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Help in upgrading a budget gaming machine!

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February 19, 2006 7:02:04 AM

Hello Everyone,

I need some suggestions on what or how I can best spend my very limited budget of $500.

I use my pc mostly for gaming (AOE3, WOW) and the occasional music cd and dvd movie. However, I've noticed that there are the occasional lockups and slowdown in WOW and I'm sure thats because of my inferior system since the lag meter reading is fine.

I'd like to try and salvage as much of my previous hardware as much as possible. This is what I have so far :

AMD XP 1800+
ECS K7S5A MB (4x AGP only)
2x512 MB PC-2700 (333) - total 1gig of RAM.
ATI 9600XT 256MB
2x40GB Maxtor
500Watt Generic ATX PSU (only 6mos old - my original died after 2 years)

I'm looking for the best gaming upgrade I can get for my $500 - and please dont make fun of me.. I know I'm poor :(  I've slowly added and upgraded to my existing system. Just 3mos ago, I was still using a GEFORCE4 MMX400 64MB videocard!

Also, if I upgrade to a pc3200 only MB, will my pc-2700 ram still work on it?

Thanks for any help!
February 19, 2006 9:34:21 AM

If you're able to play the games you want, then I'd save up a few hundred more. The upgrade to PCI-E is a huge performance jump, and well worth it, but CPU, Board, Memory, and Card will likely be out of reach for $500.

Of course, you could always simply buy something like this, and keep or sell your old system. This will upgrade everything, and the only real hit you take is a drop in system memory.
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February 19, 2006 12:27:51 PM

Thanks. Both are good suggestions and within my price range.
The games I'm playing now need more juice as it stutters , especially WOW.

That is a good price for the entire system package... the video card leaves it a bit lacking though...

The epox mb is about $75 , the venice cpu is about $175 = $250
That will leave me w/ about $250 for a new videocard. I like this idea more :) 


I found this place while researching for the best deals... they have some pretty nice mb+cpu combos!!

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/Category/category_tlc.asp?CatId=14http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/Category/catego...

They got a combo of 7800GT 256mb card and evga k8-nf41 mb for $339!

Now what would be the best AMD cpu you can buy for around $150......
February 19, 2006 12:44:06 PM

I think you'd better get right now a mobo(130$ at most) a good CPU (230~AMD 3700 ) and spend the remaining 140 $ on 2 standard 2 GB memory sticks(PC 3200 2.5 CL). The video card will suffice for now. It is kinda old but it should still play games with most things turned on. You can OC it if you want(and mind you that this card is better than a FX5900 that was the best Nvidia card some years ago :wink: ).
After that,during the next months you can save 180$ for a 6800gt or 280 $ on a 7800 GT or 300 $ on a 1800 XL.
That way you'll end up with a mid-high end PC which should run with no problem current apps..
February 19, 2006 1:05:04 PM

Thanks for the advice, compgeek.

What do you think of this motherboard?

ASROCK 939DUAL Sata

It has both AGP and PCIE slots. Its attractive since I can do what you said.... use my existing video card now and it still leaves me room to upgrade later when I have the money without having to buy a new mb!

Any truth to the fact that mb's w/ both agp and pcie are slower? Like the PCIE is basically an agp architecture with the pcie adapter?

EDIT : Oh yea also the MB is only $69.99 ! Its so cheap... is it a bad MB? ASROCK MB
February 19, 2006 1:19:34 PM

It's great not to mention that it supports RAID 0. You can put you 2 40 GB HDDs into work. 70$? That's cheap. As Rock always came up with neat price/performance mobos though sometimes they had major flaws( 1 PCI for example).
In my opinion it's good enough though you should wait for other people's opinions as well.
February 19, 2006 4:20:02 PM

GET A NEW GRAPHICS CARD!
February 19, 2006 4:25:44 PM

Quote:
The upgrade to PCI-E is a huge performance jump, and well worth it.


I'd like to disagree with this statement. PCI express increases your ability to upgrade, but beyond that it does not provide really any performance increase.
!