C2D E8600 GHz OC to GHz
4 Gigs of DDR2
Was running OK (though showing its age in newer games like BF3) until I think I pushed the GFX card a little too far and it stopped working.
It seems likely that Haswell is going to be a "tock" in Intel's "tick, tock" cycle so any mobo etc. I buy now will likely not be compatible with it.
I can't decide whether to (a) buy a beefy new GFX card now and keep my current set-up, or (b) do a complete upgrade to Ivy Bridge now. (a) will mean I'll be able to play games and then move onto the new architecture, but then the GFX card will be bottlenecked by my current CPU and probably out of date by the time we get to Haswell. The second option means i'll be running at full potential now but won't be able to upgrade when we hit Haswell (in terms of both affordability and comparability). Opinions?
Haswell won't be along for about a year, so if you have that sort of patience then waiting is always going to be better. You could splash out on a decent GPU (680...?) which will still be viable with a Haswell build and probably beyond (no idea of your budget though). If your existing CPU bottlenecks a new GPU, once you upgrade your CPU you'll see additional graphics performance also, which is a bonus.
An upgrade to Ivybridge will give you an up-to-date system, but even once Haswell comes along, it'll still work fine and dandy. The fact your system is still running modern games shows how the PC works well as a gaming platform...the bigger change to affect us PC gamers will be when the new consoles get released. As long as your system can run anything new from that perspective (and an Ivy-based system will) then you're laughing.
If it was me, I'd upgrade fully instead of making do with small step changes, but that's just me.
Eek, a C2D is really getting on at this point, and the GPU is frankly obsolete. That being said, you can keep the rig a little longer by upgrading to a C2Q [8000/9000 series], if you want to wait for Haswell.
Wait for Haswell. Ivy Bridge is only 10% better than sandy bridge and runs much hotter! Haswell will give a huge performance increase and hopefully they clear up the heat issues. At the moment I would buy a new video card and then later upgrade the whole platform to Haswell.
What about getting something like a 560ti now, they are a couple tiers better than your current and in the $200-$250 range, then save your money for Haswell and a 690 (you'll have to save up ~$1,000 for that one!) next summer. Or if you don't want to splurge that much on graphics now or in the future, a single 680 now should carry over just fine, then later as an upgrade to your new Haswell rig sometime in 18 months or so, you can add another 680 and be set!
When's Maxwell supposed to be out, not for a couple years?
The problem with moving up to higher end video cards is that you may be bottlenecked by the old processor. Anyway for gaming a good video card would make a lot of difference on your performance.
One other area that you might upgrade to improve performance is to add an SSD as long as you are not still running XP. Picking up a good SSD like the Intel SSD 330 120GB will give you enough room for your OS and most commonly used applications.