Out of the loop...

I've been out of the computer hardware look for about 2 years and I'm having a tough time with all the new components on the market... it seems like there is much more to choose from. I'm looking to upgrade my current system but need some advice. Here is my current system.

AMD Athlon 2500+ 1.85ghz
Gigabyte Nvidia Nforce 2 Motherboard
1.00gig RAM (I think it's 2800)
Nvidia GeForce 6800 AGP

I play MMORPGs, more specifically Everquest II. I would like to be able to run the game at high settings without vast amounts of lag. My budget for a PC is $650.00
There are very good deals on Newegg but I'm unsure of the right mix of components that would work with this budget. I was looking at a Intel Dual Core 2.8ghz, Nvidia 7900GS, 1.00gig RAM, Decent mobo.
Can anyone recommend a good setup or such? Thanks.
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  1. I'm somewhat surprised your rig can't run Everquest 2 decently ...
    I never played EQ2, but it seems to me that it's a fairly old game (1-2 years?), hard to imagine it's that demanding.

    In any case, if your budget is 650$, assuming you will be re-using some hard drives, DVD drives, the following is a loose outline of my recommendations :

    CPU E6300 (Core2) - 185$ (Newegg)

    MB :

    1. Gigabyte p965 S3/DS3 (either one is fine)
    2. Abit Ab9
    3. Asus P5B /deluxe

    These should be in the 150$ range .

    RAM :

    Corsair or OCZ, dual channel 2*512Mb, you can upgrade later.
    (roughly 100-130$). Make sure the speed is 667Mhz or 800Mhz. This will make it easier for you later if you decide to OC your rig.
    There are many other good brands, but these are the ones I use and trust.

    You are left with roughly 150-200$ for the video card.
    With this budget, you should consider the following :

    x1950Pro - a very good upper midrange card
    x1900GT - similar to the above but older (getting harder to find)
    7900GT - starting to appear in the 150-200$ range, performance similar to above two cards

    7900GS is a weaker derivative of the 7900GT (some disabled hardware), and thus since you're upgrading from a 6800GT, in my opinion it would be somewhat silly to make such a small "jump".

    Since your budget allows it, don't cheap out and buy a d8xx or d9xx when you can get an E6300/E6400. THese are very performant and overclockable CPUs, and are much more future-proof. Don't let their low clock rate fool you either, they can do more /per cycle. Somewhat akin to how a 2.4 Ghz Athlon 64 can easily out-do a 3.4Ghz Pentium 4.

    Good luck with your build and Happy NY !!

    PS : Hmm, I totally forgot about the PSU. A decent 400W+ PSU is needed here, and I'm not sure you will be able to re-use your old one (it's probably not ATX2.0). Antec, Seasonic, FSP, Enermax are amoung the better known PSU manufacturers. A 400-450W PSU from any of these companies "budget" lines is the absolute minimum I would recommend, and will probably set you back 50$+ (less if you can snipe a good deal/rebate).
    There are many people on these forums with extensive PSU knowledge who can guide you in this respect, but I recommend you be sceptical of obsenely high wattage recommendations (500W+). Stability and a high amperage 12V line (at least 18A) is the main concern (in my opinion), not the ability to power an industrial assembly line.
    Be wary that if you decide to downgrade the CPU to "squeeze" a PSU in your budget, the older netburst-based (pentium D's) dual cores draw a heck of a lot more power than the new Core2s, making them more difficult to cool as well.
  2. Thanks for the reply! EQ2 is a fairly old game (about 2 years old). It runs pretty good on my machine now but it lags bad in populated areas. I also want to play future games with eye-candy. I'm going to be selling this current PC so I will have to buy a new case and PSU. As for the PSU, I used a calculator and it estimated I needed at least a 550W PSU. Seems kinda high... I will look at those recommendations, appreciate it! Any ideas for a good heatsink/fan?
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