I bought this computer like 3-4 years ago already and built it myself (mainly for playing WOW). Now I'm done with WOW and I realize that new games are asking more and I have to run them on low graphic settings... which doesn't make an optimized gaming experience : )
My actual needs:
Playing games like SkyRim, Diablo 3, EVE online at an acceptable resolution/graphic settings without any considerable lag.
Board: ASUSTeK Computer INC. P5N-E SLI 1.XX (Bus Clock: 266 megahertz)
Intel Core(TM)2 Duo - 6600 2.4ghz (64 kb prim. mem cache, 4096 kb sec. mem cache)
4GB Ram (4x 1024 DIMM)
NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS
OS on 40 gig Raptor SATA-II
DATA on NVIDIA nForce SATA STRIPE
Now I'm wondering what are my options. I'm looking for the "best bang for the buck" option. Can I just (OPTION A) upgrade my video adapter and I should be ok or should I (OPTION B) consider buying a new whole setup ?
If I were in your shoes, I would upgrade the GPU for now ($150-250 depending on what your budget for a GPU is), crank the eye-candy as far as it can go before the GPU becomes the bottleneck, upgrade the CPU/MoBo/RAM later and dial eye-candy back down then to raise FPS up if necessary.
So, starting with that, what GPU are you guyz recommanding that will fit my actual setup ?
I have no problem spending 150-250$ for it as long as it's worthy! Like I said, I'm looking for a "best bang for the buck" option.
Around the $150 price point would be HD7770 vs 550Ti while around $250 would be HD7850 vs 560Ti.
Since your original post only asked for "acceptable resolution and settings" with settings presumably meaning detail, you should be fine with the lower end of the range. There is a substantial performance improvement between ~$150 cards/GPUs and ~$250 models largely due to wider memory bus.
Personally, I spend ~$150 on graphics cards every 3-4 years and that is usually more than good enough for me.
Which GPU is best depends on which games you plan to play the most more than anything else. Browse the benchmarks and weigh your choices accordingly.
If you have not tried your new games with your existing setup, you might want to do that first to have a first-hand idea of how far away from your "optimized gaming experience" you might be. You might end up discovering that you are not as far away from it as you though you were.