Currently I have AMD Phenom II 955 clocked at 3.8GHz, an MSI 460 HAWK and an Antec 650W PSU. The 460 finally seems to be lacking in a certain popular RPG that came out not so long ago so i feel i need to upgrade to something a bit more powerful.
The GTX570 fits perfectly in my budget (under £300) and I'll also be waiting until the January sales to see what happens with the prices. I was wondering whether the ageing AMD processor will still be up to the job or will it hold the 570 back? (I will be over-clocking somewhat) And also will my power supply be powerful enough?
Not sure yet what 570 I will be getting, but since the HAWK was such a good card I may go for an MSI Twin Frozr III model.
I will be using the same AMD chip until towards the end of 2012 when I plan to move over to Intel.
I probably go on tangents about this way too much, but I think the term "bottleneck" is thrown about way too much (along with "futureproof"). If your CPU isn't allowing your GPU to operate at ~100% usage, you have a bottleneck. To state another way, if the CPU usage is ~100% and the GPU usage is less than ~100%, it's a bottleneck.
I don't think a Phenom II x4 (or any modern quad core at +3Ghz) will hold any single GPU back. Some games are really CPU dependent (someone will probably bring up GTA IV), but if your GPU is allowed to operate at ~100%, you don't have a bottleneck. Upgrading your CPU may net you more fps, but that's still not a bottleneck, as the CPU wasn't holding the GPU back. And even if there is one or two specific examples where a CPU upgrade would net you more frames, in most games you'll usually see more fps with a GPU upgrade.
That being said, MMOs are typically CPU dependent. You still have a relatively strong CPU, so don't upgrade your GPU for this single game if you're already maxing graphic settings (I don't know if this is the case and I haven't played it yet; I'm just throwing it out there). Some people call this a CPU bottleneck, but as I already explained, it's not quite the same thing.
I'm running at 1080p though I do have a 2nd monitor at 1280x1024, not sure how that affects in-game performance though. Good to know my CPU is still fine.
I try to run Skyrim as high as possible whilst maintaining frames above 30 at all times, its more or less on maximum minus the AA. But people have found various tweaks to make it look like less of a console port so I would like to take advantage of these. I would also like to run Red Orchestra 2 on maximum as well as Battlefield 3 once i have that.
Can anyone recommend a model other than the Twin Frozr III or is that fine?
That CPU is perfectly fine for ANY game. A GTX570 is a great card. You will be fine. The ASUS DCII cards are great and are better than OEM, just my card preference. I'd take a stock GTX570 over anything else if it was a budget issue. Just watch it with overclocking an OEM 570, then should only be pushed so far. The ASUS I know has better parts and is equipped for overclocking. The Gigabyte maybe as well. I don't see any issues with your direction.
the new 560Ti does perform somewhat close to the GTX570, I mean it is basically the same card at the same clock with another SM disabled. Honestly, I'd just go for a GTX570, get an OC model that has "better than stock" parts and give it a good OC. It will run like a wild banshee and you will be happy.