i'm lost...

hello all. i currently have a 2 year old dell dimension 1.9 (williamette i think) with 512mb rambus, 80 gb hd, and radeon 9800. i want to upgrade my processor, motherboard, and ram, while keeping everything else. i may need a new power supply too. i have no idea where to start. there are so many different mobos/chipsets/processors out there that i just glaze over when i try to make sense of it all. keep in mind that i'm a student with little time to do a ton of research. i used to keep up with it all but i haven't followed the new technology for the last 2 years.

my budget is 5-600 dollars max. i simply want the best i can get for the money. i think the prescott has the bigger cache (which used to be important, i dont know anymore;) , but i haven't heard really good things about the prescott and i'd imagine its more expensive because it's newer. could someone steer me in the right direction? which motherboard/chipset would be best. i'm looking for something tried and true, not wild and crazy. i dont give a crap what it looks like either.
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  1. You're going to need a new case as well. AMD has the performance lead right now and often (not always) better prices. Prescott runs a bit slower than the Northwood for the same reasons the P4 performed worse than the PIII clock for clock. However the differences between those cores are much smaller, hence the difference in performance is very small.

    The Prescott is actually cheaper than the Northwood. But like I said, AMD has the performance lead right now.

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  2. Tried and true? Hmmmmm! A Northwood or a Prescott on an IS7 works good. An A64-3200 on a Chaintech VNF3-250 works good too. Use Crucial Ballistix on the IS7 and any PC3200 on the AMD. The 865PE chipset for the Intel and the Nvidia Nforce3 for the AMD work fine.

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