My current gaming rig is getting old and I'm not sure what path to take. My current machine is:
AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 6000+ (3.1 GHz)
4 GB Ram
Nvidia GeForce 9800 GTX+
Windows XP 32bit (yeah, I know this means I can't use all 4gb of my ram)
500 GB Hitachi HDP725050 Sata Hard Drive (about 60% full)
550W power supply
I don't know the exact motherboard, but I know it is SLI capable
The games I tend to play are large open-world games like Skyrim, World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings Online, the upcoming relaunch of Final Fantasy XIV, or
fast-paced action games like Bioshock: Infinite, CoD:MW3, Batman: Arkham Asylum, etc.
In a nutshell, none of these games run as well as I'd like them to. Most of them are at medium or high settings (but always at 1920x1080), and getting 25-40fps depending on circumstances. Sometimes things drop to 10fps in MMO raid envirmonments. Ideally, I'd like to set the graphic detail as high as possible, but the main concern is framerate. I'll take 60 FPS at medium over 45 FPS at ultra. I play all games at 1920x1080.
I'm not sure whether to (a) upgrade my pc, and if so which parts? (b) build a new PC entirely right now, or (c) wait for any up-and-coming new hardware releases and then build a new PC entirely.
I'd like to spend as little as possible, but I could spend as much as $800-$900 (flexible) on a new gaming rig. How can I get the most bang for my buck? Will a newly-built PC in my price range give me any significant performance boost? Also, is SSD worthwhile?
Approximate Purchase Date: this week
Budget Range: $800-900
I do not need a new monitor.
If building a new PC entirely, I need a new OS, case, and power supply, because I will want to keep the current PC intact.
I can use whatever websites are most highly recommended for parts, though I'd prefer to use a custom-building place like cyberpowerpc.com just so I don't have to assemble it myself. (I know how and have done so multiple times, but it involves headaches I'm willing to spend a little extra to avoid.)
I'm in central IL.
I'd prefer to stay with an NVidia graphics card because I've had compatibility issues in the past with ATI.
I do not want to overclock.
I'm willing to SLI as long as it's not likely to cause compatibility issues.
If you're on a budget and this will primarily be for gaming, go AMD. Get...
+ Motherboard with AM3+ socket and a 990 series chipset. Avoid on-board video, but on-board audio is actually good
+ AMD FX 6350 CPU. Avoid the 4100/6100/8100 CPUs as they perform poorly and wont save you much.
+ For CPU cooler on a budget, CoolerMaster Hyper 212 EVO is hands down the best bang for the buck. It performs within a few degrees of coolers costing 3x as much.
+ 8GB of DDR3 1600 or faster RAM, go 1866 or 2133 if you can afford it
+ Good case with plenty of ventilation. Have at least one 120mm fan on the front, side, back and top.
+ A 660ti or better VGA card. Go with the best SINGLE vga card you can afford. SLI/Crossfire scale well for performance, but not at the same rate as the cost.
+ A high quality 750w-850w power supply. PC Power and Cooling are some of the best for the money, Most Corsair models are also very good for the cost. Plan to spend ~$120+ for this part alone, but it is a key component you do not want to skimp on.
If you come in under budget, I'd spend the extra money on the following, in order:
+ An FX 8350 CPU first, because it is the only upgrade you can't easily do yourself without disassembling multiple parts.
+ Better VGA card
+ More or faster RAM