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Need some help upgrading

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December 25, 2009 7:02:58 PM

I'm upgrading my Lenovo 3000 desktop

Specs
-AMD Athlon X2 3800+ 2GHz Dual Core
-1GB DDR2 PC-4200 RAM
-nForce 430 Mainboard
-NVIDIA GeForce 6100 128MB Shared VRAM IGP
-250GB WD SATA II HDD (140GB for OS and 90GB for Backup)
-DVD Burner
-450W Ultra LS PSU

Main reason I'm upgrading is because my GeForce 8400GS died one me... served me well. Played Crysis on it at 1440x900 at Low-Medium Settings getting 15-40 FPS.

Anyways I have like $60 cash on me and later might get $50 cash if I get this iPod dock sold (this guy might buy it). For now $60 cash and if I get the dock sold it's $110 cash which is more suitable.

So I'll be buying the components from CompUSA and cragslist :) 

Anyways here's what I need help with

I found six graphics cards... for sale and I need help picking which one should I go with?
-Nvidia GeForce 8600GT 256MB GDDR3 PCI-E for $30
-Nvidia GeForce 7950GT 256MB GDDR3 PCI-E for $40
-Nvidia GeForce 9600GT 512MB GDDR3 PCI-E for $60
-ATI Radeon HD 4650 512MB GDDR2 PCI-E for $45
-Nvidia GeForce 6600 256MB GDDR3 PCI-E for $20
-ATI Radeon X1950 256MB GDDR3 PCI-E for $30

If I get the 9600GT.... I won't have money to buy RAM... and the HD 4650 seems a bit fast but I'm not sure yet

RAM Sticks at CompUSA are $20 for 1GB DDR2 sticks which is what I need. 3GB is what I'm aiming for.
On craigslist I found someone selling a 2 1GB ram sticks for $20.... for both but not sure if he's still selling it I'll check it out later meanwhile through online retailers:

My PC has 2 RAM slots and both of them are occupied by 512MB sticks of DDR2 RAM. So I'm just wondering is 1.5GB of RAM sufficient for gaming? I might be able to get 2 pairs of 1GB of RAM but that would mean spending $40 for them.... $20 for a Graphics card....well I can go $30 for the graphics card.... extra $10 wouldn't be hard to get

Sorry if this whole thing is complicated.....

I just want to upgrade my desktop and get back to gaming. I've been using my HP dv7 laptop for gaming and just find gaming on my desktop better. My dv7 can play games fine. It has ATI Radoen HD 3200 graphics and yes it's integrated but it can play games. I mean it when I say that, I can play Crysis at 1440x900 too with this card just at low settings though. Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 with it too!.... but still wanna play on my desktop cause I got a new 22 inch monitor and the HP dv7 has this wierd connector for connecting external displays.... and I don't have the adapter so yeah..



More about : upgrading

December 25, 2009 7:18:04 PM

Personally I wouldn't bother upgrading.

If you're looking to play Crysis under full detail then an old CPU + DDR2 memory + any of those GPUs listed won't cut it.

Save your money and wait.
December 25, 2009 7:36:04 PM

Honestly I would get the 9600GT DDR3. Although getting the RAM first is likely a better option right now. Either that or like said before save your money and get a HD 4770 or something.
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December 26, 2009 1:54:37 AM

Tough 1. I Know it sucks to have such a tight budget when you see ppl spending $2000+ on an i7 build "cos they feel like" lol.

As a newbie to a newbie I'd suggest a new GPU as that's your pressing need

I've just bought a 4650, and it ain't the prettiest thing about, it was definitely a massive boost over my 3200 IGP for the money.

Then if you can scrape together some pennies, go for some RAM and try and craigslist your old sticks for a slight return $10-15 maybe?
1.5 will always be better than 1!
December 26, 2009 3:57:23 AM

Thanks for the replies guys.....

Is the boost really that big over the HD 3200? I mean on my HD 3200 I can play games surprisingly very well.... I mean Crysis at 1440x900 Medium-Low Settings running at 15-45 FPS is pretty impressive for a IGP. I heard performance boosts on low-end cards are somewhat higher than high-end cards... what I'm trying to say is many games are optimized to run with low-end cards... did that come out right? Like when your upgrading from a 9600GT to a 9800GT is the difference really that big?

So GPU first then RAM? I might be getting more money so.. yeah

Oh and my CPU is kinda old but it's still fast enough to handle some games... well in my opinion lol. I'm looking to play Crysis at 1440x900 Medium-High Settings or High Settings but No AA or 2x AA only.... since I never use AA (my GPU is weak!)

December 26, 2009 4:09:38 AM

Hmmm against what everyone else is saying I would say go for the RAM first if you plan on keeping that system... Now for my reasoning lol I agree that right now the GPU would indeed get you more bang for your buck bbbuuutttt DDR2 is actually going UP in price right now so unless you think that in the future its going to get cheaper (I give that one about the same chance as an Ice cube in you know where) Graphics cards will always get better and cheaper.

Now that I have you thinking, do what you feel is best an upgrade is always nice and if it works for you then thats the important part :) 

So no matter what you decide its going to be the right decision lol
December 26, 2009 5:39:15 AM

YEAH Jonathon's right.... DDR2 is actually going UP the price now..... I noticed that....

I didn't bother upgrading RAM back like 3 months ago cause I thought whenever I wanted to upgarde I could just pull out $20 for them (I saw lots of 2GB ram sticks for $20 back this summer)

I found a ATI Radeon HD 3870 for $40 is it a better choice than the 9600GT?
I find ATI graphics card very fast.... and cheap. Nvidia is kind of... too expensive...yet gives the same performance....
December 26, 2009 10:37:25 PM

Not sure about the 3870, check out the graphics charts a little I think.

Definitely am feeling the ATI at the moment.

Only game I play is Pro Evo 2010. On my IGP I could only manage less than 640 x 480 with massive slowdown, on med settings.

On 4650 I do max settings, 1024x768, with a slight hint of slow down at unimportant times.
December 26, 2009 10:41:01 PM

Sorry, am confusing 2 different things.

massive slowdown was on the laptop which has radeon mobility x1400 (256MB)

On my upgraded desktop, IGP (3200 on an AMD 785 chipset) does 800x600 at max settings with some slowdown.

4650 GPU does 800x600 on max at blistering rates, and 1024x768 with slight slowdown.

Game is GPU limited on my system as CPU never above 40%.

I'm not sure about Crysis. Maybe I can dload a demo and get bk to you
December 26, 2009 11:27:21 PM

wait I'm confused what are you talkin' about? lol sorry if I didn't understand...

Hey I found a GeForce 8800GT for $50! OMG that is one heck of a deal.... well for me... at least. I mean they use to cost $120 now they're $90... technology advances fast

@arakrazy
You have a Radeon HD 4650? or are you saying you have a Radeon HD 3200?
I can do 1440x900 with my HD 3200.... only slowdown I get is when there's a load (I mean a load) of soldiers fighting me at once and FPS drops from 30FPS to 15-25FPS....

Integrated graphics have come a long way.... ATI is like the best. If it wasn't for ATI, Nvidia would be pricing their graphics card over the limit.... haha lol $8000 for a GTX 280! :p  then I'll see who really can I afford these graphics cards...
!