[Upgrade advice] on graphic card/system overall

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.

Thanks for the advice.

[EDIT] I play on 1920*1080 monitor.
5 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about upgrade advice graphic card system overall
  1. The higher your resolution, the less impact pure clock speed of cpu has on framerate...

    That being said, 'some' cpu scaling still occurs, and having 3 or 4 core cpu still has some impact, but, the video card is still usually the dominant bottleneck if at 1080P resolutions....
  2. 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
  3. Best answer
    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.
  4. Best answer selected by Xabre.
  5. I got a $177 Radeon 5870 deal... So I go with that route (no CPU upgrade yet, I'm too lazy to unscrew the HSF)
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