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Upgrade current gaming build or scrap and start fresh?

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October 27, 2009 9:24:02 PM

I've been contemplating whether or not to upgrade or start fresh, so I'd like to get some input from the community. First, what I currently have:

CPU – AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+
CPU Fan – Zalman CNPS 9500
MoBo – ASUS M2N-E nForce 570 Ultra MCP ATX
Memory – 2 sticks of 1Gb Dell PC2-6400 - got these for free *shrug*
Graphics Card – GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB
PSU – Thermaltake W0093RU 500w
Case – Raidmax Astro ATX-268WB
Optical – Generic IDE DVD/CD burner
HDD – 2x 80GB SATA Western Digital, 1x 80GB IDE Western Digital
Monitor – Dell 17” 1707FPt - I didn't get it from that site, however that's what I have.
OS - WinXP Pro SP3

There are some obvious (*cough* monitor *cough*) upgrades that I can do to improve my rig, but I was wondering if the remaining hardware was worth trying to upgrade or in the long run it would be better to just start up new. Thoughts?

In case you were wondering what I would do if I were to start fresh:
Budget: ~$1300 US (if an extra $25 here and there would make a significant difference, then I'm willing to spend it)
Parts not required: Keyboard + mouse (currently using Logitech Wave), speakers, OS (I own a copy of WinXP Pro, however I'd like to upgrade to 64-bit Win7)
Parts Preference: I've never been a fan of the ATI Catalyst drivers, so I've only used nVidia cards for the last 7+ years. Having said that - if the difference between the 250 and 5850 is significant enough, then I have no issue installing an ATI card. I'd also like to stay away from a full tower (I was actually thinking of picking up this Lian Li case)
Crossfire/SLI:Maybe down the road, for now I'm fine with 1 card

For reference, I typically play FPS (TF2, CS:Source) and RTS (Company of Heros, Warcraft 3) games. I will end up playing Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2 when Blizzard decides to finally release them.
October 27, 2009 10:00:42 PM

I am still gaming on an athlon 64x2 5400+ OC to 3.2GHz. I was running a 9800 GTX+, which is not much faster than the 8800 you have. Last week I put in a 5770 which is a noticeable speed increase (the 5770 is still not as fast as an nvidia 260, but it has DX11).

The nvidia GTS 250 is basically a repackage of the 8800, which is still a viable graphics card. The GTX 285 is nvidia's fastest single core GPU and the ATI 5850 is faster than it. In addition the 5000 series is DX11 capable. Maybe the 5750 is what you were thinking of, comparing it to a 250? ATI seems to have their drivers under control lately, but if you are stuck on nvidia you might as well keep the 8800 until next year when the 300 series will be released.

If you had rear fans in addition to side fans that case seems adequite. No strong need to replace it.

When you replace the graphics card, it looks to me like you may need to replace the power supply. You power supply does not list having any PCIE power cables.


In any case, I would say the monitor is the first thing to replace. Once you have done that, your frame rates may drop due to the higher screen resolutions. It may lead to a desire to replace the graphics card.

I would either wait for an nvidia 300 series or get an ATI 5850. In either case you will need to get a good 550W+ PSU with two PCIE power cables to run it. Once you do that you will likely find the powerful GPU, while faster than the 8800, is now being held back by the rest of your components.

Then you are talking about a CPU/motherboard/RAM update. I would recommend getting an AM3 (Phenom II) or intel 1156/1366 (i5/i7) with 4-6GB DDR3 RAM and a 500MB+ SATA 3GB or 6GB HDD and windows 7. At this point you would have a new machine.

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October 28, 2009 1:22:25 AM

dndhatcher said:
I am still gaming on an athlon 64x2 5400+ OC to 3.2GHz. I was running a 9800 GTX+, which is not much faster than the 8800 you have. Last week I put in a 5770 which is a noticeable speed increase (the 5770 is still not as fast as an nvidia 260, but it has DX11).

The nvidia GTS 250 is basically a repackage of the 8800, which is still a viable graphics card. The GTX 285 is nvidia's fastest single core GPU and the ATI 5850 is faster than it. In addition the 5000 series is DX11 capable. Maybe the 5750 is what you were thinking of, comparing it to a 250? ATI seems to have their drivers under control lately, but if you are stuck on nvidia you might as well keep the 8800 until next year when the 300 series will be released.

If you had rear fans in addition to side fans that case seems adequite. No strong need to replace it.

When you replace the graphics card, it looks to me like you may need to replace the power supply. You power supply does not list having any PCIE power cables.


In any case, I would say the monitor is the first thing to replace. Once you have done that, your frame rates may drop due to the higher screen resolutions. It may lead to a desire to replace the graphics card.

I would either wait for an nvidia 300 series or get an ATI 5850. In either case you will need to get a good 550W+ PSU with two PCIE power cables to run it. Once you do that you will likely find the powerful GPU, while faster than the 8800, is now being held back by the rest of your components.

Then you are talking about a CPU/motherboard/RAM update. I would recommend getting an AM3 (Phenom II) or intel 1156/1366 (i5/i7) with 4-6GB DDR3 RAM and a 500MB+ SATA 3GB or 6GB HDD and windows 7. At this point you would have a new machine.

Yeah, I kind of figured it would be a domino effect when trying to upgrade. Replace one component which will then cause another upgrade, and then another, etc...

I'll start out by replacing the monitor to see what happens, since that's probably my biggest upgrade I could use right now.
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October 28, 2009 1:42:48 AM

this is what i recommend under your budget:

CPU & Motherboard Combo: Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80605I5750 - Retail & ASUS P7P55D EVO LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
1. Intel BX80605I5750: $199.99
2. ASUS P7P55D EVO: $194.99
Combo Discount: -$25.00
Combo Price: $369.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

HSF: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 compatible RR-B10-212P-GP 120mm "heatpipe direct contact" Long life sleeve CPU Cooler - Retail
$29.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Memory Ram: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL8D-4GBRM - Retail
Dual Channel Intel Core i5 & Core i7 CPU for P55 motherboard
Original Price: $89.99
You Save: $9.00
$80.99
Free Shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU: HIS H585F1GDG Radeon HD 5850 5800 Series 1GB GDDR5 PCI Express x16 (2.0v) Video Card Retail
$269.99
http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Product...

HDD & OS Combo: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive & Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
1. Microsoft FQC-00765: $149.99
2. SAMSUNG HD502HJ: $54.99
Combo Discount: -$20.00
Combo Price: $184.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

PSU: CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail
Original Price: $179.99
You Save: $70.00
$109.99
($89.99 after $20.00 Mail-In Rebate Card )
Free Shipping*
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case: LIAN LI Lancool PC-K58W Black 0.8 mm SECC, Plastic + Mesh ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
$79.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DVD: LG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 22X DVD-R 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD Burner - OEM
$28.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Monitor: LG W2242T-BF Black 22" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 DC 8000:1(700:1) - Retail
Original Price: $199.99
You Save: $50.00
$149.99
Free Shipping*
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Thermal Paste: Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - OEM
$6.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Grand Total: $1,340.25







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October 28, 2009 2:00:52 PM

Nice setup, snakej. I also have a Microcenter near me and it looks like I can shave off some money by shopping there. Here's what I see so far:

Win7 Pro System Builders - 129.99
Intel i5 750 - 149.99
Asus P7P55D - 169.99

Thanks for the ideas!
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October 28, 2009 5:19:59 PM

np, make sure that you get what ever it is that you going to get from new egg as soon as possible, because you never know when deals are going off, also i included the Asus Evo version that it has a few more features than the regular p7p55d, with the combo is cheaper than micro center, also win7 is cheaper in the combo as well, although the i5 for 149.99 is an steal, since you saving $50 from cpu i'd recommend the Asus p55 deluxe, you wont regret the extra features when you decide to overclock.
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