I need some help deciding on what would be best to upgrade my current build. I'm currently using a Intel E6850 dual core OC'ed to 3.4ghz, along with a MSI GTX 260 Twin Frozr and 4GB of G.Skill DDR3 1333 ram all on a cheap non SLI Gigabyte motherboard. Now i know my processor is ancient (from a older SLI 8800 build from 08) but I'm hard pressed to decide what should really be replaced. I know that upgrading to a i5 or i7 would be the logical thing to do but thats simply too expensive for me right now. Should i keep the CPU and upgrade to something like a GTX 460 or keep my 260 and swap my dual core out for a quad core? and more importantly, which one of those choices would be the most cost effective?
That would depend on what performance issues you currently have. If lowering graphics settings and/or resolution improves your frame rate significantly, then your first upgrade should be your GPU. A GTX460 is not a substantial upgrade from what you have; you'd want a GTX560Ti, HD6870, or HD6950. Even if your current CPU bottlenecks it somewhat at lower settings, you'll be able to use it in your next build, so you won't have wasted your money.
If lowering resolution and/or graphics settings does not show much if any improvement, then your CPU is the current bottleneck, and you should save your money until you can upgrade to Sandy Bridge. Getting a quad-core S775 chip is not going to offer enough improvement to be worth the money you'll spend on it.
Edit: Before upgrading your GPU, make sure your PSU is up to the job. You'll need 500W-550W for any single GPU. A quality modern PSU has full range active PFC (no little voltage switch) and some level of 80+ certification for efficiency. Seasonic, Antec, Corsair, XFX, and Enermax/LEPA are among the better brands.
Thanks for the reply, i had doubts that going to a quad core (with the more expensive ones being nearly 300 dollars) would be worth the money seeing as how i do plan on building a newer system sometime in the future and that i could just spend that money on a vid card that can just be used in a new system. Would you recommend a certain GTX 560? As for my PSU, i have a Corsair 600W so that shouldn't be a problem.
yeah, factory OC of GTX 560ti are SO FAST, if you can get a factory oced one, (MSI, Gigabyte IMO have nice ones) they reach standards of the GTX 570 (can't find that site again) (but bear in mind a 570 OCs aswell...)