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Advice / Suggestions needed for upgrading my gaming machine

Last response: in Systems
December 19, 2009 8:49:04 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Now(ish), I'll probably be making the purchases sometime between now and New Years.

BUDGET RANGE: I'm willing to spend $500 - $1000 before rebates on upgrades. Obviously, the less I spend on this the more I have to spend on other things :) 

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, internet Usage, statistical analyses, and working with large Excel files are what this computer are primarily used for.


Case: Apex SK-378 ATX Black Mid Tower Case
Power Supply: Rosewill BRONZE series RBR750-M 750W
Motherboard: EVGA nForce 750i SLI FTW
CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550
GPU: EVGA GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 896MB 448-bit GDDR3
HDD: Western Digital WD5000AACS Caviar Green Hard Drive - 500GB
Monitor: Gateway FHD2400

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS (in order of preference):,, anywhere esle reputable.


PARTS PREFERENCE: Nothing specific.

OVERCLOCKING: Not necessary but, again, willing.

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe, I'm not opposed to the idea if you think that is what I need.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1024x768, 1280x1024, 1440x900, 1600x1200, 1680x1050, 1920x1080, 1920x1200*
* Most frequently used.


I haven't built a custom desktop in, probably, 6 years now. I'm totally comfortable doing doing so, but a lot has changed since then and I find myself completely overwhelmed by all the available information. That's why I'm here, so thank you for any suggestions in advance.

What I would really like to do is upgrade, or completely overhaul, my current desktop to be a nice gaming machine, one that will last a while.

Although I'm only an intermittent game player, I play a lot when I get the chance. These are the games I keep comming back to (in no particular order):

1. Mass Effect
2. Dragon Age: Origins
3. Fallout 3
4. Half-Life 2
5. Oblivion
6. Assassin's Creed

I'm sure Mass Effect 2 will soon be commanding a lot my free time as well.


My current desktop, the one whose parts I listed under "MY CURRENT DESKTOP" plays all of the above games just well, but not great. It really struggled with Assassin's Creed on even medium settings. It will play Mass Effect and Fallout 3 on high settings, but chokes (thus ruining the experience) in the most intense scenes. I'd really like something that could max out these games (1920 x 1200, highest quality settings) and have room left over for the future.

Also, it was work machine that was replaced recently and that I got on cheap. Physically I think it was well taken care of, but I know it grinding away on huge databases and statistical analyses damn near 24/hrs a day. I have to believe that would wear a machine down over the years.

So, that's it. Any reccomendations?
December 20, 2009 12:24:15 PM

+1 on belial2k's suggestion, it would probably be the best results for the least money. If you don't want to SLI, the only other viable option would probably be an ATI 5870. And if you are looking for an overhaul more than an "upgrade", there is always the i7 path, but you will have to change CPU, MB and RAM ... plus the GPU or else the gaming performance would probably close to the same.