My current rig is from fall 2009 and I'm considering an upgrade for gaming. I'm wondering if a whole rebuild using Ivy Bridge CPU and corresponding board, GPU, and RAM is warranted at this time, or if just upgrading my GPU to one of the 660's or something would be effective? I have really enjoyed the Lynnfield chip and not sure it's time to move on yet...
My main concern at this point is also that my motherboard (3 years old) might not be able to handle the 660 properly due to PCI-e version, or other new components like a SATA III SSD. Also not sure if my 750W PSU will handle the job were I to get new components.
CPU: Core i7-860 Lynnfield
Mobo: ASUS P7P55D LE LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel Motherboard
GPU: EVGA 896-P3-1171-AR GeForce GTX 275 Superclocked Edition 896MB 448-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card
RAM: OCZ Platinum 8GB (4 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Dual Channel Desktop Memory Model
PSU: PC Power and Cooling S75CF 750W EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply
Your cpu is fine up to a 680 or 7970, although you could always oc it. It is still pretty high end relative to other cpus. Your mobo is fine, you can use any single gpu without any loss in performance. You don't have sata 3 but that doesn't justify a mobo upgrade, it won't even affect gaming or even windows/other software load times. The only place you'll really see a difference is in synthetic benchmarks and what's the point in that? Your psu is also plenty of power, it can handle 2 660ti (although your mobo can't sli). I'd suggest going with a higher gpu, the rest of the system can handle it.
Thanks everyone. Reason I was thinking to upgrade is that I usually go ~3 years on a system, and in some games (SWTOR, BF3, GW2) I'm starting to see framerate and choppiness issues in some areas. I had also (ignorantly) assumed that the 6-series GTX cards were too fast for my Mobo (for example, SATA III isn't an option so I have neglected to get an SSD yet for that reason). So figured I'd be looking to do a whole new system anyway.
But good to know that the i7-860 is still considered relatively high end among processors. I'll just upgrade the GPU to a 660 or 670 something for now which I imagine will solve many of my framerate issues in current games, and stick with this CPU/Mobo combo until substantial performance issues come up.
On the same subject, is 8GB of RAM still considered "good" for gaming? I'm sure that with the new GPU (going from 812MB of VRAM to 2GB of VRAM) will show improvement, but if you think I'd see improvement in swapping out my 4x2GB for 4x4GB of the same speed, let me know.
for example, SATA III isn't an option so I have neglected to get an SSD yet for that reason
While SATA2 may not be fast enough to pull the maximum bandwidth out of an SSD, the SSD would still provide around twice as much read/write bandwidth as a conventional HDD and 50-100X faster access time which is where SSDs contribute the bulk of the Windows boot time improvement.
So you if you want an SSD, you can already get most of the benefits with SATA2.