A few years ago, I built a new machine, and to be perfectly honest I've been profoundly happy with it. I tend to run games at 1650x1080 with only a little antialiasing, etc. With that in mind, I've tended to be able to run most games I enjoy at the highest settings at a framerate I consider more than acceptable.
I've considered building a new machine in September, but honestly, I'm still happy with what I have. So barring hardware failures and the unforeseen, I was wondering if a GPU upgrade might be sufficient to keep me going for a while yet.
Here's basically what I have, built about three years ago in September:
I've since added an additional 2.5 tb drive to give myself more storage, but honestly ... it does what I want. I'd just like for it to last just a touch longer.
Would updating my GPU do anything in particular? What would you suggest? Obviously, I'm not trying to win the "most FPS ever" race here, just wanting to extend the life of my current build maybe another year to 18 months.
Edit: I forgot to include that I'm running Windows 7 Pro currently and would be willing to spend anywhere up to $325-$350 for a decent new GPU should it be deemed useful. Cheaper would be better, of course, so if we can find something in the $250 range that would significantly extend my system life, so be it.
i would get a 6950 or 560 ti, it will boost you're fps by like 2-3times more then what you have now.
i had a e8400 and gts 250, i recently upgraded to a 6950 and overclocked the cpu to 3.8ghz and it plays most games maxed 1920x1080 will full AA (crysis, metro without DoF, games like CoD run at 150+fps lol)
i just did the same as u are planning, got a gpu upgrade (6950) and soon i will buy a new bulldozer/ivybridge setup and i can just take the gpu and put it in that
I paired my q6600 with a gtx 570. Used to have a 260. Big difference. The 570s can be had for $310-330 (in some cases thats shipping included). A single 570 for say 310ish, and later, 2 of them in a new rig for about $620. That's about $100 more than a 580 and $100 less than a 590, and in sli, beating both of them. I plan to add another 570 in 1-2 months. It seems like a solid performer to me.
If you're thinking of a new system soon you must also be thinking about a higher resolution monitor like 1920x1080 or 1920x1200 so a 570 makes even more sense if you'd like to max out nearly every game with the exception of a few oddballs like crysis 2 and metro 2033. It remains to be seen exactly what skyrim and battlefield 3 are going to require but a 570 is in the price range you specified and should be ready to meet the demands.
I agree with 0ozee in the recommendation to go for a 6950 or 560Ti, but for different reasons.
At minimum, you'd have to move to at least a 6870 or GTX560 to get any truly noticeable increase in performance compared to your 4870. Sure, the 6850 or 550Ti are slightly better than the 4870, and they offer 1GB of VRAM, but it's added benefit would likely only affect your ability to increase AA levels. Despite providing increased graphical detail levels in just about all titles, it wouldn't necessarily translate into a major frame rate increase in every game. The reason it may not offer increased frame rates in all games is the physics calculations within many games are handled by the CPU, which would remain static. If you could manage to squeeze a bit of OC out of the E8400 along with a GPU upgrade as he did, you would see improvements in both frame rate and detail. But without boosting the CPU's prowess, frame rate performance alone within most titles won't improve vastly regardless of the GPU chosen. This is especially true for most titles at resolutions under 1920x1080, which is the point where graphics performance tends to shift from CPU-dependency to GPU-dependency.
Gives you some good benchmarks from the 6950 on up to 590 with sli/xfire configs, power consumption, and noise levels. It's a good read.
I'm also getting the feeling you should just wait. In another month or two, we can probably expect some new AMD cards, maybe in tandem with a bulldozer showing. It's still early yet before the big blockbuster games hit the shelves anyway, so you may want to wait and see where the market settles.
Sometimes I hate shopping for a graphics card. You can wait forever for the next best thing and never pull the trigger. You can get a small upgrade to hold you over that becomes a throwaway in a shorter amount of time. You can go big and buy the biggest baddest card you can afford.
I'm gonna have to stick with the 6970 or 570 b/c like that article concludes, you can pair em up and beat most anything while staying quieter and cooler.