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Major upgrade on a very tight budget

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Last response: in Systems
April 22, 2008 10:38:13 PM

Its been a quite awhile since I’ve upgraded, right now I’ve got an Athlon XP-M 2600+ Barton running at 2.27ghz, Shuttle AN35N-Ultra 462(A) Nforce2, GeForce FX 5900SE 128MB, 1.5 gb of ram, an 2 120 gb western digital IDE HDs.

I use my computer for Photoshop, some video encoding, and some 3D work in Lightwave and Maya, though currently working in these programs is the concern not really high res rendering.

I have a very limited budget(~$400), but I’m in need of a quick upgrade for some classes I’m taking. I’m running Windows XP pro(32) right now I doubt I’ll upgrade to Vista for at least another year.

I haven’t really been following the hardware market since about 2004 so I’m at a little bit of a loss as to what to get. Although it looks like Intel now has a clear edge and I’d like to go that way, at the price point I’m looking for it seems like AMD is my best option.

Things I’m going to try to keep (for now) from my current system,
- Chieftec Dragon Mid-tower
- 8x NEC DVD burner
- 16x DVD Rom
- SoundBlaster Live! Platinum(dated I now but my audio needs aren’t high and I really like the front panel and remote)
- Wireless card

Upgrades I’ve got selected right now:
- Athlon 64 X2 5000+ BE(I plan to overclock to whatever I can get easily and stably)
- mushkin 2GB DDR2 800
- Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 250gb
- EVGA GeForce 8600GT 256MB
- ABIT AX78 I’m not certain of the motherboard, I wanted something that I could do some minor over clocking with and that I could possibly throw a Phenom into in a year or two on the cheap.

If anyone has them, I’d like some recommendations for a power supplies and heatsink/fan, or for that matter recommendations for on any other changes I should make. Thanks

More about : major upgrade tight budget

April 22, 2008 11:02:14 PM

lose the sb live, use the onboard. Standard list of quality coolers applies. Get something that will work on both the AM2 and 775 in case you change later. If not gaming much it looks good.
April 23, 2008 6:31:51 AM

Thanks for the reply.

I know its time to move away from the SB live, realy it was during my last upgrade, I mainly keep it because I like the I/O Drive, but perhapse its time to look for an alternative.

I don’t do much if any gaming anymore, so as far as graphics doing light to moderate 3D modeling and animating is my main conercn.

After reading a little more in other threads and sites, I’m wondering if a better choice might be a
Intel Core 2 Duo E4500
or even an E2160


These seems like it might be a bit stronger but perhaps less room to upgrade with the LGA 775 being discontinued.
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April 23, 2008 5:11:41 PM

Also, if you game at all, newegg had an 8800 gs superclocked edition video card for about 110 after rebates. I think it's like 140 before though. But if you game, I think that's a way better card. Depending what resolution you play at, it should at least hold it's own against a 9600 gt. So you may want to consider that as well.
April 23, 2008 6:47:16 PM

I can attest to the overclockability of the E2160. I have mine running at 3.2.

The E2160/DS3L is a great, inexpensive combo for performance. Just be sure to get an aftermarket cooler, like the Xigmatek HDT-S1283.