possible upgrade path...choices

This computer is our family gaming machine: (from April 2007- nothing over-clocked):

*Asus P5B Deluxe/WiFi (old Bios)
*E6600 cpu / 1066fsb / 4mb L2 / 2.4ghz
*Corsair / 2 gig / XMS2 / 6400 C4 (4-4-4-12) 800mhz
*nVidia BFG Geforce 8800GTS vid card (640mb)
*Seagate Barracuda HD /400gig /
*PC Power & Cooling PS / Silencer 610 EPS:
+3.3v = 24A +5 v = 30A +12V= 49A
*Creative Labs X-Fi sound
*D Link DIR655 Router
*Win XP Pro
*Lian Li case: PC-A16 A SIL RT

Considering doing some upgrading, and would like your ideas please...and check out my questions...

*Have another 1 gig stick of the Corsair memory coming in...3 gig is
all I can run w/ that OS, correct?
*Would it be worth it to go to Vista 64 bit? And, could I install it over
XP? If I do this...can then run 4 gig of memory, correct?
*At the Asus site, it lists the various cpu's that will run on this board...
what is the fastest & best-value cpu to get... and...
*I will have to update the BIOS...scary for me...many of Bios' listed
say "beta"...should I be afraid? Which one?
*Worth getting the nvidia GTX 280 or 260 video card? And, will
this MB "run" that video card w/ my PS?

Any other thoughts... THX, folks...

Brian in RI / USA
7 answers Last reply
More about possible upgrade path choices
  1. 3gb ram is fine in XP - but will you lose dual-channel (so the ram will be accessed more slowly) operation by only having three sticks?

    Personally unless you are busting for DX10, I'd stick to Xp-Pro for now - but then I'm an IT manager and my viewed is skewed - even though I evaluate Vista every 3 months there's nothing compelling to force the switch from XP-Pro. Also be wary - laods of older games will need fiddling / don't work on Vista, so check your existing games for compatability.

    Asus has the auto-bios update application for windows - just use that? It came on your mobo CD and will download and install the correct bios for you.

    I'd look at a Radeon 4870 instead of a 260, but they are similar enough in performance I understand - I have a 4870 and sh1te first drivers aside, it is an excellent performer.

    I'd also swap your router at some point - so many D-Link routers are poor when asked to do much more than just supply http.
  2. I'm going to put 2 new sticks of memory in there...same as what I have...matter of fact I think I hear the UPS truck pulling up w/ it now...so there will be 4 sticks for dual channel...but only @ 3 gig is accessed under Win XP, correct?

    Good point about older games and Vista...I really like the old golf game Links 2003...still play...might not run under Vista....

    If you think of anything else...let me know...thx

    brian
  3. Should be fine as long as your XP install is fully patched - I tried running 4gb ram in xp-Pro 32bit some time ago and had loads of problems - works fine now though on my Phenom box (maybe it was just a cranky motherboard). You will see just over 3gb ram in XP and the system will continue in dual-channel.
  4. Brian! good to see a fellow Rhode Islander on the boards!!! it may be the smallest state, but it's the greatest in my opinion...

    Like the OP said, if you only have 3GB in there for memory, it'll utilize the Full 3 GB, but you'll lose Dual-Channel mode and it'll be accessed a little more slowly... the best bet is to go with 4 GB of the same exact RAM, that way it's in dual channel and all the timings are the same. I have 4 GB (4 X 1GB) of exactly the same RAM running Win XP Pro 32-bit and it recognizes 3.456 GB. It'll differ depending on your video card and how much memory it has on it as well.

    As for the Vista question, i have always used XP and there isnt a game that i cant play on it, so it's been good to me, i havent tried Vista yet, but i may in the future... i'd have to say, just stick with XP for now, it'll be a minimal loss in the RAM factor and it seems that you dont absolutely need Vista so far...

    The fastest/best value CPU to get is currently a tie... if you want a dual-core, go with the E8400, it runs super cool and is insanely overclockable, if you want Quad-core, go with the Q6600, (basically the Q6600 is the Quad-core version of the E6600 Dual Core that you have, unless you're going to be using apps/playing games that use the Quad to it's fullest potential, it'll not be much of an upgrade) you can overclock it to 3.0 without a hitch. the difference is people may want a Quad as opposed to a Dual in regards to applications in the futute may utilize the Quad better than a Dual so this is all up to you. Personally, i'll have my E8400 for a little while longer it serves me great and i have it running from 3.0 stock to 3.6 with no voltage increase, just had to up the FSB... If you're going to get the E8400, update the BIOS to version 1236, this will ensure that whichever E8400 (either C0 - stepping or E0 - stepping) it'll work with that BIOS version. it is safe to use BETA version BIOS's.

    For the BIOS update, there's usually a BIOS update utility that comes with the MoBo CD, i'd stick with that, or read up on it and manually update. i have a BIOSTAR MoBo and i used the BIOS update utility and it worked easier than i could have ever thought. Ps. i'm using a BETA BIOS on my MoBo and no issues yet.

    That Power Supply will handle any single video card, that's a very good quality Power Supply. That Said, i'd have to agree with the OP, get the 4870 hands down, it's a GREAT single card solution...
  5. PCPower PSU, good boy.

    And if you are only using one video card the answer will be yes.
  6. Yup, think I'll OC my current cpu...see how that goes...then consider a new graphics card... GTX 260 or that Radeon 4780...or ?

    Guys, here's a dumb one...

    I don't know if my son has been changing my comp's setup, but I want to see everything loading at startup with line by line, rather than it jumping to the Win XP icon as it boots up. How do I get it to show all that info?

    Thx again...
  7. Thx, guys...

    Journeyman... E8400 / which is better, or doesn't matter... "CO" or "EO" stepping???

    Thx
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