Starting to see how the new games coming out are laughing at my system (see signiture)..
I can't afford a total overhaul, but I don't want to get a good, middle-of-the-road videocard, like a G-force 6600 or 7300 256mb 128bit memory (big difference between the 2?), and have any positive effect negated by my 1 gig of RAM, for example..
I KNOW I'll have to go up to 2 gig of RAM (right?)..
But can I just get a new video card at this point, or would it be foolish not to spend the extra $200 and upgrade my processor to say an AMD 3800 while I'm at it?
I won't have to get another motherboard, will I? It's been discontinued, so I think I'm SOL for drivers and BIOS updates..
Assuming you're on an AGP motherboard, you have to face an important fact. without moving to PCI-E you have a very clear ceiling ahead of you. Staying with 939, that will mean a new motherboard and then a new graphics card.
Moving to something else will mean a much bigger change, and then you're looking at new RAM either way (unless you get a hybrid mobo, like ASRock make), a new CPU and a new GPU to boot.
Tbh, with the system you have now, if it isn't working for you, I;d be tempted by a major overhaul of CPU, GPU, mobo and RAM (the latter is largely enforced).
Fanboys of both CPUs and GPUs may now descend to convince you in which direction you should turn.
That motherboard does not have a PCI-Express slot. See the specifications, here. Socket 754 is a dead socket indeed.
Even though socket 939 is also dead, it's a lot better than socket 754. The best socket 754 CPU I saw at Newegg was a 3400 for $155. Definitely not worth it.
Since memory is at a premium, you could reuse it by getting an ASUS A8N-E for $84 and then buy a 3700+ San Diego for $93. Then OC that bad boy to around 2.6GHz on the stock heatsink or maybe 2.8GHz if you buy a different heatsink like the Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro. And then get the X1950Pro video card for $199.
An hybrid AGP/PCIe motherboard would be the best route IMO, $239 will buy you an Asrock 775Dual-VSTA and a C2D E6300, you can migrate the rest of your hardware to this new platform and wait until the next gen GPUs hit the market (1Q07) and push the prices down on current video cards to replace that aging 9800.
That's more or less the same thing for memory, since the price on DDR2 have balooned, wait a bit after the xmas season before buying memory, by then, a pair of 1GB DDR2 modules will be resoneably priced following the swift drop in demand from the pre-built system manufacturers.