Well a 7970 is well and good but...it seems your main reason for upgrading is emulation. Thing is, emulating is a CPU process. Even an i7 will have a hard time if you upscale everything and no amount of GPU processing power will help. You could stick SLI'd GTX Titans in your rig it will still cough and wheeze. Just the nature of the beast.
on a completely unrelated note. I see Happy Birthdays being thrown around. So...HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the celebrants!
well I've seen i7's overclocked to hell and back run game cube at 100% smooth. I run around 50 fps so it's much more that I need. Although more power= better performance in emulators. Both the gpu and cpu work together. I've maxed by gpu to 100% load on ps2 emulation before... so it's obvious to me I need a better cpu,. In addition when I first oc my gpu I got better performance in the emulator, not much but clear improvement
and I'm not upscaling I'm re rendering, and again I've seen how more cpu an gpu processing has improved perfmance on my machine so my logic stands >.>