The graphics card is the primary upgrade for games. Even if the CPU is slow (core i3 is fast), you would see an improvement. The Radeon HD 6770 is pretty powerful for 1280x1024 resolution so I don't think that's really your problem either.
You should decribe what type of slow down you are experiencing and what games you are playing.
Your problem might be driver related. If you installed an updated graphic driver recently, then try uninstalling it and install an older version. Sometime new drivers comes with new problems. It also could be that the Windows Registery is overbloated, a cleaning install of Windows should take fix that issue.
ok for example skyrim without any mods that increase performance i have to play on like medium to lower settings to run at playable fps. at high settings i generally get around 50 fps but it is not stable at all. other games such as ghost recon online ( i know its in beta so probably isnt optimized) but i would have thought i could play it at high settings but yet again the fps keeps dipping bellow 60 fps.
is there a way i could monitor gpu and cpu usage while playing games so i could give you a more detailed explanation or something?
Well if you are expecting 50+ FPS, then I suppose you need to look for a more powerful card then. Frame rates are generally not constant, they vary based on what is going in the game which is partially based on where in the game you are and what you are doing. For example, are you merely running thru a forest, or are you fighting multiple enemies in that forest?
I dont know much about Ghost Recon Online. As you said it is in beta and you are also at the mercy of the internet itself. If you have high ping times then that could be a problem.
The Radeon HD 6770 is just a re-branded Radeon HD 5770 so graphics card is actually a little older than you think.
Before upgrading the graphics card, I recommend you try a clean install of Windows if it has been a while since you installed it. If it's a fairly recent install like 6 - 9 months then I doubt a fresh install will change anything.
Here's benchmarks some relatively inexpensive graphic cards in Skyrim. The test rig has a Core i7 920 @ 3.8GHz. The Sandy Bridge Core i3 series is actually a little more powerful than the older 1st generation Core i series so performance should be comparable, but the i7 920 will be just a tiny bit faster. Skyrim only makes use of two CPU cores.
i installed msi afturburner and another program to monitor cpu and gpu usage ingame. now it says my gpu is running at 90% but only at 400mhz WTF! when my gpu is overclocked to liek 920 mhz and its only using 50% of cpu. how do i make it use more? (Ghost recon online btw)