It's been a few years, and I'm looking to upgrade. I use my computer mostly for gaming.
I'm thinking of upgrading to an i5-3570K + ASRock Z77 Extreme4 mobo, coming to about $300 at MicroCenter. Will I get better performance in games if I upgrade to a Phenom 970 with a new graphics card instead?
The 970 costs around $130 with tax on Newegg, so that leaves me with $170 for the GPU (I'm thinking of a Radeon HD 6870).
My current system:
Athlon II X4 635 at 2.9GHz (stock) (cooling: Corsair A70)
Radeon HD 4850 1GB
4GB DDR3 RAM
Antec BP550 Plus 550W
1TB 7200RPM hard drive
NZXT GAMA case
I probably won't have much headroom with my PSU, but I would like to overclock at some point as well.
For gaming I would definitly go with Intel. Clock for clock both the Intel Sandy Bridges and Ivy Bridges are going be faster than the Phenom II. Also I haven't looked but AMD has stopped making the Athlon and Phenom II processors so they might be hard to find. I wouldn't bother with the new Ivy Bridges I would go with the Sandy Bridges. Ivy Bridges only gives about a 10-15% performance increase with better graphics. The better graphics aren't going to matter because as a gamer you're using a dedicated video card. Ivy Bridges also runs hotter than the older Sandy Bridges especially when overclocked. IMO it's not worth it.
Yes it definitly will. The 4850 was released a pretty long time ago and things have changed alot since then. How much would you want to spend on a video card? I would go with either the new 600 or 7000 series, as for which one to get that will depend on how much you want to spend.
its always better to upgrade the cpu first then upgrade the gfx to avoid bottlenecks. but in this case the cpu change and gfx card would give more out the box performance.
but i would still get the intel and use the 4850 until i could afford a very decent gfx card to pair it up with.
the 4850 may well be old but its not quite minimum requirements for todays high end games. so will allow you to play games like bf3 all be it at limited fps and rez.
then 1s you have the new setup complete you will be able to get 200-250 back for your old system in another case with a cheap psu...
If u have a microcenter near u... by all means go there and get it. Substantially cheaper CPU's then everywhere else but buy the rest of the stuff online... They mark up prices in their stores as they expect you to go "OMG CPU IS SO CHEAP! Lets buy more!" ...
But in terms of raw performance for gaming right now... just grabbing a higher end card and upgrading to a 970BE would be better than a new build with the same GPU.
Thanks again for the replies. I've decided to upgrade to a 3570K after seeing some nice YouTube footage of modern games with a good CPU and a 4850 (Witcher 2, Shogun 2, Battlefield 3, and some others). It should be fine for me for the next year, at least until I save some more money for a better graphics card.