I have a gaming PC that's a couple years old. I play FPS, RTS, racing games at 1920x1080. Also do a bit of video encoding, but that is secondary.
Looking to spend a $400 upgrade budget. Where should it go? Graphics card, or new CPU/mobo combo, or something else? I could get an i5 3570K + mobo and 8 GB RAM for my budget, or is a new graphics card a better bet?
Intel Q6600, OC'd to 3.12 GHz
4 GB Corsair RAM
Radeon 5850 1GB, OC'd to 900 MHz
Creative Fatal1ty SoundBlaster
Corsair 650 Power Supply
120 GB SSD, plus 3 SATA drives (500G, 500G, 1T)
1. A full platform upgrade.
New mobo, CPU and RAM. $400 will get you a 3570k, a good Z77 board and 8GB of RAM. Will have to get a new OS though.
That will set you a good frame to upgrade from later and wont be out of sate for a while. However in gaming performance you will see little difference since you have the old GPU in there. So getting a good GPU later will bring a massive performance boost.
2. GPU upgrade.
Will be an immediate boost to gaming performance, though it will be held back by the rest of the system. However, if/when you upgrade the rest of it later, you will end up with quite a powerful machine.
So two pathways, really depends on where you want the performance initially and if your willing to upgrade later.
Gaming performance now, will upgrade later - The GPU upgrade, get something like a 7970.
Encoding performance, will upgrade GPU later - Platform upgrade, get a good GPU later.
Gaming performance, wont upgrade later - GPU upgrade, get something like a 7770.
Encoding performance, wont upgrade later - Platform upgrade, stick with the 5850.