Best CPU, Motherboard, and graphics card for under $500

Okay guys, I am going to be doing an overhaul on my aging system. I need to know what setup you guys think will be the best for under $500. Keep in mind that I will be using my existing 1gb of pc-3200 so this can not be a DDR2 motherboard or CPU I am assuming.

As a side question: Would it be better to get a better video card and stay at 1 gig of ram, or get a lesser video card and increase the ram by say... 512mb?
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  1. Clinging to that GB of DDR RAM really limits your options... I'd say ditch that requirement and ask again.
  2. also knowing the specs of your current system would help too
  3. I currently have:

    Gigabyte GA-8IPE1000 Motherboard
    Pentium 4 2.6 gHz Northwood
    1gb Corsair XMS pc3200
    120 gb Seagate 7200 HD
    GeForce 7800GS 256mb


    I know that holding on to my memory limits options, but if I can I would like to use it. I am thinking that a 939 pin Athlon 64 is going to be the best for the money with perhaps a BFG 7950 GT?
  4. well... a very viable option, considering what parts you already have, would be to get an AGP/PCIe motherboard (or just AGP), another gig of PC3200 ram, and an X2 dual core cpu

    is the xms memory you already have, a single 1GB dimm?, or is it 2x512MB dimms? (just because of dual channel and 1T/2T timings, if you go for additional memory)

    but, that will keep you under $500 (so you have a bit more leneancy in what you choose to purchase)

    a tighter fit, would be to switch over to a PCIe gpu, PCIe motherboard, X2 dual core cpu, and possibly a single 1GB PC3200 dimm
  5. IMHO I would just goto Newegg.com search through countless reviews of 939 boards, AMD X2's or FX's, and some 7 series cards for the answer your looking for.

    You can still get good performing hardware for what you plan to spend so long as you are not trying to break any records.

    I could easily find a decent set-up for under $500. Especially since 939 is falling to the way side.
  6. Okay tell me how this setup sounds...

    AMD Athlon 64 3700+ San Diego 1mb Cache - Retail
    BFG GeForce 7950 GT OC 512 mb - Retail
    Gigabyte GA K8N Pro - SLI

    Total Price $440
  7. I pimp a Sandy and I'd say that as far as single core cpus are concerned thats a great one.

    Overclocks well too.

    But you may find yourself in trouble when trying to locate a retailer that still has those in stock. AMD stopped producing them and people quickly became aware that the retailers FX-57 just wasn't worth the $800 CAD price tag anymore when you could snag their $170CAD 3700+ and achieve the same performance.

    Goodluck and godspeed.
  8. Yup...so does Newegg.com for $89.00.

    Do you guys think the 7950gt will do fine...or is there an ATI card that would do better for the same price of about $270
  9. the mobo depends on if u want to OC or not, but as far as the CPU goes u can get an FX-55 amd for only $139 now and they used to be over $1,000. the graphics card just depends on what u play but i would look at a 7600 gt
  10. i wouldnt buy the 7950 only because the DX10 cards are out and you could buy a cheap DX9 until the 10's get cheaper
  11. Not Bad...

    Heres a little more bang for the buck I think...

    AMD Athlon 64 4000+ CPU @ 2.4Ghz
    Paired with
    DFI LanParty UT RDX200 CF-DR 939 Mobo ATI Radeon Crossfire
    Combo Price: $174.00
    ATI PowerColor Radeon X800GTO 256 GDDR3 PCIe X16 - $87.00

    For a grand Total of $261.00 +S/H

    Link:Newegg Combo Deal Here
  12. We now know who the professional shopper is in this thread lol


    I would just add a HSF Artic Freezer Pro. Last one I bought from Neweeg was just under $30 and does a great job!
  13. Don't forget that you can sell your old RAM on eBay, which would lower the effective price of new RAM. Dropping $500 on a DDR system right now is pretty iffy, what with DX10 and Vista around the corner.
  14. The reason I am doing this now is becuase my MB fried. All things concidered, I won't be going for a DX10 card for quite some time. I finally decided to go with the following:

    EVGA 7950 GT KO 512 mb
    A64 3700+ San Diego 1 MB Cache
    Biostar TForce4 SLI NF4 SLI 939


    I think that should handle the games that I like to play (CS: Source, Quake 4, BF 2142) and do it with much higher framerate that I get now.

    Thanks for the help guys.
  15. I'd go with the San Deigo 3700 retail, MSI K8N neo4F (or NF4U or SLI if features you must have), and a X1950XT 256MB. That's under $450 with a better video card.
  16. I would suggest going with a motherboard that you can upgrade on further in the coming year or two. If you give up a little of your Graphics power, you can go with an AMD 64 X2 chip. This will give you a motherboard that can take a faster processor later, and you can always buy a faster Graphics card later as well. Take a look at this list:


    ECS NFORCE4M-A (V3.0) Socket AM2 NVIDIA nForce4 4X ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
    Model #: NFORCE4M-A (V3.0)
    Item #: N82E16813135028
    $55.99

    XFX PVT73GUGE3 GeForce 7600GT 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card - Retail
    Model #: PVT73GUGE3
    Item #: N82E16814150186
    $137.99

    AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ Windsor 2.0GHz Socket AM2 Processor Model ADA3800CUBOX - Retail
    Model #: ADA3800CUBOX
    Item #: N82E16819103735
    $148.00

    OCZ 1GB (2 x 512MB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ2P8001GK - Retail
    Model #: OCZ2P8001GK
    Item #: N82E16820227082
    $124.99

    Subtotal: $466.97

    That particular graphics card should do well for you. Looking at tests, in Prey at 1280x1024 with 4x AntiAliasing and max details you still get over 30 frames per second. This card would hold you until you can spend more later. More importantly, you can upgrade your processor later when prices fall even more. Think of the Multiprocessing capabilities you'd gain with the better processor.

    There's still a little left over to go with a better motherboard or whatever.

    Just my thoughts.
  17. Quote:
    I'd go with the San Deigo 3700 retail, MSI K8N neo4F (or NF4U or SLI if features you must have), and a X1950XT 256MB. That's under $450 with a better video card.


    Where in the world do you see an X1950 XT that would fit into my budget? From what I can tell, they are all ~$400+
  18. Quote:
    I'd go with the San Deigo 3700 retail, MSI K8N neo4F (or NF4U or SLI if features you must have), and a X1950XT 256MB. That's under $450 with a better video card.


    Where in the world do you see an X1950 XT that would fit into my budget? From what I can tell, they are all ~$400+

    Newegg... $269
  19. Ahhhhh....

    Well, I wanted to stay away from OEM products. I'm sure that it would have worked fine, but I have bad a couple bad experiences with OEM items.
  20. Quote:
    Ahhhhh....

    Well, I wanted to stay away from OEM products. I'm sure that it would have worked fine, but I have bad a couple bad experiences with OEM items.


    Ok then: Retail
  21. Sapphire's are out of stock but the reference HIS is $269 for a retail:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814161047

    Or $319 for the IceQ3:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814161048

    Good stable mobo, I've used many of them $65
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813130491

    Pick your CPU:
    3700+ retail: $89
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16819103539

    4000+ retail: $128
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16819103529

    Anyway, the 3700+, that mobo, and the X1950XT total about $435 shipped, giving you room to pick a NF4U or SLI mobo if you want one, and/or the 4000+.
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