Which component should I upgrade?

I’d appreciate some advice on upgrading my gaming computer.

To get most bang for my buck, which component(s) should I replace? I want to keep it under $200, but this needs to be a significant improvement or else I just hold off and build an entirely new one next year.

Asus P5W Deluxe Mobo
Core 2 Duo E6600 CPU
2 Gig RAM
8800 GTS 512 Vid Card

I’m currently using a 22” 1680 x 1050 monitor, but would like to upgrade to 1080p at some point. Or should I wait until I build a new system to handle the increased resolution?

Thank you

Update: I read thru some more posts and now suspect that the best answer is to OC my processor (which I haven't done) and not throw more money at this computer.

Also, I just saw tecmo34's post of recommended builds and maybe I won't wait so long to build a new one afterall. I can re-use a lot of my current system (case, hard drives, sound card, heatsink, power supply, mouse, keyboard, monitor), so really I just need a mobo, vid card, RAM, and (reluctanty) Vista.

That will be a lot more that $200, of course, but I'll need a new sytem eventually in any case.

Pretty sure I've just answered my own question :) Sorry if I've wasted your time.
10 answers Last reply
More about which component upgrade
  1. not entirely, if you don't have an aftermarket heatsink/fan and good thermal paste, spending $50 there will allow you to get a much better overclock and be a good investment. If you can find a suitable RAM kit cheap, buying another 2 gigs isn't a bad idea either. Waiting for a major rebuild is a great idea, but you don't have to suffer with slow performance until then.
  2. Thanks wathman.

    I should have mentioned that I have Tuniq Tower 120, using Arctic Silver 5 (should paste be re-applied?).

    I'd love to put in more RAM, but isn't using > 2 gig ram in an XP system problematic? I've read about the /3 gig swich and it seems to be a hit or miss sort of thing, even causing BSOD in some cases. Tho I'll admit I dont know very much about it.
  3. Your current rig should give you pretty fair gaming at your current resolution.

    You might try a mild OC on the cpu, even if you are using the stock cooler (not sure you are).

    With a mild OC and a 275, you'd have good gaming at 1920.

    However, if your gaming is tolerable, you'd be better off having patience and hold off until next year and with more money saved, get a new system.

    (You can put 4G in XP, but you will only see maybe 3.25 usable.)
  4. yeah, there should be no issues with putting in 4 GB, just make sure you have all your service packs up to date. You'll only get 3.25 GB usable as Twoboxer said, but that's still 1.25GB more than you have now. As for reapplying the paste, it's not necessary unless you dismount your cooler, or you are finding that your temps aren't as good as they used to be.
  5. Id be tempted to buy a cpu cooler and a better gfx card .

    Nothing else is worth it , or you get in to upgrade hell where you pretty much replace everything

    and by getting a card now you can delay replacement for a year or two
  6. Latest rumors have the Radeon 5000 series cards coming out on Sept 22, if you wait to pick one of those up, you could build a machine around that when you have the budget for it.
  7. Thank you all for the information. I'll OC this weekend and see where that gets me. And yeah, another 1.25 RAM would be great. No reason not to unless I just build another system instead.

    By the by, the reason I'd wait to re-build isnt so much the money but, as Twoboxer pointed out, its that my current one isn't *that* bad. It definitely still has some legs and between OC and more RAM, sounds like I can keep it in acceptable limits for while yet.
  8. I meant to ask: Do I put in 4 gigs without using the 3gig switch thing for XP or is that still required?

  9. Definetly make sure you have a good cooler if you want to overclock. Anyway just google "overclocking the Q6600" or something if you need some help getting started. Anyway I would certainly get a better CPU cooler and upgrade your GPU. Keep in mind that you have a crossfire board so if you go with an ATI card you can add another one latter for crossfire. The 4870 1GB is a good buy right now, assuming an appropriate PSU of course.
  10. If you read the cpu message board there are great articles on OCing C2D .

    Just watch the temps .
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