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Looking to upgrade an ancient gaming rig

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July 20, 2013 12:42:07 PM

I'm looking to upgrade my system while keeping the case, PSU, optical drives, and disk drives I currently own. I'd like to get the best bang for my buck with a new graphics card, motherboard, memory, and CPU.

At the moment, any game I play usually has to be at lowest settings, and even then get (if I'm lucky) around 20-25 fps. Ideally I'd like to just get solid (60+) frame rates in most any game, not necessarily on ultra settings.

I've had my eye on this EVGA GeForce GTX 650 as a potential "patch" to hold me over if I can't quite get a full upgrade with the current budget. Would this card suffice until I can upgrade the rest? Would it be worth it?

This thread may look familiar, as I asked this same thing last year, but the funds and timing never worked out. I figure 6 months is enough for some prices to drop, so I'm here again asking for advice to hopefully able to upgrade this ancient machine.

Approximate Purchase Date: e.g.: Within the next week

Budget Range: $300-$400

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming

Are you buying a monitor: No

Parts to Upgrade: (Not looking to upgrade hard drives, they are just here for power/sata requirements of motherboard)

-CPU
Intel Core 2 Duo E6550 @ 2.33GHz
Conroe 65nm Technology

-RAM
4.00 GB Dual-Channel DDR2 @ 399MHz (4-4-4-13)

-Motherboard
MSI MS-7350 (CPU 1)

-Graphics
1024MB GeForce 9500 GT (nVidia)

-Hard Drives
156GB Western Digital WDC WD1600JB-00GVA0 ATA Device (PATA)
313GB Western Digital WDC WD32 00AAJS-22RYA SCSI Disk Device (ATA)
977GB Western Digital WDC WD10 EACS-00D6B0 SCSI Disk Device (ATA)
977GB Seagate ST310005 28AS SCSI Disk Device (ATA)

-Power Supply
Thermaltake TR2 430w

Do you need to buy OS: No

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com

Location: Watertown, WI

Parts Preferences: Intel/Nvidia

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe

Your Monitor Resolution: 3360x1050 (Dual 1680x1050 at the moment)

Additional Comments: Dual DVI-Out required for dual monitors.
July 20, 2013 12:54:30 PM

I am confused, are you asking for advice upgrading your system or just video?
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July 20, 2013 1:21:59 PM

endeavour37a said:
I am confused, are you asking for advice upgrading your system or just video?


All, if possible in the budget. If not, I was curious if that EVGA (Decently priced with a rebate for a limited time, is why I ask) I had linked would give a decent enough boost to game play to hold me over until I had more money to spend, and upgrade around that card.

I have also edited the OP with the correct link, I had the amazon link instead of newegg.
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July 20, 2013 2:09:59 PM

Well all I could say is don't plan on upgrading around a 650 as it would not be a wise move. Your going to need a new MB, RAM, CPU, PSU and video for a complete overhaul. Why would waste money on a graphics card like that, you seem to keep you stuff a long time. Please don't take my comments the wrong way, just the way I am.

I would suggest a GTX-770 ($400) or GTX-760 ($250) now, of course it will be bottle necked by the rest of your set up but who cares. To drive 2 displays I would say the 770 would be better. This way you have a great GPU to build around and make a set up that rocks for a few years. Your not going to game at the cards potential but that is fine, one part at a time to get what your looking for for long term.

Then a new PSU between 650-750 Watts, many good ones out there, I would just bite the bullet and go gold certified, XFX, Corsair, SeaSonic are very good ones among others. But a new PSU would be my next investment, still no gaming improvement.

Then a new CPU, MB and RAM to finish it all off. May as well go Haswell, it is not really better but it is newer. Yet many are still making new builds with Ivy as it's a bit cheaper and works great.

I could make a parts list for you if you want.
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July 20, 2013 3:40:44 PM

endeavour37a said:
Well all I could say is don't plan on upgrading around a 650 as it would not be a wise move. Your going to need a new MB, RAM, CPU, PSU and video for a complete overhaul. Why would waste money on a graphics card like that, you seem to keep you stuff a long time. Please don't take my comments the wrong way, just the way I am.

I would suggest a GTX-770 ($400) or GTX-760 ($250) now, of course it will be bottle necked by the rest of your set up but who cares. To drive 2 displays I would say the 770 would be better. This way you have a great GPU to build around and make a set up that rocks for a few years. Your not going to game at the cards potential but that is fine, one part at a time to get what your looking for for long term.

Then a new PSU between 650-750 Watts, many good ones out there, I would just bite the bullet and go gold certified, XFX, Corsair, SeaSonic are very good ones among others. But a new PSU would be my next investment, still no gaming improvement.

Then a new CPU, MB and RAM to finish it all off. May as well go Haswell, it is not really better but it is newer. Yet many are still making new builds with Ivy as it's a bit cheaper and works great.

I could make a parts list for you if you want.


No offense taken. I'd just like to do something that allows me to make games more playable. And I guess I wouldn't be completely rebuilding around the 650 right away, but it would be more of a placeholder while I upgrade with the rest with my current budget. It would leave around $300 for at least a start on the mobo, cpu, and memory while still being usable in my current machine due to power requirements. I mostly am concerned about also upgrading the PSU for the GTX-7xx, which I don't think would fit in this budget.

Was hoping for perhaps a few mid range options in terms of mobo, cpu, memory, with enough left over for a mediocre card, even if it's already outdated. I'm also not terribly worried about the eye candy of ultra settings, it would be nice, but it's just not something I think I'll be able to afford anytime soon. I'm used to playing most games at 15-20fps if I'm lucky, so any boost would be welcome.

I guess I'm not really looking for a miracle here as the budget I have isn't a whole lot to work with. Would just like to try to go the smartest route. Any sort of suggestions or options are greatly appreciated. I'd like to get the most out of the ~$400 I have to spend on new parts for the time being.
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July 20, 2013 4:37:27 PM

Oh OK, I felt I was confused and was, sorry. Have you looked on ebay for used cards? Perhaps buying used would save some money and since it would be only a temporary fix the warranty would not matter much. You would not need much to see an improvement from a 9500GT, and I assume your PS does not have aux power connectors for a graphics card.

First I would look at ebay for used, then deals like sale prices or MIR on new stuff, point is get as cheap as you can. The AMD HD-7750 does not need extra power from a PS (55 TDP) and is a decent card for around $100 retail. If you were to go for a 650 I would just get a 650Ti as it is just a few dollars more and well worth the performance boost, yet it needs power from the PS. Between those two is the HD 7770.

What do you think, I will wait for a reply before going on here as I think this is the info you are looking for,,,
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July 20, 2013 4:48:58 PM

endeavour37a said:
Oh OK, I felt I was confused and was, sorry. Have you looked on ebay for used cards? Perhaps buying used would save some money and since it would be only a temporary fix the warranty would not matter much. You would not need much to see an improvement from a 9500GT, and I assume your PS does not have aux power connectors for a graphics card.

First I would look at ebay for used, then deals like sale prices or MIR on new stuff, point is get as cheap as you can. The AMD HD-7750 does not need extra power from a PS (55 TDP) and is a decent card for around $100 retail. If you were to go for a 650 I would just get a 650Ti as it is just a few dollars more and well worth the performance boost, yet it needs power from the PS. Between those two is the HD 7770.

What do you think, I will wait for a reply before going on here as I think this is the info you are looking for,,,


My current PSU has these connectors:
1 x Main connector (20+4Pin)
1 x 12V (4+4Pin EPS/ATX)
4 x Peripheral
5 x SATA
1 x Floppy
1 x PCI-E

The 650ti seems to be about 50ish more off newegg brand new, the 650 is 99, 79 after rebate. I'd be willing to shell out the extra if it's worth the money, though that extra could be used to cover the memory. What are your thoughts on a mobo, cpu, and memory? Anything worth it that fits this budget?
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July 20, 2013 4:55:54 PM

The GTX650 + overclocking would give your system a good boost.

The CPU will bottleneck a bit but it isn't too bad.
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July 20, 2013 5:19:57 PM

I am sorry but I cannot recommend a 650 no matter how much you seem to want it. Unless you can go up to a 650Ti or 650Ti Boost the 650 is not worth the money.

My recommendation is this, a AMD HD-7770 Ghz Edition for $99.99 or HD-7750 for $89.99. These are both better cards than a GTX-650 at the same price point. The straight 650 is not that good of a card.

So I am done here with the graphics stuff, you get what you want but you know what I recommend now. I can't help you any further with this.

We can talk about your other parts if you want to, I would be happy to do that.
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July 20, 2013 5:24:14 PM

endeavour37a said:

My recommendation is this, a AMD HD-7770 Ghz Edition for $99.99 or HD-7750 for $89.99. These are both better cards than a GTX-650 at the same price point. The straight 650 is not that good of a card.

The 650 actually beats the 7750 by a bit.
But it is true that AMD is generally better in the low end.

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July 20, 2013 5:55:15 PM

smeezekitty said:
endeavour37a said:

My recommendation is this, a AMD HD-7770 Ghz Edition for $99.99 or HD-7750 for $89.99. These are both better cards than a GTX-650 at the same price point. The straight 650 is not that good of a card.

The 650 actually beats the 7750 by a bit.
But it is true that AMD is generally better in the low end.



It might beat it by 2-3 FPS (and I am not sure it does) but is that worth the extra power the 650 needs? The 7750 (55 TDP) is a better overall card than the 650 is for a guy with a 550 PS and a bunch of HDD I think. How does it do against a 7770 Ghz Edition?

I don't care one way or another what this person buys, it does not affect my life. His system is going to bottleneck any of the cards discussed here, I am just trying to get him the better value for the money. Heck I am a Nvidia fan, it hurts to even suggest an AMD card..... :( 
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July 20, 2013 6:39:06 PM

I was never sold on the 650, I was merely asking about it in the original post, since it was fairly cheap, had respectable reviews, and didn't require the purchase of a larger power supply.

I guess back to the original question, can I get a respectable mobo, CPU, memory, and graphics card for under $400, whilst reusing my current 430w power supply?
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July 20, 2013 7:13:00 PM

Quote:

It might beat it by 2-3 FPS (and I am not sure it does) but is that worth the extra power the 650 needs? The 7750 (55 TDP) is a better overall card than the 650 is for a guy with a 550 PS and a bunch of HDD I think. How does it do against a 7770 Ghz Edition?

No it isn't worth the extra power. The only reason I recommended it is because he said he prefered NVidia.
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July 20, 2013 7:26:24 PM

The short answer is no, you cannot get a respectable MB, CPU, RAM and GPU for $400 to game on, Sorry.

You can get something usable, but not respectable. Would you like me to give you the best possible set up you can get for $400 on all of these parts?
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July 20, 2013 8:04:49 PM

endeavour37a said:
The short answer is no, you cannot get a respectable MB, CPU, RAM and GPU for $400 to game on, Sorry.

You can get something usable, but not respectable. Would you like me to give you the best possible set up you can get for $400 on all of these parts?


If you wouldn't mind, I'd like to see.
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July 20, 2013 8:38:34 PM

Here is the best set up for gaming I could come up with, perhaps not the best but it is the best I could do.....

Ops ...wait a second, need to change something...
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Best solution

July 20, 2013 8:48:50 PM

Here you go... 345 watts on these parts. What do ya think?

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($90.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: Asus M5A97 R2.0 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($94.98 @ Outlet PC)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($62.13 @ TigerDirect)
Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB Video Card ($159.98 @ Newegg)
Total: $408.07
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-07-20 23:47 EDT-0400)
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July 20, 2013 9:20:54 PM

This is really the best I can do for you, I hope you found our conversation useful in some way. I have to go, been here a long time now. Perhaps you could hit the solution button for me on any of my comments, it would be a nice thing to do but now big deal if you don't.

I would start a new thread with your question and get some more points of view how to spend your $400 and what you want to get out of it, I would of course not comment on it as we have already talked a length here. But you would have this thread to refer back to on what I have told you on things.

Those are pretty good parts, the P II x4 is a real good CPU for the money, too bad you could not spring another $100 for a GTX 760, that would be a great card for a couple years at least.
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