You helped me build it - now help me breathe new life into it please!

Hi folks,

A while back this community helped me build whats been a wonderfully dependable gaming system. I am returning for your assistance in breathing new life into said system.

Here's what I have:
Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 (never over-clocked)
Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 motherboard
Patriot Extreme Performance 2GB (2x1gb) 240-Pin DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)
Sapphire X1950XT 256MB
HD 320gb SATA2 drive
Hiper 580W power supply
Viewsonic VX922 19" display
Windows XP Pro

What I'd like to do:
Revitalize the system without spending big $$. Interested in perhaps playing Age of Conan soon. Continue to play Crysis, EQ2, Half-life, Fear, Call of Duty...

Thoughts at present:
--RAM is cheap and my exact model above is still sold at Newegg for $25 ($50 - $25 rebate). I don't believe 4GB is necessary but for $25, why not...

--Update video card and change to a Nvida card. I don't think Age of Conan supports ATI and I would like to increase performance in the other games as well.

--Overclock CPU?

General Questions:
--I'm noticing many video cards are now PCI 2.0 - can you run those cards on older PCI Express X16 slot motherboards such as mine?

--Would it be worth it for me to overclock my CPU? I'd prefer to not stress the system if the performance increases will be minimal.

--My 580W Hiper should be enough for more current graphics cards, right?

Your thoughts, comments and suggestions are very appreciated. I will likely have some follow-up questions based on any reply's to my starter questions above. Thank you all again for your assistance.

9 answers Last reply
More about helped build breathe life please
  1. with your settings

    your questions.

    Question 1.
    Yes. They are 2.0 But they can run on motherboards that accept x16 aswell.

    Question 2.
    No really needed. The question is why are you going to overclock your pc?

    Question 3.
    Well Partially. It can run the current ones i think according to your budget but not in sli.
  2. get a 8800GTS 512 or wait like a month to see what happens when those new gt200 and hd4800 cards come around. OCing the cpu to 3+GHz would allow you to get the maximum performance out of the new cards.
    Your PSU should be just fine for single card configs, maybe even for dual 4870, those should be really power efficient cards
  3. The video card is gonna give you the most "life" for your dollar vs a new cpu, you already have a good cpu :)
  4. The 8800GTS is a good card but with a 19" screen I think the 8800GT 512 would be plenty (I'm running one on a 24"@1920x1200) and you can get one for around $150 after rebate. I would give overclocking a shot but do your research before. Since you already have 800 memory a jump from 1066FSB to 1600FSB, 1:1 FSB/RAM ratio, should be easily obtained and you will see a dramatic and free improvement in performance.
  5. All you need is new video card.
    Your 1950XT was a cherry of a GPU in it's day, I had a 1950Pro I used for quite some time and really liked it. However, I recently bought a BFG 8800GTS 512 OC, and my 3dmark 06 benchmarks literally more than doubled.
    I agree with another poster, pick yourself an 8800GTS 512 meg (g92) card, for the money, and even not for the money these are simply the best video cards you can buy right now for under ~$225.
    They will keep pace with the new 9800GTX's for less $$$.
    Or wait a few weeks on the new ATI cards....then wait a few more weeks and see how everyone reviews them. I personally do not like buying new hardware right at release. I prefer to wait 6 months until any bugs that come to light are ironed out.
  6. The extra ram wont be a visible benefit until you decide to go to Vista for direct X10. Your system will see apprx 3.25 gigs of the 4gigs installed. Since its so cheap it wont hurt anything to upgrade.

    I agree with everyone on the video card. The 8800GTS 512 is the sweet spot for the coin.

    I would buy the video card and the ram and run a few games and see how it does. If you run into any hickups along the way where you need more horsepower, then I would consider overclocking...
  7. Thanks for all the replies, I truly appreciate it.

    I will hold off on the CPU overclocking for now and will do that only if the CPU becomes the bottleneck in the system.

    For 25 bucks, I think I'll just get the RAM. I'm holding off on Vista for the kinks to get worked out (plus I like XP) but eventually Vista will become a reality, I suppose, so the 4gb will serve me well if that happens.

    Sounds like most are in agreement on the new video card and for the $$ I'd agree the 8800GTS seems to be the sweet spot at present. I know my 19" screen won't push the card but I've actually been considering a new monitor in the not so distant future so that will work out well.

    Always had good luck with Newegg so going there first it seems this is the forerunner:

    Video card $225 + Ram $25 = $250 and that's about all I wanted to spend on upgrades at this point.

    Thoughts on that card???
  8. Actually the 8800gt is the sweet spot and only 10 percent slower on average, but almost 25 percent less if you can find a deal.
  9. royalcrown said:
    Actually the 8800gt is the sweet spot and only 10 percent slower on average, but almost 25 percent less if you can find a deal.

    Good suggestion. If your budget better fits the 8800GT then it should be fine. If your good spending the 250.00 allocated for what you have picked out then I would go with that. 10% more performance could mean a lot to you in the next two years.
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