First new build in years, need advice!

Hey all...my pc alas is nearing retirement. I've limped this poor machine with its once mighty 9700 Pro through many years, but the poor card is starting to die thanks to a dead HSF.

With that in mind, I'm terribly out of the loop when it comes to new parts...been doing a research marathon, but I still don't know how to best spend my few resources. Anyways....here's my situation.

I have ~$500 US to put into these components: CPU, video card, RAM, mobo

Already have a capable hdd and optical drives...

Right now the build in my head:
Phenom II 955
Radeon 5770
ASRock M3A770DE AM3 AMD 770 (cheapest mobo on newegg that supports ddr3 and has crossfire)
some nature of decent DDR3 1333 RAM

This works out to be just a shade under $500 shipped.

I'm pretty much exclusively a gamer, so I'm trying to maximize framerate and not productivity. I would love to have more video card power (5850), but my thinking is with this setup I can slap another 5770 in. Any suggestions on how I could swap things out to get a bit more gaming power? I'm not stuck on AMD though my current setup is a 2700+ and has lasted me many years, with that in mind, I would love to get into an i5 but the mobos seem expensive for similar features.
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More about first build years advice
  1. AMD is king for low-budget builds, so you're on the right track there.

    Here's a G.SKILL Ripjaw 4GB CAS 7 kit for $114, if you're looking for specific recommendations on RAM.

    You might also check for combo deals on newegg for either the 5770 or the motherboard/cpu.
  2. You are on the right track. I would maybe drop down to a Phenom II x3 720 and get a more durable motherboard (like a gigabyte 770) and a decent power supply/case.

    Newegg.com is a great site to research on and a good site to buy from in the US.

    Antec Two Hundred is a good inexpensive case. Look for an Antec or Corsair 80+ certified power supply.
  3. My case is pretty solid still and should be fine to reuse for this purpose, the power supply will need a boost at some point but I think I'll wait on that til I try to cross fire
  4. Also....would I benefit more by using a X3 720 and upgrading the gpu to a 5850? Like I said, this is all about gaming
  5. yeah go for the x3 720 and 5850 it will be better for gaming and if your lucky you may be able to unlock the 4th core :)
  6. Well, I kind of crapped on my budget but wound up going for:

    Phenom II 955 (the newest version)
    4gb OCZ "Black Edition" 1600mhz RAM
    ASRock M3A770DE
    Sapphire HD5850

    Wound up spilling my guts on a new case as well, couldn't resist....nice thing is the Sapphire came bundled with a new Thermaltake 600w psu free, so gotta feel good about that....

    Case, psu, mobo, RAM, cpu and gpu came out to a shade over $650....not bad, I think it should be pretty speedy?
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