While playing some newer games (meaning Rift when I am in a large raid, and The Witcher 2) I've been getting quite a bit of slowdown and choppiness, and I have come to the realization that it is time to upgrade again. I don't want to build an entirely new setup, so I wanted to ask which of my components are in most need of an upgrade. What I have is as follows:
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E7500 @ 2.93GHz
MB: ASUS P5Q PRO TURBO 775 RT
GPU: XFX HD4890
Memory: 4GB DDR2
I'd like it to be able to run games like Guilds Wars 2 and Diablo 3 when they come out. My budget would be around 300 give or take a hundred. Hope you guys can help me out =).
If you are just looking to upgrade a couple components i would start with upgrading that E7500 to a Quad Core like a Q6600/6700/6800 or even better, a Q9450/9550/9650.
After that, the next best step is to overclock to 3.6 or as close as you can.
My reasoning for the above is that while games run fine on dual cores, they tent to do better with 3 cores. 4 cores usually proves to be at the same performance level as 3 in about 90%+ games.
as for that Video card, it is still a decent card but if you were going to upgrade it, i would only do so if you've upgraded said CPU above and something along the lines of a 5850 or better would serve you best.
You could also consider corssfire for that 4890 but i am not entirely sure how Rift scales with Crossfire, so you would want to look that up. Also, i would not crossfire in another 4890 unless you upgraded the CPU as stated above.
I really think you should take another look at rebuilding. For around $350 (assuming you're in the US and you did say 300 +/- 100), you could get a new core system (CPU/Motherboard/RAM) based on a CoreI5 processor.
If rebuilding, go for an i5 2500k, 8GB DDR3-1600 RAM and whatever P67 motherboard you choose. Then at a later time, upgrade the video card. The setup in my sig works very well with Rift but i also experience some choppiness in intense situations...