The last time I upgraded this computer, it was to play Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. Doesn't seem like that long ago, but the way modern games are chugging at any decent resolution, I figure it's time to bite the bullet and upgrade.
Standard ATX case (aka I don't need a new case)
Old 450W PSU (from 2002... figure I should upgrade this if only in the name of wear)
ASUS A8N5X 939 NVIDIA nForce4 ATX AMD Motherboard
AMD Athlon 64 3700+ San Diego 2.2GHz Socket 939 Single-Core Processor
Kingston ValueRAM 2GB (2 x 1GB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200)
Running Windows 7 (release candidate)
Various (fairly new) optical drives
The big thing that jumps out to me is processing power... even Windows is starting to gripe about it, and I'm actually under the minimum requirements of some games. I've got about $300 to sling around, though I could have more in about a month if anyone suggests doing this in stages. Pretty sure $300 isn't buying me top of the line anything.
The TH community was a huge help last time I upgraded this thing, and so I look forward to hearing from you all this time. Thanks!
If you want to play modern games, you need more than a processor.
The motherboard is outdated, and dead end. They have not made socket 939 processors in over 3 years, so you must have bought the board right at the end of the socket 939? Don't feel to terrible, I did the same thing. Should have spent a little more back then and went with the new AM2 platform DDR2 memory, but oh well it's water under the bridge now.
Anyhow, yeah you are due for a motherboard, processor and memory. Good news is AMD has very attractive parts right now that are strong on gaming, and easy on the wallet. The old 7600GT is well past it's retirement age in the gaming department as well, it ain't gonna get the job no matter how fast the platform is under it.
However, your drives are fine I think. They are old, but if you been running them in RAID this long, they must be okay.
You would be hard pressed to find anything that will out perform the old Raptors. If they are still working fine, use'em till they die.
A new PSU is a must though. With todays hardware and video cards, you cannot skimp here, this is money very, very well spent to buy quality.
Thanks for the replies, guys - I definitely agree I need a new mobo/processor, and I guess that means new RAM, too. Stupid obsolete technology. Thanks niklas for the recommendations, I'll look around Newegg some more but those look perfect for my price range. GPU is next on the list, but I'll probably wait maybe a month for that. Sure I'll be back when the time comes, lol.
For this build, a relatively low power one, a 500W PSU is more than enough. OCZ makes solid PSUs, and this one would do you well. Really anything in this ballpark is suitable, look for brands like Antec, Corsair, PC Power & Cooling, OCZ, and Seasonic.
Between my not wanting to pay for an onboard GPU I don't need (I have a PCI-E graphics card, after all, even though it's old) and some RAM issues I'm reading about in reviews of the ECS board (apparently their default voltage is 1.6, and the GSkill ram I ordered should be running at a standard 1.5), I'm hesitant to just switch out the entire combo. I dunno what Newegg's deal is with returning only PART of a combo... my bet is they're going to slice the $20 they deducted for the combo right out of my rebate. What do you guys think - is this the right plan? Keep the mobo but upgrade the chip? Or is that fourth core worth the time and money? Thanks!