Another thing some people have done when they first install their new AMD cards, is to turn all the settings up in the CCC. If you turned on Supersampling AA mode, you'll kill your performance in games that are demanding.
Supersampling AA is great and all when you can use it, but you won't be able to use it a lot of games.
Do you know what m/b and psu you have ?
Gamer is correct, your cpu is holding it back.
The original phenom's do not o/c well. Most have their l3 cache disabled because of the tlb bug. Slowing them more. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMD_Phenom
It would be great to OC that CPU to 3GHz, but as a PhI, it will be lucky to reach 2.6-2.8GHz.
What frame rates are you getting? It could be that you simply have reached the limits for your CPU. Any review showing the 6870 will be using a highly OC'd i7 or PhII chip, which is way better then what you have. Best bet is to use what you have, and upgrade your CPU (and mobo if you need to) when you can.
Completely agree. Your CPU is not good enough. First off, the first Phenoms had a TLB bug that implied deactivating the L3 cache. Then the manufacturing process and architecture and the TLB bug didn't allow it to be produced with high clock speeds. Even the ones that came after the TLB bug had been fixed topped out at 2.5 and 2.6 Ghz. And these original phenoms don't even have much L3 cache anyway; only 2MB versus 6MB for the Phenom 2 line. They were not even able to match the Intel Q6600.
If I were you, I'd try to sell that CPU second hand for a few bucks, get rid of it while it is worth something, and buy a fast triple core Phenom II. Get something over 3 Ghz.
You'll save money over a quad, and not lose performance, since almost no games take advantage of 4 cores (Metro 2033 and GTA IV do).
The HD6870 is too good for that CPU. An HD6850 would do the exact same job, so, consider upgrading the CPU, otherwise the extra bucks you spent on the more expensive GPU will never materialize into performance. For now, consider running at a max resolution of 1680x1050 (or 1600x900 is your screen is 16:9), or even 1280x800 (or 1280x720 if your screen is 16:9) for more demanding games like Metro 2033 and GTA IV.
Yes, Phenom II; the Athlon does not have L3 cache, so you wouldn't really see a big benefit going from your to one of those.
Buy a Phenom with all the L3 cache goodness. If you can afford the Phenom II X4 955, 3.2GHz like you said, the better. That's a good chip, and unlocked, so and you can even overclock it to 965 or 970 levels (3.4 and 3.5 Ghz respectively) That will put it up against a Core i5 750/760.
Even at stock it is probably all the midrange performance goodness you need to pair with that graphics card!