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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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....
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.