I was wondering what I could upgrade on my computer to make my games run smoother. I don't want to spend a ton of money on something that doesn't necessarily need upgrading. I think I need a new processor or some more RAM, I was thinking an i7.
I'm looking to run games like gta 4, skyrim, bf3 all maxed out. I want all the highest AA available and textures, shadows, etc on the highest setting.
Windows 7 x86 Ultimate
4 GB RAM
AMD Phenom II 560 Processor
Nvidia GTX 560ti Graphics card
This is very difficult in your current situation. You GPU is definitely a bottleneck and while normally a CPU is less critcial as you have higher resolutions and more textures and more data to be processed PCI-E performance and processor performance will affect performance. As such you would need to upgrade both your GPU and CPU.
You could consider a secondary GTX560Ti and put in SLI but while this would considerably improve performance would not improve the min frame rate as much a possible. In this regard a single GPU is always better.
If you are look to have MAX settings on a 1080P panel you will really need to consider a GTX670/GTX680 class GPU. THis needs to be then paired with at least high performance i5 or preferred i7 CPU. Whether you go 3770 or 3820 and decide on the platform that is your call.
Overall though all to upgrade based on your requirement. ( Keep in mind a GTX670 will give you approx around 60 to 65 FPS at 1080P with BF3 roughly maxed out with 4xAA ( not max AA but AA ).
Hope this helps.
Even though I respect the guy above don't take what he said to serious. Cause an 560ti is more than capable even these days and that cpu of yours is definitely the bigger bottleneck here. So I would say upgrade that to an i5 2500k (it overclocks better than the newer i5) so then you will also need a new mobo. That way you should be able to max out most games, or at least close, mind you it won't be at 60fps but if you can actually be bothered and see the difference between 30 and 60fps to a point where it becomes annoying (and I doubt that) than be prepared to shell out a lot more so you can also upgrade the 560ti.