Looking to upgrade, what to do first?

I would like to upgrade my system, in multiple ways, but am just getting into the hobby. I purchased this prebuilt a couple years ago and it's time I get serious. I'm looking for advice on what to upgrade first and/or what parts would be compatible if I should keep some of the existing components. Or, if most of my system should just be replaced? I mostly play FPS games and would like to have something that can be OC'd at some point.

Definitely getting a new case, I'm thinking the Cooler Master 922, other' suggestions would be great...

Budget is up to $500

Currently have this system in the factory HP Pavillion p6142p..

AMD Phenom X4 9650 2.3 Ghz
Pegatron M2N7B-LA motherboard
BFG Tech Geforce GTX 260 Maxcore 55
Antec Earthwatts 650 ATX12V
WD6400AKS-65A7B2 640GB Caviar Blue
Elpida 8GB RAM PC2-6400U-666
AMA 1322-006KOH2 Heatsink
Windows 7 Ultimate
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More about looking upgrade first
  1. A very good question.
    As a rule, the graphics card is the most important component for FPS gaming.

    You could spend $300 for a GTX660ti, or $400 for a GTX670.
    Your psu is a very good one, and will run either one easily.

    Why do you want a new case, and what attracts you to the cm 922?
    If you just love the looks of the case, buy it. You will be looking at it for a long time.

    From a functional point of view, an Antec 100/200/300 case will do just as well and be cheaper.

    From a cpu point of view, any intel sandy/ivy bridge cpu will be the best at any price point.
    For balance, budget 1/2 the price of your graphics card for the cpu.

    You may have to do this upgrade in two steps. Graphics card or cpu/mobo.

    To help clarify your options, run these two tests:

    a) Run your games, but lower your resolution and eye candy.
    If your FPS increases, it indicates that your cpu is strong enough to drive a better graphics configuration.
    If your FPS stays the same, you are likely cpu limited.

    b) Limit your cpu, either by reducing the OC, or, in windows power management, limit the maximum cpu% to something like 50%.
    This will simulate what a lack of cpu power will do.

    Go to control panel/power options/change plan settings/change advanced power settings/processor power management/maximum processor state/
    set to 50% and see how you do.

    If your FPS drops significantly, it is an indicator that your cpu is the limiting factor, and a cpu upgrade is in order.

    It is possible that both tests are positive, indicating that you have a well balanced system, and both cpu and gpu need to be upgraded to get better gaming FPS.
  2. Thanks for the input, I'll definitely try those out and see what happens. The case is needed mostly for cooling and for future upgrades. The CM 922 (newegg.com) seems to be priced right and gives me the option to add hardware for years to come. If anyone else has anything to add it'd be much appreciated!

    I ran OCCT and played with the resolution a bit. The fps rate does increase significantly (from 90 fps to 130+ fps) when the resolution is dropped from 1600x900 to various other resolutions . I've also run the video stress test in CS:S but the fps rate barely increased when the resolution was lowered.

    Maybe my rig will do just fine for a while and I can just invest in a new case. Anybody have any personal suggestions on a case? I've been looking at a bunch but it's hard to choose when you've never dealt with different models before.
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