I'm trying to figure out the best upgrade path within my budget.
I'm going to be getting a 9800GT/4350 or 9800GTX/4850 card. I'll leaning towards the 4850 right now.
Processor and board? I can't do Core Duo for Intel so I'm guessing a P45or P43 (I don't know if the Q series (45) is better or not). On the AMD side I can do the 64 X2 whereas it seems like the Core Duo is the equivalent match on the Intel side but alas they are a lot more expensive, at least for my budget anyway.
So to that end, there are a few AM2+ boards under $100 (or close to it) like the ASRock AOG790GX, Foxconn A7DA-S or Biostar TFORCE TA790GX3.
Once I pair this with 4 Gigs of memory on my current XP machine I'll have a much faster system than I currently. Even though I can play most of the newer games on my older system, just not with all the eye candy turned on (Call of Duty: World at War, Crysis, Fallout 3). My old system runs on a Biostar M7NCD Pro board with a Socket A 3000 processor, a X1950 Pro AGP card and I was running 1.5 GB of DDR ram. As I only have a 19" CRT moniter I don't need to worry about the super high resolutions of my games.
As I'm happy now I can't imagine why I wouldn't be happy with my above wishlist. But, having been out of the upgrade game for awhile now I don't know if there are any caveats I need to look out for with my choices. I'm only upgrading as it is because I'm on the brink of not being able to play the games just about to be released and because I'm having problems with my memory slots and getting memory sticks to work right.
Yes, sorry, I meant the 4830. Thinking faster than I typed.
I was looking on Newegg at the ASUS P5Q SE/R PLUS, BIOSTAR TForce TP45HP and ASRock P45XE. I also noticed there are a lot of Asus P5Q iterations. Are there any that I should stay away from? I've read some of the P5Q boards were hit or miss.
So, I ended up going with the ASRocks AOG790GX board, 3 sticks of 1GB DDR 800 ram, a Phenom 8650 and the ASUS 4850 TOP card. All from Newegg.
For whatever reason it seemed to me that the P45 boards are old news whereas the GX boards are newer and offer potentially greater update support, crossfire support and the Phenom processors are just drop in whereas Intel is going the i7 route which is a different socket all together. At any rate, perception correct or not, this setup is still far and away much better than I was at. Considering I'm still on a 19" CRT moniter I'm not going above the 1280x720 (?) res anyway. But at least I have the full Shader and DirectX compatibility for another (hopefully) 3 or 4 years worth. Hopefully I won't have to upgrade to Vista either but that is another issue altogether.