I'm currently running an i3-530 with integrated graphics, playing SC2 and Diablo 3. Now while generally speaking I'm amazed how well it copes, in certain areas it clearly isn't cutting the mustard.
Ultimately I want to relegate my current system to an HTPC and build a brand new system ideally based around Haswell with a GTX 660. However I need a bit more punch now and can't afford to wait for these releases.
I'm guessing the best plan is simply to buy a graphics card now which I will carry forward to my new PC when I get it. While my budget is not really limited I want the best value for money, ideally something that will last a long time. MY current PSU is an OCZ Stealth 500w.
I would try the graphics card first without changing the board or cpu. The cpu is a bottleneck, but not as much as onboard video. I've seen the 6850 for around $120 in the usa after rebate. Saphire is a good video brand, but not sure about your vender.
OK, but what about the choice of graphics card? Is the 7850 a good choice?
The review said it had particular problems with Starcraft 2 and Blizzard games in general. Does anyone have experience of this?
It gets beaten by the cheaper 560 Ti, although I suspect the 7850 will be better for future games and better for power compsution. It just seems the wrong time to buy a 560 with the 660 coming out soon (maybe).
I believe your question would be do I have enough left over to do the rest of the upgrade within a reaonable amount of time. Normally, I don't recommend piecemeal upgrades one item at a time, but the onboard Intel video is marginal at best; either the 6850 or 7850 will work well with most games. I personally don't recommend top of the line video cards (haven't seen pricing on he 660 yet), but if you just want to spend money, then I'm sure it will serve you well. I would wait for more suggestions and look at your finances carefully before committing too much to the video card alone.
Haswell will require a new motherboard. It is also oriented to much better graphics, but the improvement will not be good enough to displace higher end discrete cards.
I think a build based on a 3570K will be as good as it gets, for a good long time.
I don't see anything better, either in performance or value launching for a year or more.
Why not do the cpu build now and get your HTPC built?
I see no problem in using the HD4000 graphics, at least to test it out.
On graphics, I see more movement and competitiveness.
That will give you time to see what the GTX660 will offer.
It is my understanding that the GTX660 is a GTX570 class card, much like the 7850. Nvidia wants to clear the market of GTX570 chips first, if it can. I don't think they will stand for losing to the 7850 for very much longer, and will launch the GTX660 sooner rather than later.