Point me in the right direction to upgrade PC to play GTA4 and FC2

Hello everyone. I am new to TomsHardware Forum and I need your help. Will you please help point me in the right direction to upgrade the budget computer setup I built two years ago?

The goal is to be able to play Far Cry 2 and Grand Theft Auto 4 on as high as settings as possible but within a budget of course. I am currently using Windows XP Pro and do not plan on using Vista. My computer also takes 2 minutes to completely load from pushing the on button and I would like to improve that time.

I feel wasteful of having to replace all of the major components already after 2 years to accomplish this. If there are new parts that will increase the "out-dated" part time of two years to much farther out, it would be preferred and if there are any parts that can be retained, please let me know.

Here is what I currently have:

APEVIA X-CRUISER-AL Silver Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case I would like to keep this. I like it.


ASRock 775Dual-VSTA LGA 775 VIA PT880 PRO ATX Intel Motherboard


Rosewill RE502-SLV 500W ATX12V v2.03 Aluminum Power Supply


Intel Pentium 4 650 Prescott 3.4GHz LGA 775 84W Single-Core Processor Model BX80547PG3400F


Rosewill RCX-Z2 7 blades 80mm reverse ball bearing fan CPU Cooler


Leadtek WinFast PX7900GS TDH 256MB GeForce 7900GS 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card


HITACHI Deskstar T7K250 HDT722525DLAT80 (0A31611) 250GB 7200 RPM IDE Ultra ATA133 Hard Drive


M-AUDIO Revolution 5.1 5.1 Channels PCI Interface High-Definition Sound Card


A-DATA Vitesta 1GB (2 x 512MB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 (PC2 5300) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model ELJPE1908K


CHIMEI CMV 937A Silver-Black 19" 8ms Widescreen LCD (Analog) Monitor


Sony Optiarc Black IDE DVD-ROM Drive Model DDU1615/B2s




I made a mistake and just received this graphics card yesterday. It will not work with my PCI express x4 according to the manual; it must be x16. However, I face 15% re-stocking fee if I return it.

EVGA 512-P3-N871-AR GeForce 9800 GTX(G92) 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card


I also bought this connector, which may be incorrect:

Athena Power 6" PCIE 6 pin "Y" Split to Two PCIE 2.0 8(6+2) pin Cable Model CABLE-YPCIE628


If anyone would please help straighten me out and educate me on what to do, I would greatly appreciate it.


12 answers Last reply
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  1. What's your budget for this upgrade? I'd say you definitely need to upgrade the motherboard/CPU/RAM. Here's my suggestions without knowing your budget.

    GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3R LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail


    Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.155178 $269.98 - $15 MIR in a combo deal

    G.SKILL PI Black 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231209 $49.99
  2. That would be within my budget, but what about the rest of the parts? Like the video card(current and the new one that is not compatible?). Would everything else work and meet my goals?
  3. You should still post what your budget is so we can maximize your bang for the buck.

    You could use the 9800GTX with the board linked above.

    Rosewill PSU's are known as ticking timebombs. You should probably replace it with a quality PSU from a quality manufacturer like Corsair, PC Power & Cooling, Antec, etc...

    New motherboards only have one IDE connector for a total of two IDE devices. New hard drives are much faster than they were a couple years ago, and the prices are pretty low. I'd look into getting a new 320GB or 640GB drive since their high data density makes them very fast.

    Here's some more suggestions:

    Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136319 $79.99


    WESTERN DIGITAL Caviar?SE16 SATA WD6400AAKS SATA 7200 RPM 16MB Buffer Hard Drive
    http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?ProductCode=10008688&prodlist=celebros $69.99


    Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD3200AAKS 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136074&Tpk=wd3200aaks $54.99

    CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139005&Tpk=650TX $99.99 - $20.00 MIR
  4. The motherboard you suggested is close to the one I originally found:


    Would I need the exta PCIE slot? Would it be worth it?

    I also forgot to ask if the Power Supply is ok.
  5. The GA-EP45-UD3P is a very nice board, but it's crossfire capable (multiple ATI GPU's), not SLI (multiple Nvidia GPU's). The extra PCI-E slot will be useless with an Nvidia GPU unless you see yourself using more than two monitors in the future.
  6. $500-600 budget, which is half of what I spent 2 years ago....
  7. With that budget, I'd go with the original motherboard/CPU/RAM suggestions and pair them with the WD6401AALS HD and Corsair 650TX motherboard. That only comes out to $500 before $35 MIR's - well within your budget for great components. You could even throw in a fast 22x SATA DVD burner.

    LG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model GH22LS30 - OEM
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827136153 $25.99
  8. I do not plan on using 2 monitors. I noticed it only has one PCI express 2.0 slot. So that I understand, SLI uses one of those and one standard PCIE x1 slot? I have had great luck with nvidia cards so that is why I have been sticking with them.

    How expandable is the motherboard for future use?
    I see CPU-wise it will be fine(uP to quad should buy more than 2 years?)
    Video Card-wise, I want to be ready to upgrade the card only and not the whole board
    Memory-wise, same thing

    I agree on the hard drive. I'm concerned about how to transfer information from my old one to the new one and keeping Windows XP happy. Never done it before.

    The PSU I have still works for the record, but I will take your recommendation into consideration and anticipated upgrading since I will be updating the board, card, CPU etc. I have been confused on what specs it must have, other than guessing the wattage...

    I appreciate all of the help shortstuff. Hopefully others will chime in agreeing with you or providing more options...
  9. SLI isn't an option on either board discussed here. The GA-EP45-UD3x series of motherboards are awesome! The G.Skill PI Black RAM is also great. No worries with either of those choices.

    You're really looking at a re-install of XP since this is essentially a new computer. I'm not sure why you're anti-Vista, but you should really think about upgrading to 64-bit Vista so you can fully use all 4GB of RAM. I use 64-bit Vista and have been very pleased with it. I don't have any compatibility or stability issues at all. The only BSOD I've ever seen was caused by pushing an overclock too far. :)

    Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders - OEM
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116488 $99.99
  10. Without SLI or Crossfire, how good will that motherboard last in all probability for gaming?

    I don't want to spend more money on another OS. Windows XP is fine with me. Is it not possible to transfer the data(pictures, music, games, etc) from the PATA drive to the SATA drive without buying another OS?

    TBH, I am frustrated that I have to shell out more dough to play cool games after I just made a large(for me) investment a couple of years ago. So this next upgrade has to be fairly expandable(5-6 year target until replacing all major components)e.g. I need to be smarter about the parts I choose. Not sure if this is possible or not....
  11. You could return the 9800GTX and pick up an ATI 4850 instead. That way if you went with the GA-EP45-UD3P and the 650W PSU, you'd have the option of adding another GPU in crossfire later. You're really limiting your possibilities for no good reason by sticking with an Nvidia GPU. The 4850 is a faster GPU and gives you the option of crossfire later.

    You could do a fresh install of XP on the new drive, plug in the old drive, and transfer your documents to the new drive. You could also use the old drive as a backup drive.
  12. Here is what I found, let me know what you think. Will this do what I want? Anyone have better opinions/ideas? I am still wondering about the ATI vs. Nvidia graphics card.

    How much faster will my computer boot up(current 2 minutes)? How well will GTA4, FC2, and Crysis play on this set up?

    Western Digital Caviar Black WD5001AALS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
    Model #:WD5001AALS

    SAPPHIRE 100245L Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card

    G.SKILL PI Black 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL4D-4GBPI-B

    CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply

    LG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model GH22LS30

    Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders

    GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard

    Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz LGA 775 Quad-Core Processor Model BX80562Q6600

    Total: $825.92

    Thanks Guys,

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