Hey all, my apologies if this is in the wrong forum. With tax returns on the way I am tempted to upgrade my system. I built it last January, with a lot of help from the Tom's forum, and think it is fairly future-proof/upgradeable.
I'm running Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit. The games I've played most often lately are Starcraft 2, Fallout 3, Civ 5, and King's Bounty Armored Princess. I usually have iTunes and Windows Media Player running, and use Office 2007 for school (mostly Word with some light Excel). I tend to have at least half a dozen tabs open at once in Firefox.
I don't have any complaints about my system, but there are a bunch of games coming out this year that I want to be able to play at as high settings as reasonably possible. I do enjoy having an up to date rig and am trying to balance the desire to have shiny things with getting bang for the buck.
Currently I have an i5 750 Lynnfield with 2x2GB memory and an 8800GT video card. My mobo supports SLI/Crossfire but just to keep things simple I would generally prefer to get a better card than another outdated one.
I'm interested in getting rid of my 2x2 memory sticks and upgrading to 2x4. My mobo has 4 slots with a max of 16GB. From what I've read it's not that noticeable of a difference, but most of the articles seem to be from a year ago. My XP machine went from 256MB of memory at the start to 1.5GB by the end so I'm assuming that as the OS matures the amount of RAM needed increases a ton. Also, the current memory is DDR3 1333 speed, but my board supports 1600. My understanding is that a non-oc'd i5 CPU won't gain from using the 1600 speed RAM, but my mobo also supports i7's and I could see myself installing one of those as an upgrade next year. Here is the memory I am considering:
EDIT: Newegg is currently running a promo for $15 off the DDR3 1600, making it a $5 price difference. For that kind of pocket change I'm willing to get it even if I won't see any actual benefit until I pop an i7 some time down the road. The special ends in twenty minutes so I have it added to my shopping cart, but will hold off for a little bit and check back for replies before pulling the trigger.
Here are the parts I currently have:
Video Card: 8800GT 512MB I bought it used from a friend a while ago and forget the brand off the top of my head. I'm generally happy with it, but the 5770 seems like a pretty good bang for the buck (around $130 is where I usually see it) and supports DX 11. I have a 1080p monitor so I'm assuming that in the next handful of months I'm going to need at least that much power to get new games to run close to their potential.
Also.... While I have no complaints about my current PSU (It is more powerful and amazingly quiet compared to my previous one) there are a swarm of comments saying that it burned out after a year (Which is how long it has been running).
My impression of electronics has always been that if they're gonna fail, they tend do it within the first few months. So I'm confused by the fact that there are so many that are having it fail almost exactly a year. I suppose the smartest possible upgrade would be for me to get a new PSU, but it is also the least "fun" option, so I'm tempted to try to ride it out.
Looking to spend about $200? A new GPU is all you need for good gaming @ 1920x1080.
Going from 4GB to 8GB or upgrading from DDR3 1333 to 1600 or higher not recommended.
You won't see enough improvement to be worth the upgrade cost.
What's been holding you back is that 8800GT and, IMO, going from 8800GT to HD 5770 is not enough to match the quality of your other parts. Best Graphics Cards For The Money: January 2011
@ $185 Radeon HD 6850 or GeForce GTX 460
Great 1920x1200 performance in most games
Looking back over your thoughts I have to say I don't see any advantage to you even considering an upgrade to any i7 CPU. In another 2 years out, maybe a CPU/MB upgrade might make sense. But you have a great CPU and it's well suited to all the things you want to do.