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After waffling about for the last 6 months with hardware upgrades I'm ready to move forward.
My current system is an HP Pavillion HP-E9290F. It's an early core i7 system that has been pretty solid and stable.
CPU: i7/920 @ 2.67GHz
P/S: 460W generic
MOTHERBOARD: IPMTB-TK (Truckee) / X58 Express chipset
RAM: 9GB PC3-8500 trichannel
VIDEO: Nvidia GTX-260/1.8G
STORAGE: 1TB 7200RPM SATA
Games I play: Tera, GW2, Neverwinter, TSW, STO, LotRO, EQ2, GW, and Rift. I would like to play current releases at nice settings with some sort of AA.
There are two main bottlenecks and one minor that I can see in the system. The two main are the video card and the hard drive and the minor one is the low end i7 CPU.
Some MMO engines, to put it very crudely, like a higher clock speed from the CPU than what mine can deliver. I don't think I would get a huge performance bump from upgrading the CPU.
It seems the video card would be the best bang for the money and then an SSD for faster load times. After reading the recent review of the Sapphire 7870 I did some searching and came up with the 7870 being a good card for the money and performance. The other cards I looked at are a GTX-550ti, a GTX-650ti, and a 7950. The 7950 is more than I want to spend really so unless there is a very compelling reason to go with that I'm excluding it.
This is the Sapphire I found at Newegg: Sapphire 7870 for $239. There is another for $20 more, but I don't understand the difference between the two. One says it's the OC edition and the other the "FLEX".
When I look at comparisons of the 650ti and 660ti to this card I find that the 650ti is a cheaper way to go but doesn't match up. The 660ti performs better or worse depending on the application and seems to be the competitive peer to the 7870, but is more expensive by about $40. I've always had good results with Nvidia so I'm a little leery of switching brands (the last ATI card I had was just as PCIx was coming out).
I need help with the power supply upgrade. I get lost in all of the numbers and stuff. I came up with this 600W FSP (80+ Gold). My concern there is the reviews said the cables were a little short. My desktop is standard sized, not a small form factor.
So for about $350 it seems I could upgrade reasonably well and squeeze another year or so out of this desktop.