Upgrade soon. Ideas?

Games, Gaming and Hardware
I was going to upgrade just my gpu. I run a GTX 460 768mb. I am not sure if it is the new MoP graphics or if my card is getting old, but my old gtx 260 ran circles around this card in WoW. Granted that was back in Wrath though.

Is the "new" game that much more demanding? I used to run the game on all high settings with the following setup.

E8400 Wolfdale Duo core. 3.0ghz
GTX 260 core 216
4gb crappy dell ram.

I upgraded the above to the following.

AMD 965 BE 3.4ghz
4gb 1600 ripjaw ram
GTX 460 768mb

Now, after the upgrade, WoW seemed to run a lot better. I still don't think i needed to replace the E8400 just for Wow but I play other more demanding games, but that chip seemed solid. I never really played a lot in Cata. I got one toon to 85 and never raided and stopped playing.

Fast forward to about 2-months ago. I got back into the game. Leveled a new toon from scratch, 1-85 went ok. No issues. The day i took the portal to Pandaria I was shocked. I went from butter smooth fps to a slide show for about 1-2 minutes. I had to move the sliders all to good and turn off AA.

Did the games graphics improve that much? I have always thought WoW was a beautiful game and Pandaria looks amazing from what i can tell.

I know my system is dated now, I remember paying $209 for the 965 BE. $100+ for the ram.

I would like to upgrade to something that will run the game on high/ultra with little to no slowdown. I understand the engine is not the best, so I am mainly looking for something to give me better performance in LFR, and later 10/25 mans when I can finally join the raid team.

CPU I would like to be AMD. I won't use an intel cpu.

GPU I would like to be nvidia. I won't use ATI/AMD.

Sounds picky, but it is what it is.

Budget would be maybe 500-600 for CPU,GPU,RAM,MOBO. I actually like the Dell XPS 630i case I ordered a long time ago. Huge, roomy and the 750 watt psu is still running strong.
Yes, every new expansion, Blizzard ups the graphical presentation.

GTX 460 is decent, but it's getting a bit too old.

If you absolutely refuse to use alternatives, here is the recommendation:

The 965 BE can be used for a while longer; just turn off number crunching addons like Recount and Omen during raids and FPS should not be impacted too much due to the CPU. If you still want to upgrade, it's possible you can keep your motherboard (assuming it supports latest Vishera CPUs) and just upgrade the CPU to a AMD FX-6300. If the motherboard does not support it, get a 970 or 990FX motherboard with good overclocking capacity. Combined with a good third party CPU cooler, you could OC the AMD FX-6300 quite a bit.

You can also consider AMD FX-8320.

The GTX 460 should be replaced. Unfortunately, nVidia's mid-range offerings are blah in terms of price-performance ratio vs. equivalent AMD graphics cards... but since you refuse to use AMD graphics card, best I can recommend is GeForce GTX 660. You can always go higher if you want to.

As for the RAM, buy 4GB more of same stick.

Now, if you want to know what's an optimal hardware purchase:

Take Intel i5-3470 with a B75 motherboard
Buy a Radeon HD 7870 LE
Yea I noticed nvidia seems to be lacking. The only reason why I choose them is that I have never had any driver issues aside from one time.

I have read that ATI cards and drivers can really be hit or miss. Performance takes a hit in WoW using one and the drivers might not be good.

I play at 1920x1080 after my old samsung 1680x1050 bit the dust. I really want to try an AMD card but dont want to get burned.

I noticed my motherboard is not AM3+, someone said something about a possible bios upgrade but i have yet to find anything on that.

I have never overclocked a cpu. I have one that is capable of it and my mobo has the ez-oc switches, but I never felt the need.

Looks like i got some thinking to do.
AMD drivers being bad is an old news. Recent drivers work just peachy. In fact, if you take a look at tech support forums, they have a stickied thread dedicated to nVidia troubles... while there is none for AMD.

Anyway, it's not a universal problem; problems with drivers are totally an individualized experience; I for one, had some problems with anti-aliasing with HD 6950, had no problems with my GTX 560M. But other guys had zero problems with AMD stuff while nVidia drivers caused hell for them.

Historically, AMD drivers had no major issues, but bunch of small niggling problems; nVidia, when a problem occurs, it's often huge, but no minor annoyances. There has been few times where nVidia drivers caused GPU to overheat and die, while no AMD driver caused such a thing to happen. On the flip side, nVidia generally runs peachy on latest games; AMD drivers may have issues here and there for some time.

Currently, as mentioned, AMD drivers have improved significantly that now there is no real "problematic issue" with them anymore. I think they got competent programmers working on the drivers now.

If it's not an AM3+, it's not likely your motherboard has the needed BIOS update. Consider moving to an Intel build, but if you absolutely refuse to... take the new 970 or 990 FX motherboard upgrade.

Also, if you refuse to overclock, I strongly recommend going with Intel... AMD CPUs can't beat equivalent Intel CPUs without OC in WoW.
driver issues with AMD are mostly just finding the version that works best for your card. for my 7970 the 13.2 beta version worked the absolute best.

also some of my problems in some games were because 1.2ghz core clock was unstable. though 1.2ghz is stable in WoW and adds a ton of fps , other games had artifacts. in fact, most of the time i run 1ghz clock speeds because its plenty fast at those clocks anyways.
I run the game on ultra on an E8500 still. Never go below 25 fps, perhaps that's unacceptable for some but for me it's still very playable.

WoW's engine is hideously inefficient, on a high end PC (eg, core i7, gtx 680) you'll generally get better performance in a modified version of Skyrim than on WoW.

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