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Need Some Advice On An Upgrade

Last response: in Systems
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January 7, 2008 11:03:32 AM

Firstly, sorry if this is the wrong area, but I'm pretty much replacing the whole computer so I guess it goes here.
I am currently going through the process of a major overhaul for my computer (you will see from my spec why I am). The computer I bought was a cheap premade computer which I bought when my old one crapped out on me.

I plan to use this computer for gaming, but I'm not completely concerned about running everything on max settings. I would just like to be able to run things decently and be able to go for awhile without upgrading anything major.

Currently I have;
Processor: AMD 4800 X2
Motherboard: Ausu M2N8-VMX (mATX, dont think it supports PCI-e 2.0/PCI-e x16 and if it does I doubt I could fit one on the board)
GPU: 8500GT
RAM: 2GB DDR2 (not sure on the speed)
PSU: 450W generic
Case: Gigatech Shinobi
Hard Drives: 2 Seagate 250GB (SATA)
DVD: LG DVD-RW (IDE)

Anyway, I've deceided I would like an Antec 900 case and a PSU around 750W to 850W that supports SLi/Crossfire (depends on what is availble), so this part of the upgrade is pretty much sorted, unless you guys can think of a problem with that combo.

As for the processor and GPU, what they upgrade to will be dependant on the motherboard. I would like to keep the RAM, HD's and the DVD drive.

My main concern is the motherboard and I'm not really sure what would be best for me in one. I am aware that Intel currently have the superior line up as far as processors go, but I am more than happy with the performance of my 4800 X2 at the moment. So the first question is, should I go for a board that supports an intel processor and buy a new processor (and what sort should I be looking at?), or go for an AMD one and keep the current processor for now? I'd also like to know if I should go for a mother board which supports SLi or one that supports Crossfire?

Also, would it be worth upgrading right now, or waiting for companies to start releasing their new line ups?

More about : advice upgrade

January 7, 2008 12:41:35 PM

If you listed the apps/games you run, it'd help us a lot in suggesting parts.
January 7, 2008 12:44:21 PM

akhilles said:
If you listed the apps/games you run, it'd help us a lot in suggesting parts.


Team Fortress 2, Call Of Duty 4 and Oblivion are the main games. I also do a bit of stuff in CS2.
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 7, 2008 12:45:17 PM

You are going to get a lot of people who tell you to dump everything you have and go with an Intel offering. If you want to do a complete platform change, and spend a few hundred more, that may be the best bet.
But, for a really solid gaming rig, excellent performance and least money this is what I would do for now. Your 4800 is indeed still plenty powerful enough.
Get one of these http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
The reason I picked these boards is they support Crossfire with both slots at full 16x, and are compatible with your processor and memory.

Drop your 4800 X2 in, your memory, the rest of your parts, overclock it a little, then add in 2 3850's or 2 3870's for Crossfire (Crossfire with these cards scales better than 2 8800gt's in SLI).

If you did want to go for a complete platform change, the new motherboards with the X38 chipset for Intel processors also support Crossfire. So if you want to go with a new Core Duo processor, you can get one of these boards. You still have to get a board with an nVidia chipset to run SLI, if you prefer to go that way.
But, as I said, if you want to run 2 graphic cards, the Crossfire setup is better than 2 8800gt's in SLI, for now, for the money.

My 2 cents.
January 7, 2008 12:54:10 PM

For pure performance, especially if you OC, you should go with Intel. AMD can barely compete on a price/performance, but once you OC, you throw all that out the window.. I wouldnt recommend Xfire or SLI. Without a set budget, I would recommend a P35 motherboard and at least a E6xx CPU and the best video card you can afford. All the P35 boards out there will take the new 45nm CPUs from Intel, so you can upgrade to the Q9xxx when the need arises. Your HDDs and DVD can be brought right over with no problems and the same for your memory. Just keep in mind that if your memory isn't up to speed when you OC, you will need to set the ratio so that the memory can run within its specs, but I wouldn't worry about that until the time comes.

EDIT:
What jitpublisher says is right in that depending on your budget that may be the best way to go. The reason I didnt offer that advice is because the next time you upgrade it will have to be to a new platform and you are just delaying the inevitable and spending money on outdated technology. In theory, you could upgrade to the Phenom on that new board, but thats assuming they release a BIOS update to get it working, which may never happen. Even if you did, unless they can fix the problem the Phenom it will still be slower than a comparable Intel system.
January 7, 2008 1:41:38 PM

hovercat said:
I plan to use this computer for gaming, but I'm not completely concerned about running everything on max settings. I would just like to be able to run things decently and be able to go for awhile without upgrading anything major.


It appears that you could easily meet your stated objective with the installation of a single graphics card. A 8800 GT or even an 8800 GTS 512 MB would provide quite a bit of power. Depending on the card, you might want to upgrade the generic PSU but even this might not be necessary. If you have Vista, you might want to add another 1GB of memory, with XP this would not be that significant. Do you just want to build a new computer now or have other objectives? If not, you might consider just the upgrades above and save your money for a new system in a year or two when you might need it and can buy more for that money.
January 8, 2008 10:52:30 AM

You say you don't have to max out everything in games & you can live with the 4800x2, so I suggest you get a combo of a new gpu & psu. i.e. H3870 or 8800GT 512 + a Corsair 450W VX? That will boost your gaming a TON. I don't think you'll see a huge difference with a new pc with the same or similar GPU.

BTW, don't worry about PCI-E 2.0. It works with 1.1. See my sig.
January 8, 2008 11:20:30 AM

My concern is more about the physical size of the graphics card. From what I've seen about the board, an 8800GTS would cover two of the RAM slots on the board. Would I still have this problem with an 8800GT/H3870?
a b B Homebuilt system
January 8, 2008 11:35:36 AM

Normally, I'd say just upgrade the graphics card and power supply and be done with it, but I'm worried about your motherboard. While it appears you do have a PCI-Ex16 slot, it's cut down to PCI-Ex8 (based on these specs). I'd have to recommend getting a new motherboard as well.

Since I'm not a fan of SLI or Crossfire, I'd probably recommend something like this Asus board to go in your new case.

-Wolf sends

January 8, 2008 11:49:20 AM

So if I went for a Corsair 55W VX (20 bucks more than the one akhilles suggested), a ASUS M2N-E and an 8800GT I should be ok for a while? And the Antec 900 should be more than enough to cool it right?
a b B Homebuilt system
January 8, 2008 12:23:47 PM

I would say your golden.

-Wolf sends
January 9, 2008 10:28:44 AM

Perfect. The 900 is the best cooling case from Antec.

Personally, I would upgrade the mobo instead of "sidegrade".

http://www.asus.com/products.aspx?l1=3&l2=149&l3=592&l4...

It supports AM2 & Phenom out of the box. Most AM2 boards may support Phenom with bios updates, but you'd need an AM2 CPU.
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