Need help deciding on $250 of upgrades

I need some help deciding on some parts to upgrade my current rig. I built it a while ago, then it fried on me and i had to buy emergency parts and have not been happy with it since.

here is what I working with right now:

PSU: Antec True Blue 430W
Mobo: ASRock 939Dual-SATA2
CPU: AMD Athlon 64 3800+
RAM: 2 Corsair PC3200 512 Mb, 2 Corsair PC3200 1 GB
GPU: PNY GeForce 7600GS 512 MB
Hard Drives: 2 Maxtor Diamond Plus 9 6Y120M0 120 GB SATA

I was inspired to do this not only by a couple of games I want to play (Fallout 3 & C&C Red Alert 3) but also by this featured article [,2054.html].

My 3dmark 05 score is in low 3000's and my 3dmark06 score is around 1700. Reading that article it looked like I could add that daughter board and spend another 200 for processor, graphics card and ram to achieve 4x the 3d Marks!

So, like I said the parts I am focusing on CPU, RAM, and Graphics Card, and that daughter board. Here is what I have so far:

AM2CPU Board: $30

Athlon 64 X2 6000+: $92

Graphics Card : one of the 8800 or 9800 cards that go on sale at the time, probably spend around $100.

Ram: I will just find a good 2GB set of DDR2 ram while time comes to pull the trigger. I never really worried about anything other than the size, please tell me if I should be more concerned here!

As you can see my main concern is getting the right processor and board. What worries me is I read some reviews about the AM2CPU board and they say its huge, may not fit my ugly Antec Plus 1000 case. ALSO, I have read I will have to buy a backplate for it to work. Not sure whats going on there. But I have time to figure it out as I will wait for Black Friday and other holiday deals.

So i got to thinking maybe a better mobo processor ram combo is out there that I don't even know about. This is where I am lost. Is there anything out there that I can do for the same price range and match or out perform the tom's article marks?

Thanks in advance!

EDIT: Fixed links
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  1. Yeah, that CPU daughter card is pretty big :D. I'm sure you'll find it to be a huge improvement from what you have though when you slap that 6000+ on it. You really are better off with the Windsor model though

    and it's even a little cheaper. I don't really think there is too much else you can do on that limited budget. On the other hand if a circuit city near you is being closed down you can probably get a good deal on a 4850 on black friday :D.
  2. I had no idea that existed. I'll have to see if that old ASRock board is still around.
  3. @Megaman

    Why would you go with the windsor model instead?

    Does anyone know about this backplate situation with the AM@CPU board?

    IF you don't think i can do better with the budget i have set, do you think I should save that money and wait for something else later? What would you recommend?
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