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GA-K8NF-9 Computer worth upgrading?

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March 31, 2010 9:33:29 AM

Hi there!

I currently have a computer, that I've had for a little while now. It was cheap and is a decent computer for what I need it to do.

I need to know, if there are any cheap upgrades, aside from ram, that would be good for this computer? Or would it be better to just outright buy another barebones set, and build my own? I really only play a few select games, WoW being one of them. But I'm concerned on how it's going to play when blizzard updates their graphics further. Not to mention new games coming out soon.

The problem I have currently, is that I'm a college student on a very very limited income. So I cannot spend much, and that's why I wanted some small cheaper upgrades to my current rig. I'll post the specs below:

Mobo: Gigabyte GA-K8NF-9 (SLI) http://www.giga-byte.com.tw/Products/Motherboard/Produc...

Chipset: Nvidia Nforce4

Socket: AMD Athlon(tm) 64 Processor 3500+ (2.2ghz)

Bios: Award Modular BIOS v6.00PG

Ram: 2GB pc3300

Video card: GeForce 6800 Ultra SLIx16 (Would running SLI with 2x 9600gt's be good?)

Power Supply: BFG 550w 12v, dual 12v rails.

Integrated sound: Realtek AC97 Audio (Would having a separate sound card make a gaming difference?)

OS: Win XP 32 bit (Would upgrading to 64 bit make a difference?)

If you need anymore information, please let me know. Thanks for your time.
March 31, 2010 10:30:13 AM

I would leave your system alone, unless you want to upgrade the video card. If you decide to upgrade, check the power supply requirements first. Many pci-e 2.0 cards will work with your board if the power supply is adequate.
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March 31, 2010 10:39:50 AM

Your cpu would hold back pretty much any new video card you could put in. At your current set-up I really couldn't recommend something over the 4670 or 9600GT as it would pretty much have diminishing returns pretty quickly.

The 4670 or 9600GT does pretty much cover all recent games at moderate to high settings @1280x1024 or lower.

If you could overclock your processor, it would help a bit (but not a lot).
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March 31, 2010 10:40:54 AM

Well to be honest, it's a decent little computer, but I'm just thinking that your Athlon 64 3500+ is going to bottleneck your computer if you try and upgrade your graphics card - Tom's HD4650 AGP was bottlenecked by a Socket 939 Athlon X2 3800+. I'd feel that's a pretty decent computer for playing WoW, although if you really want to do a real upgrade, I'd suggest upgrading your whole system. Otherwise I'd suggest an ATi Radeon HD4650 or HD4670.

If don't mind upgrading, could you give us a budget for a new system?

Something very decent costs around $436.94 without a case, and will last you for quite a while:

AMD Athlon II X3 435 - $74.99
GIGABYTE GA-MA78LM-S2H - $59.99
CORSAIR XMS2 4GB - $74.99 w/rebate
HIS Radeon HD 5670 IceQ - $83.99
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 1TB - $89.99
CORSAIR CMPSU-400CX 400W - $52.99

Others would probably be able to make a better build, but that's what I got for now.

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March 31, 2010 11:02:29 AM

Thanks for all your quick replies. I've added some more info in the OP. I probably will have around 200 or so to spend, which really isn't enough I don't think. I was thinking about upgrading the CPU to the max the board can support which says it's the -Athlon 64x2 4800+(E6,Toledo,90nm,1MBx2)- But I wasn't sure if it was even worth it. Not to mention I would need to flash the bios to an upgraded version, and can screw the system up if not done perfectly. Which spooks me a bit.

The mobo website is http://www.giga-byte.com.tw/Support/Motherboard/CPUSupp...

I'm also wondering if it's even worth it due to it only using ddr1 ram. It's a nice little computer, but it is outdated by about 5 years now.

Thanks Lmeow also, for your information. I'm looking around at what I can do with the parts you suggested. Also, is my brand new 550w power supply enough for most newer budget gamer systems? I'm seeing a lot of "need 700+ watt" PSU's, and I think that's a tad high.
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March 31, 2010 11:13:55 AM

Your ram really isn't a big problem. 2GB is adequate for most uses, even gaming. 4GB or more is only really recommendable if you're doing photoshop, video editing, or cad.

For the processor, you could upgrade it, but probably within a year you'll want something faster anyway.

If your power supply is not a generic one, 550W is enough to power mid-range or even some higher end rigs. 700W is only really a consideration if you're doing SLi or CrossFire.
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March 31, 2010 11:43:15 AM

DDR is actually faster than it would seem, my old AMD Athlon 64 3200+ comp is actually quite fast. 550W is far more than enough - my old system lasted on 300W. :D 
Although, regarding PSUs, quality is very important. A high quality 400W can easily outperform a 550W if it's generic.

The AMD Athlon X2 64 4800+ would probably be adequate enough, but you'd have to go on eBay or some auction site to get one, plus the risk of BIOS flashing, I'm supposing you haven't done it before.

I just saw your original info, and GeForce 6800 Ultras in SLI? Those were pretty expensive back then lol.

Here's a similar, cheaper build:
AMD Athlon II X3 435 2.8GHz - $74.99
GIGABYTE GA-MA78LM-S2H - $59.99
A-Data 2GB DDR2 PC2-6400 800MHz - $49.99 (2GB is enough for now, you can add another 2GB later if needed)
HIS Radeon HD 5670 IceQ - $83.99
Western Digital Caviar Blue 320GB 7200RPM - $49.99
SeaSonic SS-300ES Bronze 300W - $39.99 (Don't worry, it's 80+ certified and it's made by SeaSonic, total system load is less than 250W with the HD 5670)

Caseless total = $358.94
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March 31, 2010 2:31:11 PM

Lmeow, thanks again for another build update. That is probably a price tag I can afford soon. I've written it all down, so I can gather up the parts now =) Appreciate it very much. And thanks to all the other posters in here.
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March 31, 2010 2:43:42 PM

The power supply is good enough for sli/crossfire for just two cards that have only one six pin connector each like your 6800ultra's. With out building a new box a new cpu and something along the lines of a 9600/9800gt would do wonders while still being affordable. The cpu is your weakest link in the whole box.
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April 7, 2010 5:54:02 AM

Best answer selected by r_manic.
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