CPU - Intel E5200 @ 3.33 Ghz ( 266 fsp ) but i also hit 3.5 Ghz ( LGA 775 )
Motherboard - Gigabyte GA-EG41MF-S2H
Video - Assus HD 4870 stock speeds ( I over-clocked it , but very very very little gains in games , about 2-4 fps )
Memory - 3 x 1Gb Kingmax ( 800mhz ) I keep the 800mhz by changing the ration FSB:MEM
Monitor - Samsung 22" ( 1900x1080 )
Most games top up around 60 fps , like Eve Online , but some new ones like Warhamer 4000 Dawn of War Chaos Rising , Supreme Commander , Starcraft 2 barely crawl with reduce details.
The question is , what should I upgrade first , the platform ( LGA 1156 ) CPU + MOTHERBOARD + MEM, or the GPU ?
Purpose of the computer : Gaming , gaming and then gaming.
Date of purchase : Around December .
Budget : I hope I can get my hands around 500$ until then.
Country : Romania
Shops : it doesn't matter I will take care of that , but usually here prices are increase by 25% from the ones from USA.
The games you suggested that you have problems with are all RTS which benefit more from the CPU horse power than the GPU. I have the same GPU as you and I can play SC2 for example at mid-high details at 1920x1080 at 40+ FPS. The difference is that I have a Q6600 as CPU OCed to 3 GHz. For me the next logical upgrade will be the GPU into a 6xxx series (I also live in Romania).
If you like RTS games in general I suggest getting a better CPU (AMD for cheap good quad) or 1156 platform and a mid 6xxx series GPU. If you can't afford both go for the CPU.
Since its around December would suggest you wait for one more month for the Sandy Bridge to come out check out the prices and the platform that they are on and then upgrade. But as of now, if you are getting decent acceptable frame rates, why bother!
For SC2 I have 60 fps ( at the start of the game ) on medium, but very reduce fps in high-very high , that sounds to me like a GPU limitation ( lower details - resolution improving FPS , means GPU bottleneck ) but I will consider a CPU upgrade .
My computer has horrible minimum fps in WH4k ( 11-18 fps in-game benchmark ) , Crysis @ 1280x720 High Settings ( 10-11 Fps minimum ) and other examples.
Of course I will wait to see the prices around that period ( maybe somebody can tell me when is the best time to buy cheap around the beginning of the year ).
I was thinking of a discussion around CPU vs GPU upgrade , which pays better in terms of FPS for my next upgrade.
PS. I saw a thread around the forum where a guy had the same CPU (@ 3.8 Ghz ) and was pushing his money for a HD 5870 , any piece of advice ?
For RTS, its mostly CPU that is most important. But the GPU always gives a overall better visual experience. For me, i would say Jan to Feb would be the best. The new prices always take a little time to settle down. Launch prices for Intel are a little high always! I am guessing prices to be around the $400 for the Sandy Bridge as the good i7's now cost around $300.