I currently have a Q6600 on a J&W IP35-PRO motherboard with 4GB 6400 RAM and a GTX 260 GPU and Corsair 520W PSU. I am looking to upgrade as some games are now a little too much for my setup to run smoothly. My next purchases are to either get a new motherboard and CPU (Phenom II X4 965 or FX-4100) or upgrade my GPU to something like a HD 6850 or even HD 6870 or comparable Nvidia card. Future plans are to be running 3 screens on some games so the AMD GPUs are probably my better option. Quite a few of the games I play and will probably be playing are quite CPU intensive which is what leads me to this sort of dilemma.
What would you think the best decision would be? and/or any other advice?
Well at the moment funds are low but in about 2/3 months my funds will be better. So, because of what I have to spend now, I was just looking into what may be the best purchase. For example; Buy a newer, better GPU now and when I have more cash, buy a better motherboard, CPU and even RAM (As I hear the motherboards that support the I5 and I7 CPUs need DDR3 RAM correct?). However, the games in which I tend to want to use 3 screens aren't really too bad on GPUs so I would think even a decent GPU would be able to cope fine (The triple screen setup isn't really necessary though so it can be ignored really). I'm just mainly looking into what would be the best decision.... Buy a GPU for around £100-150/$155-$230 or spend a little more and get a CPU and Motherboard?
Keep in mind that tripling the number of screens effectively triples the number of pixels you're driving and the load on the GPU. You'll need something along the lines of a 6950 2GB to run decently, even on medium or low settings. More VRAM will help you in this instance. If you haven't bought the three displays yet, you may want to just get one at first and wait as you get the other components.
In the end it sounds like you'll be able to afford all of the things you want to get, it's just the order in which you buy them that is what we're discussing here.
I personally would get a newer GPU first since you'll see that performance difference immediately and not be significantly bottlenecked (or at all) by the CPU.
Then upgrade that as you get the money - even something like an i3 will game significantly well. My i3-2120 and i5-2500K didn't have any differences when gaming with a 560Ti OCed to 570 performance. You may experience some bottlenecking if you get into the higher-end GPUs, but at your price range any GPU will be fine with an i3.