Upgrade Mobo, CPU, RAM, Video card

I am looking to upgrade my motherboard, CPU, RAM and video card, primarily to make the system capable of playing Grand Theft Auto 4. On my current system, GTA4 refused to run due to my video card not being sufficient to run the game. I don't care about running the game with every option maxed out, but I would like to run it with a decent frame rate. BTW, I am planning on installing WinXp Pro on this, as I see no signifcant benefit to updating to Win 7.


BUDGET RANGE: Around $500 or less (upgrading 4 parts)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, movies, e-mail, web browsing

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, case, sound card, disk drives, possibliy hard drives

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: None - Will probably buy the parts from a local shop. Links may be useful to check out the parts.


OVERCLOCKING: Not interested. Never done it. Don't see a significant enough benefit.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: unsure. The monitor is really old and will be replaced in about 6 months

I would like to get a motherboard that has two lan ports, as I use this computer to create a network through which my other computers can access the internet.

I also use the computer for watching movies, which I do through a cable connected to my TV, so I am looking for a decent gaming video card with TV out.

I am hoping to keep this upgrade under $500, and would like to go even less than that, as long as I am not going to compromise functionality.

I may get new hard drives, but I haven't priced them at all lately. I would think I could get like a 1 terabyte SATA drive for storage, and perhaps a decent sized solid state drive for windows and game/software installs.
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  1. Best answer
    I play that game too many times. Still do once in a while when I have an idea to get weapons/ammos for free. i.e. At the Albany Ave safehouse, I call up Jacob for bulletproof vest or get one from chinatown, create a blockage with a vehicle on each side of the road, set 'em on fire to create a chain reaction for the oncoming traffic running into the inferno, park a bike in the lobby of the apt, run for cover on either concrete wall, shoot back at anyone - cops, passerbys, SWATs with automatics, etc., when there's about 4-5 stars on wanted level, I blow up the bike in the lobby, anyone getting in will drop down and get BBQed, and fianlly I run to the elevator when my health is about 1/4. Once I sleep for 6 hours, everyone downstairs is gone and I'm free to pick up whatever is left. :D Another good standoff location is the small hospital in Alderney. But while I can stand off for for as long as I can by refilling health with drinks, I can't escape the place safely. Must have a Hummer parked in front in advance. Snipers on copters? Easy with AK47 + auto aim.

    /ends babbling

    My cart:
    quantity of item 1

    GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard

    GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
    Item #: N82E16813128392
    Return Policy: Standard Return Policy

    Protect Your Investment (expand for options13-128-392|hide options13-128-392)

    Service Net Replacement Extended Warranty Plan

    The product will be replaced and shipped directly to you at no charge(more info13-128-392.0.18)

    * 1 year: $9.99
    * 2 year: $16.99

    -$5.00 Instant
    $10.00 Mail-in Rebate Card13-128-392


    select item 2 quantity of item 2

    HIS H487Q1GH Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card

    HIS H487Q1GH Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card - Retail
    Item #: N82E16814161292
    Return Policy: VGA Standard Return Policy

    $15.00 Mail-in Rebate Card14-161-292


    select item 3 quantity of item 3

    BFG Tech GS-550 550W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V V2.8 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Power Supply

    BFG Tech GS-550 550W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V V2.8 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Power Supply - Retail
    Item #: N82E16817702010
    Return Policy: Standard Return Policy

    -$10.00 Instant



    i-shop Gift

    i-shop Gift - Retail
    Item #: N82E16800995066
    Return Policy: Standard Return Policy

    -$5.99 Saving


    select item 5 quantity of item 5

    OCZ Gold Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1066 (PC3 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ3G10664GK

    OCZ Gold Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1066 (PC3 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ3G10664GK - Retail
    Item #: N82E16820227346
    Return Policy: Memory Standard Return Policy

    -$15.00 Instant


    select item 6 quantity of item 6

    AMD Athlon II X4 620 Propus 2.6GHz Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Processor Model ADX620WFGIBOX

    AMD Athlon II X4 620 Propus 2.6GHz Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Processor Model ADX620WFGIBOX - Retail
    Item #: N82E16819103706
    Return Policy: CPU Replacement Only Return Policy


    Subtotal: $478.96

    The game requires a quad core to run comfortably. The gpu has 1GB ram so it's more than enough for the game. More vram = higher image quality != fps. Do stick with AM3 as it'll be around for a long while. If you want to squeeze a hard disk in this build, downgrade the gpu to:

    SAPPHIRE 100286L Radeon HD 4860 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card - Retail

    Oh yeah, almost forgot dual LANs. It's not worth the money to buy a premium board for dual LANs. So throw a Gb NIC in.

    Rosewill RC-400-LX 10/ 100/ 1000Mbps PCI V2.2, 32/64-bit, 33/66MHz Network Adapter - Retail
    * Your Price:$9.99
  2. First, thanks so much for your suggestions. I haven't even been able to run GTA IV yet( because I haven't purchased the parts yet) , but I will give your advice a try once I get it running.

    I just went to the computer shops tonight, but I couldn't find all the parts. The only part I had a big problem with is the video card.

    BTW, I forgot to mention that I don't need nor do I plan to use SLI

    I found a HIS Radeon 4670 1GB video card. Would that be good enough to run GTA IV?

    I also couldn't find the exact same RAM, but I found some OCZ OCZ3B1600C8LV4GK DDR 1600 RAM. Would that be worth getting? The price is quite a bit higher. I also found some Corsair TW3X44G1600C9D Ram which was around the price you mentioned, $90.

    I believe I have a 450w Enermax power supply, which I forgot to mention before. Is that enough for this build?

    Also, while I found the motherboard you recommended, I also found a 770TA-UD3 motherboard at a different shop. Is that the same motherboard, or is it a different board?

    Thanks again for all your help and suggestions.
  3. HD 4670 can do, but at a lower image quality than HD 4870. The HD 4800 would be the minimal for eye candy. Or if they got HD 4890/5750/5770, get that. Basically, the more video memory (1GB+), the higher the image resolution. But also important is the GPU. Got to be fast. GTA4 is a badly coded game so it can bring a top rig to its knees.

    Get whichever DDR3 is cheaper. It won't matter unless you overclock.

    450W is good for the HD 4670 to 4870. Enermax is a lesser known good brand.

    770TA-UD3 is about the same. Get it if the price is good.

    I found another standoff location. Alderney safehouse, same strategy for the Alqonqunn safehouse, crouch on the top end of the staircase and keep shooting & auto-aiming. Run to your apt/bed when health is under 1/4.
  4. Thanks once again.

    One other thing I need to consider is a hard drive. The one I had in my previous computer gave me problems, so it would probably be best to replace it.

    I am wondering if the benefits of a solid state drive justify getting one. I would think I would only use one for installing the OS and games, and any other storage needs would be taken care of on a regular SATA drive.

    So, would a solid state drive improve load times enough to justify it? And what would be the most reasonably priced solid state drive? (best price per gig)

    BTW, I am planning on installing WinXP. Would there be any problems installing WinXP on a solid state drive?
  5. For GTA4, nope. Nothing other than a fast quad, more ram & fast gpu can help. I'll reiterate that the game is BADLY coded. It doesn't take full advantage of anything. It's like an overpaid and underworked banking exec. The load times are the same as when I had a slower HDD. I have Samsung F3 - it IS faster at everything else however.

    Also, if you can afford a SSD, you may as well put the money on the faster GPU. You're REALLY missing the point of a gaming pc.

    No problems with XP on SSD. A waste of money if you ask me. W7 maybe not.
  6. That helps a lot. Quite a few people recommend them, but if it's not going to help significantly with GTA IV, then I don't really need to spend the extra bucks.

    Yeah, I know that GTA games are pretty badly coded and there seems to be very little testing. Many of the missions are extremely easy, while others are frustratingly hard. Still, it's a lot of fun.

    What is W7?
  7. windows 7
  8. ^^ yep.

    The game is great. Must play. It's been out since 2008. There are still people playing it to this day. I'm one of 'em. It's better than the majority of games or wannabes out there. I can't wait for the next installment. I started fresh again and found the Bohan safehouse is a good standoff location. Just get the 3 molotovs at Coney Island Cyclone - the "funfair" by a bench opposite the bowling gallery. Same strategy. Once you have 5-10 bodies by the lower end of the stairs, throw one molotov on 'em. Everyone that gets in will be bbq'ed. Haven't done any mission. Already have an assault rifle + 100 rounds of ammo.
  9. Okay, it seems the closest I can find at my local shop to the video is this card:

    BTW, does this card do TV out? I had my TV connected with a yellow AV cable (or something like that). MY TV has some type of PC connection as well as a few other connections, but I don't know what types they are off hand.

    Also, I wanted to ask why you recommend an ATI card. I have used ATI cards since I built my first computer, and I have had minimal problems with ATI cards, but I was wondering if there is any reason that you recommended an ATI card over a Nvida card?
  10. That's not a bad card. But for 20-30 bucks more you can get HD 5770 which is the best bang next-gen card. Yes, both of 'em output to TV through HDMI. DisplayPort is a new standard.

    Oh crap. So your TV doesn't have HDMI? If it's 3 cables (Y/R/W), it's composite. If it's 5 cables, it's component, more or less the same as HDMI in terms of quality. The middle one is S-Video, somewhat better than composite.

    You can get an adapter if your TV has one of the above older input. I am not 100% that they work.

    I suspect your TV's PC input is D-sub. If that's the case, you still need an adapter like DVI-to-VGA.

    ATI is the new gpu king. nVidia is taking a backseat. They still don't have a DX11 card out. By the time, they have, ATI will have more DX11 cards (budget) out. If you run only Linux, nVidia is the best option. FWIW, I'm running GTX 260 as a placeholder until HD 5800 prices drop, most likely when GT 300 is out. GTX 260 isn't a bad card if you can find it for a good price. I wouldn't pay more than $150 for a new one.
  11. I found a MIS R4870 video card. I was wondering what your take is on MIS video cards.
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