I think it may be time to upgrade my rig. The current system is 2 years old and homebuilt.
Current set up is....
CPU: Intel Quad Core Q9550 (not overclocked)
GPU: ATI 4870x2 2GB
MOBO: ASUS Rampage Formula X48 Chipset
MEMORY: Corsair TWIN2X4096-6400C4DHX (4GB)
PSU: Corsair 1000HX
SOUND: Creative Labs X-Fi Extreme Gamer
OS: Dual boot: Windows XP and Vista 64 Bit
MONITOR: Samsung 27" LCD P2770
Main use of the system is gaming (Crysis MOD), but also some work. Like most people, I do not want to spend $$$ without any meaningful return. On the flip side, I have no hard limit on the upgrade budget.
I was thinking:
-Upgrade the GPU to either an ATI 5970 or NVidia 580 (are these the latest/best cards?). With my current MOBO, my understanding is that I could Crossfire 2 5970's, or just use one 580.
I guess I am less clear if I would get any bang for the buck with a new CPU/Mobo, overclocking the current CPU, new memory, or more of the current memory.
I feel that you'd benefit the most from a new GPU. You already have a good quad core and the right amount of memory; it's really just the GPU that's a little behind.
I'm an Nvidia fan so I would say go with the 580, but Crossfiring two 59xx GPUs would also give you great performance. Some of the guys more familiar with AMD cards may be able to help more. Your PSU can handle both (why do you have a 1 kW? )
The only actual upgrade you could do without a major architecture change ( in which case you might as well just build a new system), new cpu socket or upgrade to DDR3 is the GPU but those X2 cards are so beast i would just try and find another one and make a QUAD-FIRE set-up
I would throw a decent OC on the CPU
Add a couple GB more ram
And get rid of vista lol
The best card choice would probably be, not the 5970, but crossfire 6870's. Great performance for the price. Course that depends on where you live. In the US you could pick up two 6870's for 440$. While the 580 sits at 500$+. I'd think about upgrading your CPU first. Many games actually perform a lot better with newer CPUs. Metro 2033 is an example.
If I were you, I'd upgrade to the close to releasing, Sandy Bridge 2500K which is only 217$ (US) then total up that MOBO/CPU at lets say 350$. Then save up to CF 6870 (which has EXEPTIONAL! Crossfire scaling) http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ATI/Radeon_HD_6870_C... That'd have you set for a while.
Course that's basically an entirely new build. So just upgrade the two 6870's for now.
The cheapest 4870x2 is 300$ off Amazon in the US. Newegg doesn't carry them anymore. And sure that is true... But just because of that info doesn't mean CF was very optimized back then. Compared to the 6870's scaling now. Plus if he ever plans to get the new Crysis he won't be able to play it since the new Crysis will be in DX11. Also, a single 6870 is 220$ while the 4870X2 as I said is 300$... not to mention the 4870x2 was a huge power sucker. And the 4870X2 ran really hot.
But they have the 5850 and 4870X2. The 5870 is a little better than the 6870 you can search the 6870 and look at it. The 5870 practically on par with a 4870X2 for MUCH lower power consumption and way higher availability. The 6870 is like just a tad bit slower than the 5870 so you could just take those results for it.
Yeah the DX11 thing kinda throws a wrench in the mix, and i was looking at econd hand prices because yes the retail price on an X2 is very high, I guess I'm just looking at it strictly from an Raw power and awesomeness factor, my bad