Advice on a gaming system upgrade

Hi everyone,

I'm looking to upgrade my current system which I built about two years ago using a lot of the "best XX for money" articles here on Tom's hardware.
Currently looking to upgrade my system to be able to run BF3 on High at 1920x1080 (I'm willing to settle for 1600x1050), but also looking to play most other modern games (I.e. Skyrim, COD:MW3. Batman Arkham City) at similar graphics quality and resolution.

I'll also be dabbing into overclocking for the first time..

What I currently have:
Intel Core i3-540 - stock cooler
Mobo - Gigabyte P55A-UD3R
Ram - 2x2Ghz G.Skills Ripjaws DDR3 1333Mhz
Graphics - ATI Radeon HD 5450
Case - Thermaltake V3 black + OEM 450W PSU

After doing a lot of forum browsing and review reading both here on Tom's and also other sites like TechGuru & Hardwarecancuks..

My intended upgrade: (cost ~$500 AUD, roughly ~$500 USD)
most components sourced from:

Intel core i3-540 + Coolermaster Hyper 212+ - planning to overclock to 200BCLK (~4-4.3Ghz)
Mobo - unchanged
Ram - 2x4gb G.Skills Ripjaws X DDR 1600Mhz (so I don't have to underclock my DDR1333Mhz with the overclocked CPU baseclock)
Graphics - Gigabyte Radeon HD 6950 1gb
Case - unchanged (may add some case fans to improve airflow)
PSU - Antec Trupower 750W

I'm hoping this new rig will run BF3 decently, but I do intend to upgrade it further in the future (depending on finances) by putting in a new Mobo + CPU +/- adding a second 6950 in Crossfire.

As my intended upgrade stands, what am I realistically going to be able to expect performance wise for BF3?
Any recommendations where I can optimise performance whilst keeping my budget in the ~$500 mark?
Will my current components allow me to go with my intended upgrades further on down the track (is the PSU sufficienct? I think it is but I'm not entirely sure)?

Thanks heaps in advance for any recommendations.

3 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. The Antec psu is a good choice and when BF3 was first released AMD had a lot of problems with the game which they have since fixed so I don't know what the current fps and settings are for the game with that card. If you plan on a large overclock on the cpu I would look at this cpu cooler;

    ZALMAN CNPS12X 120mm Long Life Bearing High Performance Triple Fan CPU Cooler
  2. Best answer
    for BF3, this will give you a huge boost at all resolutions.

    OC'ing the cpu is a good idea too. though thids wont help in BF3 as it is mostly gpu bound. but for other games, like COD and RPg's, this will definitely help.
    for future upgrades, and CF, i would say to change the platform first. the i3 will bottleneck a CF configuration.

    get the antec 750 only if you are sure you will CF later. if not, get something like a 600W psu and spend the saved money on getting a gtx570.
  3. Best answer selected by TSpec87.
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