ASRock 880G PRO3 AM3+
Phenom II X3 740 OC @3.6ghz on 3 cores as 4th core is unstable
Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO
8gb (2x4gb) G.SKILL Ripjaws 1333 DDR3
EVGA Nvidia GTX275 896MB 448-bit DDR3
2x 500GB WD Blue hard drives
Antec EarthWatts 650W PSU
I am finally thinking about upgrading as the video card is showing signs of aging. I mostly play Skyrim, Minecraft, and WoW. I cannot run Skyrim or WoW in high/ultra settings without fps issues and the fans going on full blast. I upgraded my motherboard and power supply last fall as I didn't have a lot of money and my PSU failed frying my mobo in the process so I found the ASRock and a 650W antec psu for a good price. I've saved up some money though and I want to upgrade.
The two things I have been considering are:
- Upgrade to AMD FX-8150, 8GB of 1866 RAM, and either a 560ti or 7850
- Make the switch to Intel and get the i5 2500k, ASRock Pro 3 Gen 3 Z68 mobo, 8GB of 1866 RAM, and either a 560ti or 7850.
The difference between the two setups is about $100-$120 as the two video cards are at the same price point, so its really the cost difference is between keeping my old mobo or buying a new one. Is the i5 really that much better? Is it worth the extra money to buy the new motherboard or will I get close enough performance out of the FX chip that its a waste of money?
I am also leaning towards the 7850 as it seems to edge out the 560ti, but I am also really trying to save as much money as I can. Is it a waste of money to upgrade the processor and ram but keep my gtx 275? Should I just upgrade my video card and maybe the ram and give me the performance boost I am looking for? Or is it even worth while upgrading the processor or going intel and cutting back on the video card, say to a 6870 and same some money there?
Sorry for all the questions, but I am really stuck. I want to keep costs as low as I can. My rig I have now is just okay to me, I am looking for more. I want better performance in games and load screens as Skyrim and WoW are slow to load and I cannot believe that is just a video card problem.
There is no point in upgrading your RAM. The i5 2500k is awesome and you'll instantly notice a change in WoW/skyrim and both require a lot of cpu power. I have the 560ti and can play wow/skyrim without issues on ultra settings (also have a 2500k), but the 7850 should do fine as well. I used to have a gtx260 before the 560ti and I didn't really notice much on the graphical limits so you might be fine keeping the gtx 275 and just upgrading the mobo/cpu.
Thank you for the advise. Maybe its best if I go forward with the upgrade of the i5 and the motherboard, and if I am still not happy with the performance, then I can save a little more money and maybe get a more robust card such as the 570 or 79xx series card.
Note that load times are solely due to hard drive speed - so if you want a boost there, go for an SSD, like Samsung's 830 128GB for $100.
Also keep in mind that a GTX 275 is about on par with a Radeon 7770. But you will notice some serious bumps in both Skyrim and WoW when you upgrade your CPU - both are heavily CPU-bound games. What I'd do is get the 2500k and new motherboard (and the SSD), and save up for something from the GTX 600-series or Radeon 8000-series.
Well, I took pieces of all your advise. I bought the i5-2500k and the ASRock Pro3 Gen3 motherboard as I just have no desire to SLI/XFire. I got the 128GB SSD suggested by mousseng and found a fantastic deal for a 560ti factory overclocked for only $150. I was going to go 7850 and I know its a great card for the money, but I didnt want to spend $230 on a card and I am not a huge AMD/ATI fan anyway. I couldn't be more pleased with my choices though as now in WoW it just never drops from 60fps, Skyrim is flawless on ultra settings, and everything is so fast. Thank you all for your help, I should be set up with a nice rig for a while now.