Most of my desktop is getting pretty outdated. I just started working so I finally have some cash in my pocket. Which part should I upgrade first, and what should I replace it with in order to get the most price/performance?
AMD XP 3200+
Abit NF7S v2.0 Motherboard
1 GB PC3200 RAM
ATI Radeon 9800 Pro
I think those are the only parts I want to consider replacing at this point. So basically, should I go for the graphics card, the motherboard/CPU, or the RAM? What will speed me up the most especially on games?
Your entire system needs an overhaul. If you upgrade your graphics card, you'll likely start bottlenecking at`your CPU; not to mention possibly needing to upgrade your power supply as well. If you upgrade your CPU/Motherboard, there is absolutely no point in getting another AGP slot motherboard; which means having to upgrade your video card as well. If you can, just wait until you can afford a full system upgrade.
If you can't wait, then probably the best thing you could do is upgrade your graphics card and making sure your power supply can handle the higher power requirements of most newer graphics cards. I'd look into the NVidia 7600GS Series for AGP or the ATI X800 series
The gfx card is priority #1. However, upgrading to an AGP gfx card these days is a dead end, so not a smart budget move. Your other choice is to get a new MB, new CPU, likely new RAM (DDR2), a new gfx board, and probably a new PS for all the increased power draw.
How much money do you have, and what are the brand/models of the parts you are keeping (especially the PS)?
Get this motherboard, ASRock 775Dual-VSTA, along with a new CPU (the Pentium D 805 is your best bet if your on a tight budget). Then you can reuse your video card and RAM until you can upgrade everything else. That will hold off a total rebuild for a while. That motherboard is even compatible with Core 2 Duo, and it has a seperate PCI express x16 slot for a new video card and 2 dimm slots that support DDR2 RAM.