My question is, is it worth trying to salvage that CPU and maybe putting it into a newer MB or building a Dual CPU with a PCIX graphics card or SLI? or is it really the biggest bottle neck? Basically I need advice what is really my biggest bottleneck its seems the AGP Card is probably the issue followed by the cpu, but i was wondering on a budget if there is anway to wake up this system or should I just throw in the towel and start from scratch. I also seems I may not be able to salvage my memory cause if i went with a athlon with ddr it might not be fast enough memory.
You can't salvage that cpu, at least not for a new gaming build. socket 478 is completely dead. Either sell off your old cpu/mobo or find another use for your old rig. The DDR ram, AGP card, hard drives, optical drives, etc, can be reused by using certain Asrock (and I believe ECS has one now) mobos that support Conroe yet allow for either DDR ram of DDR2 ram and an AGP 8x slot or a PCIe 8x slot. The cpu itself simply cannot be incorporated into a new build. It may not necessarily be the biggest bottle neck, but the Netburst architecture is not the best for gaming. The Core 2 Duo would serve you well, as would AMD's K8 processor line.
Your memory is fine. It takes DDR2 800 memory to finally beat out DDR 400 when you compare identicle platforms from the socket 939/socket AM2 line. A socket 939 build would be the most budget friendly and offer the biggest performance per dollar for what you will be doing (gaming). If you want to go with Intel, Asrock and ECS should have a few motherboards that you will find interesting. Also check out Anandtech's reviews on these Asrock boards. The Asrock 775i65g is a very strong board, but it is AGP only.
Core 2 duo runs 1:1 with DDR2 533 (pc4200) ram, because Core 2 Duo's bus is quadpumped, just like the P4, so the true fsb is 266 Mhz. You could use some DDr667 (pc5300) ram as well. The nice thing about Intel's Core 2 is that it is not as picky about ram speeds as AMD's AM2 K8s, so pc4200 will work almost as well as pc5300.
When it comes to graphics, SLI could be a problem. AFAIK, only the 975X chipset can support SLI. All the other Conroe-compatible chipset cannot. If SLI is something you simply must have, expect to be paying quite a bit for a motherboard.
Like I said before, if you want a true down and dirty budget build, check out what Asrock has to offer you.
the absolute minimum you need is DDR2 533 or PC2 4200. that would be enough to sync with FSB. However, if you want to overclock DDR2 667 and 800 isn't out of hte question. BTW htat 1066 rating is really hte bus speed which is FSB quadpumped (1066/4=266). Boardwise right now, The options are rather limited, you're looking at Gigabyte DS3, DQ6 or Asus P5B (deluxe). Video card, id get midrange and wait for DX10. A x1800xt or a 7600gt should be fine to tie you over. You could shell out a grand for dual 7900s but y bother when they will be retired within the foreseeable future? BTW, there really isnt any impressive nforce offerings for conroe yet so SLI is gonna be rather rough..
Basically I need advice what is really my biggest bottleneck its seems the AGP Card is probably the issue followed by the cpu, but i was wondering on a budget if there is anway to wake up this system or should I just throw in the towel and start from scratch
Your cheapest upgrade to boost performance is to replace your video card. The 6600GT is slow by today's standards. Your P4 3.0GHz CPU may not be on the leading edge of technology anymore, but it is still a good CPU for games.
Click here for a GPU comparision reveiw. The X850Pro is not part of the review, but you can see that the slower X800Pro is significantly faster than the 6600GT. I would peg the X850Pro to be slightly slower than the X800XT PE which is near the top of the chart.
For a mere $156, you should see a good boost in performance. Or you can spend about $700 - $800 for a Core 2 Duo E6300 system. That would cover CPU, GPU, motherboard and RAM. Naturally a Core 2 Duo build will give you better performance than just a video card upgrade, but will cost around 5x more than just the cost of an AGP video card.
PNY 7600GT 165.99(125.99/w rebate)
Good solid midrange. nice upgrade from what you have and can add another one later or upgrade when DX10 cards hit.
This combo totals right at $800 after rebates (I know its more out of pocket but I've never failed to get a rebate yetso I say what the heck and it gets you a great system.
Don't worry too much about your power supply unless you start running several more drives or upgrade in the future to SLI.
You could alter this recommendation slightly but downgrading Ram a little to OCZ PC 5400 2x1GB which would allow upgrade to Gigabyte 965-DS3 mobo. This gives you a more overclockable motherboard but at the cost of SLI as an upgrade path. I'd probably just get the ECS since your budget is tight. Their recent boards have seemed quite stable and thats what its about at the end of the day eh?
One other different option would be to just lower the CPU to the e6400 and then use the Asus top end mobo if you feel like you must get deep into OC'ing and have SLI path all at once. Well thats one persons opinion for you at least
Up to you but I sure hope this helps, sorry it took a while for this but I'm at work
Then using my current pc3200 DDR memory and replacing the CPU with a Core Duo 6300 or 6400
Then adding a decent graphics card? would it be a waste to put a cpu in a cheaper mb like this?
It also supports PCIX 16, so i can use one of the better graphics cards.
The board you linked does not support Core 2 Duo. Also, the baord only has a "PCI Lite" slot, meaning a 4x PCI-e slot. There should be a similar ECS board out their that does support Core 2 Duo though.
EDIT: Found it. No AGP slot, but you can use either DDR ram or DDR2 ram. Apparently no dual channel support:
Either that ECS board or Asrock's various boards are your only choices if you want to re use your DDR ram. Unless you absolutely need to have the AGP slot, I would recomend Asrock's 775Twins-HDTV, as it is based on the express 200 chipset, which is a better performer than the Via chipset found on the ECS.
EDIT: I just checked the availibilty of the 775Twins-HDTV. Looks like unless you live in Australia or in the UK, you're not gonna find it. Also it costs around $100 US dollars, so it's not that cheap. Still, it would make for an awsome HTPC with its TV-out. It looks like the ECS or Asrock's varient that uses the PT880 pro are the only boards available for a super cheap build using DDR ram and PCI express. Here a link to Asrocks board. I think it is the best board for you.
its a bit old but heres a review of the 7600gt and it includes the 6600gt for comparison
or just look at THGs own interactive gpu charts HERE
in half life 2 a 1900gt can double the performance of your 6600gt ! whilst a 7600gt gives you modern day features that the 6600gt doesnt have and gives you almost double the performance of a 6600gt HERE