Upgrading system, need advice.

Good day and thank you for clicking my topic!

I am planning to replace some components in my system to have a more up-to-date machine. However it's been 2.5 years since I last kept myself updated on the current generation GPUs, CPUs, MBs, Memory etc. so I am quite lost now. I tried reading some reviews around but the chipsets and CPU/GPU specifications don't say much to me anymore.

What I want to to? I play a few games, mostly Lord of the Rings Online, Warhammer Online and GTA IV. Also there's a few newer games coming out this year that I want to be able to enjoy at fairly high settings and smooth fps. I play at 1280x1024 on a Syncmaster 931BF so I guess I don't need the most high end card but good enough so I can use higher settings.
Hmm, I guess that's enough really. If it can run games well, it can also run OpenOffice, Maple, Matlab, LaTeX, DVDs and music (+ number of other utility programs) that I need for my studies. :)

Here's my current system, all 2y old unless stated otherwise:

Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3
Intel C2D E6300 at 1.86 GHz
Asus Radeon EAH4850 (6months old)
Corsair TwinX-6400 2x2GB
Xion XON-500F1AT 500W power supply
Samsung SP2014N 7200RPM 200GB ATA (4y old)
Samsung ST3320620AS 7200RPM 320GB SATA (holds OS on 120GB partition)

EDIT: I am willing and somewhat capable to overclock if that adds to system lifetime. Though I've had some problems getting over 2,2GHz, which should be no problem for that CPU+MB...

Now, what would most benefit me? My brief information gathering suggested that my GPU is quite fine (maybe upgrade to Crossfire?) and memory is ok too, so my biggest concern is CPU, Motherboard, PS and HDD. Would I get good results with upgrading processor and motherboard? What would you suggest, i7 or PhenomII? Though I think two cores would be enough for me.

Power supply, while enough watts, is quite old. So are my harddrives. Are my important files (music, school, research) at risk? This is pretty important, I use 6-8 programs at once usually which must put some stress on hdd. Should I construct a raid setup for backup? I actually don't need that much space anymore so a fast, reliable new hdd (SSD too expensive?) to install Vista, programs and most important stuff (60GB?) could also work.
I am happy with my monitor, keyboard, mouse etc.

My budget is "as-little-as-possible" which is a bit vague, I know, sorry. Maybe 300-600 dollars? (I live in EU so 250-450 euros)

Any advice would be most welcome!
5 answers Last reply
More about upgrading system advice
  1. I'd go PII 940 since you are a big time multitasker and play GTA4 (one of the few quad core games out there)

    Do pounds work for you? I don't know any EU sites...How is shipping to EU from the UK? I don't imagine its too bad...

    940: £194.95inc vat

    Mobo: £90.84 inc VAT

    PSU: £79.99inc vat

    HDD: £63.24 inc VAT

    Reuse all your other components. You can of course go cheaper on this, but those components I chose have future upgrades in mind for when you xfire. See if you can find any of those components cheaper in the EU, those are all pretty decent prices for the UK though.
  2. That's a start. That board runs Crossfire not to mention it's great for overclocking. The cpu is a deal at those prices and it's a great overclocker also...it has 3mb of cache runs at 2.8GHz @ 1066 fsb stock, and has a multiplier of 10.5. If you can get a decent heatsink...which I could not find on that site, your good to go. Later on get a larger psu and another 4850 and run them in Crossfire.

    http://hintaseuranta.fi/tuote.aspx/190426 <---cpu

    http://hintaseuranta.fi/tuote.aspx/188138 <---motherboard

    http://hintaseuranta.fi/tuote.aspx/188138 <---original site
  3. +1 xthekid all are the best components for that budget range...

    But if you still want to reduce cost, then u can go with the WD BLACK 320GB...will save u some money...but try to stick with xthkid's suggestions...

    And if u are not brand specific, then u can save some money with the Biostar 790GX motherboard...

    Well u can also go with the new Phenom II X3 720( Obviously not as gud as the X4 940 but will do the job)...they also offer gud value for money...And u will see a very big improvement from ur current setup...So some more money saved...

    So u can also look into this also...

    AMD Phenom II X3 Tri Core 720 Black Edition 2.8GHz (Socket AM3) - Retail£123.98 inc VAT

    Can keep the same gigabyte motherboard...and rest of the components given by xthekid...
  4. Excellent! I think these suggestions are enough for me to make up my mind.

    Thank you for the swift responses. :)
  5. Jagge said:
    EDIT: I am willing and somewhat capable to overclock if that adds to system lifetime. Though I've had some problems getting over 2,2GHz, which should be no problem for that CPU+MB...

    My vote goes to OCing the CPU. I think that your PSU is holding you back. Start by replacing it with a good quality 500W+ such as Antec Earthwatts, Corsair, Seasonic.
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