So I built a new rig around Christmas, had a moderate budget of around $1k. It has very much so underperformed, and I thought I would get a lot more performance using the components I chose (after researching extensively in these forums). If someone could shed some light and let me know if I could have chose more wisely in any department, that would be greatly appreciated.
I run most games (Skyrim, Diablo3) just under max settings and they run decently, just get the odd hiccup sometimes in FPS loss/stuttering. This is especially bad in Arma2. I've been playing the DayZ mod, and it comes to an absolute crawl, at about 5-20 FPS.
Anyways I've gone on enough, here are my specs:
AMD Phenom II X4 955 BE (kinda sacred to Overlcock, so it's at stock currently)
CM Hyper 212 Plus
Vengeance Blue 8GB
Asus Ge-Force GTX 560 DCII
Antec Earthwatts 750W
WD Caviar Blue 1TB
What resolution are you playing on? If you're gaming at 1080p, that rig will have a tough time with the newest games (skyrim, crysis 2, BF3, etc.). It doesn't seem like it should, given the amount of dough shelled out for the components, but it's true. You're in a position very similar to mine. I have a Phenom ii X4 955 running at 3.8 GHz @1.4V, which you could easily do too since you've got that nice cooler, and an HD 6870. Overclocking will help you gain maybe 5-8 fps I would guess, and if you can notch the resolution down to 1366x768 if 1080p is your native resolution, you should have a much easier time gaming. 1080p is a big hurdle for us budget gamers. You didn't do anything wrong, that's just the nature of the beast.