Cost-effective upgrade?

Back in June 2006 I built a home PC that would be capable of running Autodesk Revit Architecture software, a 3D design software used at my architecture office (no it is NOT similar to AutoCRAP in any way). It can be fairly resource-intensive at times. My machine's current specs are as follows (everything purchased in June 2006):

Antec 450W power supply
Intel D945 mobo
Intel Pentium D dual-core 3.2 GHz CPU (Core 2 Duos were just coming out back then and were too expensive)
2 GB Corsair DDR2 SDRAM (mobo has 4 slots)
PNY nVIDIA Quadro FX540 128MB graphics card
Windows XP Professional x86

I would like to upgrade to Win7 x64 and at least 8 GB RAM. I know the Pentium D CPU works with a 64-bit OS, but I also know that newer CPU's run faster/better than the Pentium D's, even at lower clock speeds. Many people on the Revit forums report excellent performance with Core 2 Duo CPU's.

So that would mean mobo, CPU, and memory all need to be upgraded. I also need a new graphics card as the digital output on my current one seems to be on the fritz. Can anyone make any suggestions as to the most cost-effective solutions? I have always gravitated towards Intel products, even for the mobo, but I know those are more expensive. I've heard of people using other mobo brands with good results, but I'm just not "in-the-know" on what's good and what's not.
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More about cost effective upgrade
  1. Is the MOBO specific model D945GCLF? If so, yes, you are probably looking at a new MOBO, RAM, CPU, and graphics card. I am running an Intel DP43TF- it is a board built for stability instead of over clocking and such. For my use, it runs great. It is fairly cheap and can support up to 8GB DDR2 800Mhz memory. Throw a quad core on there and it flies. Take a look at my system specs, which in my opinion may work great for your use. If that is what you are looking for, PM me and I can fill you in on price and such.

    However, if you want something future proof, I would highly recommend maybe going with an i5 or i7 board/CPU. Others who run the i5 or i7 would best be able to help you out in regard to specific model for your use. Plus, they are running DDR3, which for the time being doesn't really do much in terms of performance over DDR2, but eventually it will outclass it ten-fold. A 48xx or 57-58xx series graphics card would surely do the job as well, as the 48xx series cards will be getting cheaper here in the coming months.
  2. Thanks for the info. I want to say my mobo is a D945GNT-something... not sure right now, would have to check the box later tonight.

    For graphics cards, I have always preferred the Quadro FX workstation cards, as Revit never has really played nice with "gamer" cards. Revit doesn't heavily depend on graphics card power as much as other programs like 3D Studio Max, so the entry-level FX 500-series cards usually work fine.
  3. You are correct... Intel's Core architecture (and of course the even newer Nehalem architecture) are dramatically faster clock-for-clock than your Netburst based CPU. My 2.66 GHz (stock speed) i5-750 would absolutely demolish your higher clocked CPU. That's progress!
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