Need Advice on Existing Gaming Build

Hi everyone, I built my first rig back in Nov 2007 ($1100 gaming pc), and it feels like lately it has not been able to keep up with the latest games (most noticeably Dragon Age Origins, running slow with anything above Medium or with AA on). I would really appreciate it if someone could advice me on the most crucial parts to upgrade.


APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Within two weeks

BUDGET RANGE: $300

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, 720p movies, office work

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1680x1050

PARTS NOT REQUIRED:

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 Conroe 2.66GHz 4M shared L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115029
Overclocked to 3.2GHz

CPU heatsink: ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro Rev.2 92mm Fluid Dynamic CPU Cooler
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835186134

Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX All Solid Capacitor Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128059

RAM: CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model TWIN2X2048-6400C4
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145034

Video Card: EVGA 320-P2-N815-AR GeForce 8800GTS 320MB 320-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130038
Slightly overclocked

HDD1: SAMSUNG SpinPoint T Series HD501LJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152052

HDD (storage): Western Digital Caviar Green WD10EACS 1TB 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136151

OS: Windows XP SP3 (not planning on upgrading to Win 7 atm)

Optical drives: DVD drive + DVD burner

Case: COOLER MASTER Centurion 5 CAC-T05-UB Black /Blue Aluminum Bezel , SECC Chassis ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119047

Monitor: SAMSUNG 216BW Black-Silver 21.6" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 DC 3000:1(1000:1)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824001236

Sound card: Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer 7.1 Channels 24-bit 96KHz PCI Interface Sound Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829102006

Power supply: CORSAIR CMPSU-520HX 520W ATX12V v2.2 and EPS12V 2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139001


PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Any major US ones

PARTS PREFERENCES: None

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe


ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:
I will likely build a new Win 7 pc in 6 months or so, but with the upcoming major releases (MW2, Assassins Creed, Mass Effect 2), I need some upgrades for my current rig. Since it will not be a long term solution, I would prefer not to spend a fortune, but just enough to get the new games running great again. It seems that so far the CPU has been performing OK, so the first parts to be replaced would be RAM and video card. The only other concern I have is whether my PSU has to be replaced with the new parts (520W modular). Here are the parts I'm considering at the moment, and I would welcome any suggestions within my price range. Thanks.

RAM: CORSAIR 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model TWIN2X4096-6400C5
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145184&nm_mc=EMC-IGNEFL110509&cm_mmc=EMC-IGNEFL110509-_-DesktopMemory-_-L0C-_-20145184
$85

Video Card:
EVGA 896-P3-1255-AR GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 896MB 448-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130434

or

XFX HD-577A-ZNFC Radeon HD 5770 (Juniper XT) 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150447

or

XFX HD-487A-ZWFC Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150436
4 answers Last reply
More about advice existing gaming build
  1. Video at that price point is hard. The 4870 is the best value right now, but the 5770 has DX11 and two of them in crossfire is about as fast as a mighty 5870. For you it might make sense to get a single 5770 now and then when you upgrade everything you could just add a second. I just replaced a 9800 GTX+ with a 5770 on an Athlon 64 x2 OC 3.2GHz and am seeing about a 50% FPS increase (or I jumped from high to almost ultra high on the MMORPGs I play).

    I have no idea if the RAM will help you or not. You might use task manager to see your memory usage before and during games to see if its necessary. DDR2 will not be usable in a new system.
  2. dndhatcher said:
    Video at that price point is hard. The 4870 is the best value right now, but the 5770 has DX11 and two of them in crossfire is about as fast as a mighty 5870. For you it might make sense to get a single 5770 now and then when you upgrade everything you could just add a second. I just replaced a 9800 GTX+ with a 5770 on an Athlon 64 x2 OC 3.2GHz and am seeing about a 50% FPS increase (or I jumped from high to almost ultra high on the MMORPGs I play).

    I have no idea if the RAM will help you or not. You might use task manager to see your memory usage before and during games to see if its necessary. DDR2 will not be usable in a new system.


    You can't use dx11 in win xp. I would definitely get the ram... I don't know if you need 6gb of ram, you could save a few bucks just getting another 2x1gb for a total of 4gb.
    The 4870 is a decent upgrade for the price.
  3. The easiest thing you can do is upgrade the RAM and GPU. Honestly, it will only tide you over since half your problem is your CPU bottleneck.

    I would get the 5770. Its next-gen, powerful for current games, cool, and consumes very little power. As stated before, two 5770 is just awesome!
  4. cory1234 said:
    You can't use dx11 in win xp. I would definitely get the ram... I don't know if you need 6gb of ram, you could save a few bucks just getting another 2x1gb for a total of 4gb.
    The 4870 is a decent upgrade for the price.
    he says he will likely build a win7 machine in 6months, thats why a re-usable DX11 card has value. I dont see the point in buying 6 month throw away RAM/GPU, especially when I am not convinced under XP the extra 1GB (max 4 - GPU takes 1 away) will be noticeable.
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