Gaming PC Hardware Upgrade - CPU or GPU?

Hi guys. I built my PC in January 2011. I bought the Phenom II x6 1090t BE. I had bought an ATI Radeon 5870 the previous year so I thought I would just keep it for a little longer. I have been thinking for a while now to upgrade my 5870 to a 7970 since it is now getting old. But recently I have come to a slight realization that a hexacore CPU may not be the best for a gaming rig. So do you guys think my CPU should be changed to an intel i5/i7 quad core or amd quad core instead? Or keep my CPU the way it is and just upgrade my GPU. So what do you guys think? All thoughts and opinions are welcome and much appreciated.
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  1. Best answer
    If you're willing to spend $450 on a new graphics card, a cpu upgrade is in probably order as well. For $300 or so a new p67 mobo + i5 2500k would be a great match. I wouldn't go for an i7 as they tend to perform very close than the 2500k in gaming (toms says so in their monthly gaming cpu reviews) but are significantly more expensive.
    I enjoy gaming on my 5750 at 1080p with moderately demanding titles (dirt 3, skyrim) but upgrading from my old athlon to a 2500k was the best decision I've ever made. Games do perform slightly better, and I'm sure you'd notice a much greater increase with such a powerful card. For me, coming from such a crappy dual-core athlon, regular app performance was huge as well. For you maybe not so much, but a single fast core is often better than many slower parallel cores and I think that could give you some great performance benefits as well.
  2. Thanks for the quick and informative reply jryan388! I am willing to spend around $900 this year on upgrades so I will be putting the i5 2500k on my list as well. Also, I can probably sell my mobo+cpu+gpu for around $500. What do you think about the Radeon 7970? It's on sale now all over the place and imo the price/performance is amazing. Do you guys have anymore thoughts and/or opinions?
  3. 7970 is a lot more attractive now that the 680 is out in supply and AMD dropped their prices to compensate. The 680 is going to give you better performance in some games, but I prefer AMD video cards since they tend to run quieter and cooler.
  4. Best answer selected by Sphynx91.
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