)
The 470's though is known to sli far better than than ATI's counterpart 5850's or 70's for that matter. Also the 470's according to TH are better in higher resolution games and run them at higher fps. Where as the ATI counterparts do better in the lower resolutions than the Nvidias 470s.
In my personal opinion I would have to say if your on a short budget go for ATI but since your budget expands into the 1500 range I would grab an nvidia card and get a higher resolution monitor then sli them if you can pick one up for cheaper later on.
What resolution are you gaming at? A 5850 should be ok for 1920x1080. Going tri-5850 is probably not worth it compared to just upgrading to a couple of 6850s or 6870s (or waiting for the 69xx series).
I think that you should be able to reasonably upgrade your system without throwing away the mobo/CPU/RAM. Perhaps something as simple as a GPU upgrade, new PSU, and perhaps add an SSD. A Phenom II X4 965 is still a very competent gaming processor.
1) Edit your initial post with descriptions, and you will get more and better responses.
2) This looks more like a rebuild and not an upgrade.
3) Assuming your objective is gaming, and, that your resolution is 1920 x 1200(vs triple 3d monitors, or 2560 x 1600 30" monitor), then just get a single great graphics card like the GTX580. Your cpu is fast enough for any game, and your psu can handle it. Multiple graphics cards do not always scale well, depending on the game. And, Nvidia seems to scale better than AMD today.
1) Run your games, but reduce the resolution and eye candy to a minimum. This will simulate what will happen if you upgrade to a stronger graphics card. If your FPS improves, it indicates that your cpu is capable of driving a stronger graphics card to higher levels of FPS.
2) As I recall, reviews of add on network adapters are not worth it. Do some googling there.
3) If money is burning a hole in your pocket, get a SSD for the OS and apps.
explain Sandy Bridge?
Its intel's new socket and CPU's thats getting announced Jan 5th.
Lga 1155. The cpu's should cost right around the same but offer a 10-20% performance increase, the mobo's will most likely be a little more expensive.
Its only like 5 weeks away so I advise anyone spending over 1k to wait and see, at the very worst.. it comes out, but makes current CPU's prices go down a little and you save some money.
I have slow internet because I steal wifi and live on a sailboat so I'm not clicking on all the links sorry lol
haha only thing that could make that funny would have been if you had said the wifi's instead. But being a college student I know how this is, going into coffee shops asking for a cup of water and then sitting down to use their wifi. (Well thats not completely true I do like a good cup of joe, but i bring my own hazelnut blend to drink )
Oh, i do that too.
The boat moves = new wifi hahah. + i bring my netbook up to a place, order coke and sit there for hours on end.
currently right here I have two wifi choices. (btw Caribbean Internet sucks in the first place so stealing wifi from 200ft isn't very fast.)