I really don't know what to do and need help

So, here's the deal: I wasn't planning to upgrade, but some extra money came up and it's now something I want to do. I've asked several questions in these forums (sorry if I am getting annoying), but here I will sum up everything, hoping you guys can help me.

Current system:
Core2Duo E6400 @ 2.13 GHz
2 GB RAM PC-5300
ATi 4850 512 RAM
Asus P5B mobo
Generic 400W PSU
Western Digital HDD 250 GB-no idea what! (it can't be bottlenecking the games, right? It's only used during loading...or am I missing something? Swap file?)

I see two options:
1) Making a new system from scratch, hoping that I can sell my old pc for a small amount of money. If I do that, I will probably go for something like Intel 9550 (or 8600), ATi 4870, 4GB RAM (hopefully staying within budget, assuming I have sold my old pc).

2) Upgrading (oh the nightmare of choosing)
What I really need: New processor, new and decent PSU...however: Do I need more and faster RAM as well? A new mobo with PCI-Express 2.0? A Faster hard drive? I am planning on keeping my XP if possible...only to upgrade to Windows 7 at some point.

Once more, any help will be appreciated!

Thanks in advance!
12 answers Last reply
More about help
  1. I would recommend that you buy a very cheap video card, replace your current 4850 with it then sell the whole system. Use the 4850 for a new build. I don't know anything about your MOBO but i would guess it has a FSB of 800 or 1066 in which case you would be looking at some pretty serious bottlenecking with a new CPU and 4GB of DDR2 800 RAM.

    I/we can amke parts suggestions but in order to do so we would need to know your budget.
  2. ilovebarny, thank you for your suggestions, but I live in Greece, so ordering from newegg is out of the question...and prices are a bit more expensive here when it comes to PC parts. But thank you for taking all that trouble.

    mexpedip, you are right, my mobo only supports those FSBs...which means I'll need a new one of that as well, right? One that has a 1333 MHz FSB?

    I feel quite lost here!
  3. ya a new mobo and new ram ( 800mhz ram and the 1333 fsb) i dont know were you can get stuff but just so i dont have to write names out i will continue to use newegg. as i suggested earlyer this a vary good mobo to upgrade to: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131299
    the ram i suggested was good stuff too but you can get some for a little cheaper, corsair, ocz, g.skill,mushkin are good brands of ram. you will also need to upgrade your psu to at least 450watts but i suggest 500watts. if you want to upgrade your cpu, for a cheaper one get like the E7200, if you can afford it the E8400.
  4. Definitely agree with upgrading RAM and PSU. Get some DDR2-6400 (800Mhz). And I'd try to find a PSU of 500W or better (possibly more if you want to run multiple graphics cards).

    Your Hard Drive can indeed bottle neck things depending on whether it is a SATA hard drive, or an IDE drive. The SATA will allow for faster transfer speeds, thus faster load times, etc.
  5. I think you can upgrade your current system nicely.

    Check the ASUS site for confirmation on your motherboard, but I think you could upgrade your CPU to as good as a E6850 3.0, a Q6700, or a QX6850.

    For any core2 cpu, your ram is ok, but definitely upgrade to 4gb. It may be better to get a 4gb kit of DDR2-800 if you can't match your current ram exactly. The fastest ram you can buy will benefit you +1 fps-maybe. Not worth it to me.

    Your vga card is already very good. To avoid disappointment, do not upgrade it unless you can improve by several levels. That means you should be skipping the 4870/GTX260/9800GX2 and looking at a GTX280 or 4870X2. Nvidia might have something better than the GTX280 soon. Pcie-1 and 2.0 do not matter. VGA cards are forward and backwards compatible. The performance difference today is miniscule.

    For a PSU, look for a quality unit with a 6 pin pci-e connector and a 6/8 pin pci-e connector--at least. Quality PSU's come from PC P&C, Corsair, Seasonic, Antec for starters. The wattage is not important(amps are), and will be in the 550-650 watt range.

    A faster hard drive is a luxury item. The WD velociraptor is a great drive, and everything you do with it seems snappier. I love mine.

    ---good luck---
  6. Thanks guys, I think I am starting to get an idea about what I want to do. Here's another option I just thought of. Keeping the non-essential stuff (case, dvd-r, dvd-rw) and the graphics card and investing in a new mobo (it seems to me that I want/need/could use that 1333 MHz FSB), faster RAM and a processor. If the hard drive only affects loading times, it's fine by me. Patience is a virtue. I was afraid that it would reduce gaming performance, in case of file swapping and so on. So, the hard drive is a keeper as well.

    Now here's the question: Should I invest in a crossfire mobo and a good PSU (750W would be enough???), so that I can buy one more of those 4850s? Do two 4850 perform as well as a 4870? Better even? Plus, the good PSU will be kept for future systems as well, right? For the next 4 years presumably (even if it means it can take only a single card)?
  7. well investing in a crossfire mobo is fine, But i am not a big fan of crossfire/SLI.
    most games dont really run any better on two cards and there is almost always a better single card solution.

    yes 750watts should be enough for a crossfire/SLI setup.
  8. I think it is reasonable to go the crossfire route for increased VGA performance. I am also not a big fan of SLI/Crossfire, but in your case, it is an OK way to go. Just be aware that some games do not scale well.

    A good P45 based card is reasonably priced. How about the Gigabyte EP45-DS3R:

    A E8400 or E8500 would be good.

    If you will limit your vga cards to the 4850, or cards requiring only one pci-e connector, then a PSU with two 6 pin pci-e connectors will be sufficient:
    The PC P&C silencer 610 is a very good unit for $80:

    If, in the future, you might want to use stronget VGA cards like the 4870X2, then you will need more.
    The PC P&C 750(there are several) at $120 is not too much more:

    Absolutely, get 4gb. To avoid potential ram mismatch problems, get a 4gb kit of DDR2-800 ram in a 2x2gb configureation. Don't pay extra for faster speeds or better timings. It will not make a measureable difference in gameplay.

    For disposing of the old parts, I think selling them individually on e-bay will yield more than selling a complete PC.

    ---good luck---
  9. If it was my money, I'd just upgrade to some good DDR2 800 RAM, get a quality PSU, get a nice CPU cooler, and overclock your E6400.

    If you're willing to learn about overclocking, your E6400 CPU will easily OC to 3GHz+. I've been running my E6420 at 3.2GHz on a P965 chipset motherboard for about a year and a half with no problems. This puts my DDR2 800 RAM running at its rated speed at a 1:1 ratio (400 * 8 = 3.2GHz & 1600MHz FSB).
  10. Well, I don't really want to ruin my warranty, if nothing else, so I will stick with upgrading. Besides, I know nothing about OC.

    I think I am down to this:
    4GB of PC2-6400 RAM
    Q 9550 (or should it be an 8600?)
    PSU Corsair 750W (one that I found in a greek e-shop)
    Asus P5QC P45mobo (is it a good one? It's fairly cheap and seems to me futureproof being DDR3 capable...the site doesn't say if it supports crossfire; does anyone know?)

    And I am keeping the rest (Sata 2 WD 250 GB HDD and ATi Sapphire 4850 mainly). Graphics card will be upgraded as soon as it is obsolete for my monitor's 1440x900 resolution...I am thinking in about a year...other equipment seems pretty futureproof...at least for the next 2 years.

    One more question: If I do a format after the upgrade, will I still be able to put my old XP on, since the hardware is so much different? Vista Home Premium 64 is somewhat expensive right now...and 7 is around the corner...
  11. I would opt for the E8500 or E8400. Q9550 and E8600 are more expensive for marginal returns in gaming.

    The corsair 750 is very good.

    I would not use the P5QC. It is a combo DDR2/DDR3 board which is does neither well. Stick with a P5Q or similar DDR2 motherboard.

    You will get some hassle on reactivating, and have to call microsoft.
    Explain that you had to replace the motherboard and other parts.
    Assure them that the OS is installed on only one PC, and they should reactivate it.
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