So I own that GPU and while some of my games seem to perform well (deus ex hr, crysis 1 & 2, cs go, mass effect 3,) other games are doing pretty poorly like Skyrim and Battlefield 3. Even on lower settings both those games will see giant lag spikes that take me from 50-60 fps all the way down to 20 fps constantly. I'm running on AMD 12.11 BETA after having tried 12.8 and 12.10 but having no luck. Please, could anyone explain to me why this might be?
If my RAM and my CPU are bottlenecking the GPU, then what can I do to offset this? The problem is that my mobo is am2+ and only supports ddr2 ram. And since my processor is am2+/am3 compatible, any upgrade i make to either the mobo, RAM, or CPU would require an upgrade for all of those (which would be very expensive as you can probably understand
skyrim wont run well on that cpu. Overclock it or upgrade. get a cheap aftermarket cooler like the hyper tx3, that should get you to at least 3.5ghz, which is probably the most you could get out of that cpu reliably, but will still require voltage tweeking.
Your temps arent that bad, so for the sake of troubleshooting, load up skyrim and find a place where the FPS is too low for you, save the game. Reboot and go into BIOS and increase the FSB to overclock your cpu to get it to about 3.2ghz, you should not need any voltage tweeks for this. Now go back into the game and check your fps from where you just saved the game. If fps goes up, it may only do so by 1 or 2 fps with only a 200mhz increase in cpu speed, then you know you need a faster cpu, and you can look into overclocking further, and/or save for an upgrade.
There is no way to know. There isn't some magic formula (unfortunately there are just too many variables). I would get an evo12 by coolermaster, they are really good for the price. Even if it doesn't work to unbottleneck your cpu, you will still be able to use it for a lot of other systems.