Please help me determine if I need an upgrade.

Dear Community,

I am currently running Phenum II X2 550BE, unlocked to Phenom II x4 B50. Overclocked to 3.5Ghz.

I am also running an ASUS M4A7 790XTD EVO AM3 motherboard that allows me the above.

Unfortunately, my stepping is C2 and therefore the CPU I have has a terrible Memory Controller. Therefore I am running G.Skill ripjaws 2gb x3 dimms instead of x4 at 1600MHZ.

I feel that It is time for a general upgrade in terms of my graphics card (cureently HD5770) and i was thinking potentially a gtx670 and then realised that I would probably need a better CPU and ability to use all 4 of my ram sticks.

I pondered about what i would actually require as mostly I use the PC for gaming and Entertainment. Mainly on 1080HP resolutions.

I would like the know the following;

Do I need an upgrade on my CPU at this time? If I upgrade to the GTX670, will the older CPU hold back the GPU?

If I do upgrade, I want to ensure I future-proof myself for the next 2 years minimum. I am considering at this moment both Sandy and Ivy i5 and i7 k editions and overclock to at elast 4.2Ghz speeds with my 4x 2gb DDR3 ram sticks at 1600mhz with 8-8-8-24 timings, but to determine the one I will select I need to know the difference between the two which I am researching this moment.

Do you think for hard gaming, with maxed out ultra settings, an i5 would be sufficient? I am not entirely interested in decoding or rendering and if I do use it I dont care about the render times, primarily I want to achive high fps rates and ultra settings with no stuttering in games. I am looking to play Planetside 2 and Guildwards 2. Further, conisder I will most likely be getting a GTX 670, or any suggestions for upgrades/downgrades.

Remember its only for 2 years as I know technology depreciates fast, I am willing to push this system to harder limits even if it means the life will be cut shorter (I dont like the concept of going standard speed to make my chips last 5-10 years).

Other info:

I have an Samsung 830 SSD
Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB HDD

NZXT Case, dont kow the specific type but I think its a full tower, its massive and has plenty of room and 8x 120mm fan slots.


I have read that IB CPUs use cheap thermal paste under the heat dispenser, any chance I could buy a chip that has the heatdispenser separate from the DIE? I saw a picture of an OEM model?
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More about please determine upgrade
  1. Anyone out there?
  2. The usual upgrade for gamers is the graphics card. Certainly a GTX670 would be a wonderful upgrade.

    But, your cpu may limit how much of the potential you will see.

    Run your games, but lower your resolution and eye candy.
    If your FPS increases, it indicates that your cpu is strong enough to drive a better graphics configuration.

    You could always start with the graphics card first, and do the cpu part later.

    If your cpu budget is in the $200 range, then the 3570K is as good as it gets for gaming, and looks to be good for some time.
    The 3570K actually runs cool. It is only when attempting maximum overclocks with high voltages that heat becomes an issue.
    With a fair air cooler 4.3 is very easy with voltages on auto. I would push for that.

    sandy and ivy bridge performance is not impacted by ram speeds. 1600 DDR3 1.5v ram is all you need.
    Read this:
    It is not clear to me what ram you now have. Your timings suggest 1.65 or 1.8v ram which I would not use.
    Ram is cheap, fortunately. Regardless, you will want to verify ram compatibility once you have picked a specific motherboard.
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