I have an "aging" computer that I use in my living for as a media hub and also for gaming on my 55" LED. Lately I have been feeling that my computer is starting to show it's age in regards to gaming requirements and also with processing the 10 gig 1080p video files. My AMD card failed a month ago and have been using my old GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB. What I'm really wanting to ask if you guys think that I need to do an overhaul of my system to the new Intel socket or that I could still get away with the Quad Core and just upgrade the video card/memory.
Well your CPU is still fast enough to handle a moderately fast GPU, though I wouldn't pair anything over $300 with it.
What do you want to do with it gaming-wise? The 8800GTS should still handle a lot of games just fine at 1080p as long as you don't use AA.
If it were me, I'd upgrade the GPU first and then see if I got performance I liked. If I didn't, I would then upgrade the CPU/Mobo/Ram as well
Thanks for the quick reply. Was/still kinda playing Skyrim. Not at the settings I was playing at but still playing. Also play/will be playing the Mass effect 2/3. Along with Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 (whenever that comes out). That's the planned road map for gaming.
You should definitively upgrade your GPU first. If you want all eye candies current games offer you need to get at least 6950 or 560Ti but I would go for 7950 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
You can also clock your CPU little higher most people got around 3Ghz out of q6600. Anyways ebay is full of E8500 for around $80 I know it is dual core but it is clocked at 3.15Ghz stock and you can push it to 3.6-3.8 that will give you more life out of your aging system.
I was playing all those (except Diablo 3, obviously) on an 8800GTS 320 at 1080p until I got my 7970, so I remember feeling the same way about the card feeling its age. I was shocked I could play high settings (no AA) on Skyrim with the beta drivers + skyboost... the 8800 really was an amazing card
Unfortunately, 2 of those games (Skyrim / Starcraft 2) are pretty heavy on the CPU, so you will see benefit from upgrading your CPU as well as your GPU.
My recommendation stays the same, though - to upgrade the GPU first and then see if you like the results and then upgrade CPU/etc if you are unhappy with the new performance. Worst that happens then is that you have to wait a few extra days to get your final upgraded system together. But, you might save yourself some money
As far as a GPU recommendation, I might recommend something like a nice custom 560ti for ~$215:
That should run all of those games perfectly fine from a GPU perspective maxed out.
:edit: Personally, I'd advise against upgrading to an older cpu (i.e., the e8500). If you're gonna spend $$ on the CPU, you should be upgrading to a Sandy Bridge setup. I'd also advise against getting a 7950 on your current CPU. It's GPU overkill for the games you mentioned, especially on an older CPU.