Hey guyz, I'm pretty new on these boards... but from what ive read (besides the flaming of fanboys) you seems to know your stuff. I built my pc 2 years ago and i think its time to upgrade. My main problem is that i am in college with not alot of money. I plan on doing this is steps so if you have any idea as to what i should do first that would be great. As a side note, im an not a AMD or nvidia fanboy, im more about performance for the buck so i am open to using intel or ATI. thanx again for any help you can offer.
My current setup is..
CPU: AMD 64 3800+ overclocked to 2.5 - stock cooler
MOBO: MSI K8N Neo4-F 939 pin
Vid card: eVGA nvidia 6600 256 mb - slighty overclocked (at work so i dont remember the exact figures)
RAM: 1gb of corsair value select ram - left at stock timings
a cheap 420 power supply (i am well aware that i need a new psu)
If you mean upgrade your current machine as opposed to a new build, I'd start by adding a GB of RAM then go with a better dual core processor and then a video card. While for gaming a new video card would be better, I've been reading where nVidia is coming out with new cards so it's likely they'll be a price drop sometime in the not to distant future while AMD CPUs are already pretty inexpensive right now, however, now that the 939 is last generation, it's likely the price for the CPUs will go up. Ran into to this with a 965 board a few years ago.
If you want to game, your first step should be a new GPU and PSU. It would be hard for me to suggest anything less than a 8800GTS 320 at this point.
If you don't game much, or only play older games, a dual core CPU may be the way to go. There have been a few threads on here debating the merits of going dual core at the same or slower speeds than your old CPU.
well its mainly for gaming, COD2. but with COD4 coming out i want to be able to run it. from what i have gathered it seems like i might as well just get a whole new AM2 (or whatever the latest intel socket is) motherboard. because i cannot find many 939 processors. which means new ram, and new cpu all at once correct?
If you want to move to an AM2 or Core 2 duo system, you will need a new mobo and DDR2 memory (unless you go with the ASRock board that supports both DDR and DDR2).
A few days ago Newegg had the X2 3800 and 4400 I think. That would be a cheaper way to go, but personally I don't think it would be worth it.
Quite honestly, unless your main use for your comp is encoding, HD Video work/playback, or playing Supreme Commander/Flight Sim X, I don't think a CPU upgrade should be your priority.
If you want better performance in games, in terms of frame rates and image quality, your money is best spent on the fastest GPU you can afford (within reason).
The vast, vast, majority of games will leave you GPU limited unless you play at very low res/IQ.
I'm guessing someone will come on here and say that your 3800 will bottleneck an 8800 GTX blah blah blah. That simply will not be the case if your main goal is to play games (with the exception of Flight Sim X, and maybe, maybe Supreme Commander type games) without having to upgrade everything.
Sure, an e6600 OCd to 3.6 Ghz will give you a handfull more frames at 800x600 res. If you're playing at that low of a res though, you might be better off investing in a good pair of eye glasses now and save the computer upgrade for later.
At normal gaming res, 1680x1050 or even 12x10, your money will be best spent on the highest performing GPU you can get. (an AM2 6000+ will give you, what, 17% increase in clocks at a cost of about $400 with ram and mobo. An 8800 GTS 320 will give you a MUCH greater increase in game at a price of about $270).