Need help choosing a new Graphics Card

Hey, this is my first post ever, and i'v been lurking around the forum for a while, and i decided to go here for help. I'm looking for a new decent graphics card that can play Battlefield 3.

System specs

CPU: AMD x2 550 BE (not unlocked)
Ram: 4 Gigs
Current graphics card( really needs to go): Geforce 8600
PSU: 550
Hard drive: 500GB
motherboard: msi 870a-g54

The CPU is liquid cooled, and i was wondering if anyone could point me to the right direction on how to properly remove a liquid cooler and remove a CPU, i'd consider replacing the CPU if it wont work with a graphics card that can play BF3 on ultra settings. I got this computer from someone else, so it's already been prebuilt, i'm new to PC gaming, so any advice would help at this point. My budget right now is $250 for the Graphics card.
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  1. Best answer
    With a $250 budget, the best card that you can get is a Radeon 7870 GHz Edition or a GTX 660. However, unless that CPU gets replaced with a Phenom II x4 955 BE or better, it would probably hold the graphics back in a lot of games, although overclocking would help if you're comfortable with that. You could try unlocking and if it works, great, but I've heard that it can cause issues and has a low success rate with the Phenom II x2s.

    Nvidia is slightly favored in BF3 and usually has slightly lower CPU overhead, so I think that I'd recommend the 660 over the 7870, but if you get a faster CPU, I'd say to choose the 7870 if you overclock and the 660 if you don't or simply want a Nvidia card.

    With that CPU, you wouldn't have enough performance for CPU physics IIRC, so if physic/PhysX is important to you, I'd recommend the 660. The 8600 GT isn't really fast enough to be used as a PPU for the 7870 IIRC, so it probably isn't good enough to be used for PhysX if you went with the 7870, hence the 660 recommendation.
  2. Best answer selected by Rykoen.
  3. Thanks Luciferano, i'v tried unlocking my CPU to a 4 core, and at first it started up fine, and used CPU-Z, and it viewed it as a quad core, but shortly after i got the blue screen, could it be the cores are unstable? But i'v decided to go with the GTX 660, thanks again.
  4. It could be that. AMD often disabled cores that were faulty.
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