I'm planning to upgrade my system. Currently I have Core2Duo E8400, coupled with Radeon 4850 512MB, 4x1GB memory (OC-ed to 4-4-4-12, DDR2 800), Asus P5K mobo (sucks, I know). Primary use is high-end gaming (well, can't say high-end anymore right now). This system is 2.5 years old and I want to do some upgrade.
Several upgrades path that I've considered:
- Overhaul the system (change to i7 or Phenom II + Radeon 6950. If I do this, I have to dump my entire box due to socket incompatibility)
- Replace Radeon 4850 with Radeon 6950 *AND* replace Core2Duo with Core2Quad
- Replace only Radeon 4850 with Radeon 6950.
Upgrade budget is less than $500.
I wonder if option #3 would give me a beneficial performance gain over the money I spend on upgrading graphic card, since that's my most favorable path and the least cost. Dunno if the dual-core will cause a bottleneck in the overall performance.
I have almost the exact same system (See my sig), just no overclock, and a smaller resolution monitor.
I'm currently planning a ~$750 replacement system, working on a Sandy Bridge 2500K or a Thuban 1090t. I'm waiting to see how the 2500K does.
A recent tom's article of 20 popular games suggests an average of 2.5 cores in use, so an update to a quad is highly recommended. Several recent games run best on at least 4 cores: Final Fantasy XIV, GTA 4, Metro 2033, Civ V, Starcraft II, etc.
for $500, the best option will probably be to get something like a GTX 570 or 580
Out of those options, I think you'll get the best performance boost from an upgrade from a dual to quad core and the 6950 upgrade. plus, having a better CPU will just make your everyday computer use more enjoyable.