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$200 to spend, best hardware change

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February 9, 2010 3:58:16 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Next 3 weeks

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT:gaming

Parts already in system:
Motherboard: Asrock AOD790GX, AM3 ready
CPU: AMD 2+ 7750 Kuma 2.7, OC'd to 3.0 stable
RAM: 4 sticks of Kingston HyperX 1066 1 gig each
Video Card: Sapphire HD 4830 Radeon 512 gig
PSU: Cooler Max 550 watts, model# CX-550b. No seperate 6 pin video card connector available.
HDD: Two western digital sata 7200 rpm, 300 gig hdds
DVDRW: generic dvdrw cdrw combo drive

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg and perhaps Tigerdirect
MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1680x1050

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Ok so with my measly 200 bucks what piece or pieces should I change to produce the most improvement in gaming? I can run most games, i.e. COD6 or Dragonage on mid to a mix of high and mid settings at 1680x1050. However, I’m in for a fix just like any other junkie. My major issue; I think I’m at a point where a change in video card or cpu may require a better psu and as such may not be financially viable. I've done some research but I think I need some quality community tech opinions. Thanks ahead of time for the help guys!
PS. I might be able to squeeze an extra 50 bucks out of the wife, but that will leave bruises :o 

Edit: Here's something Im giving consideration to:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

case is in there because the one I currently have is.....pretty not so pretty at all!
February 9, 2010 4:43:31 AM

Check out these combos for size/price...

Combo 1:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... - $205.98

Processor = http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

-OR-

If you can squeeze a few extra $$, then go this route...

Combo 2:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... - $213.98

Processor = http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Both combos come with a 3.0 Ghz proc, and also give you an AM3 socket, but the second combo supports DDR3 memory. I'll leave it to someone else to comment on the diff between the two processors. In addition, the first combo also has on-board video (just in case), the second combo does not.

Be sure and check the Qualified Vendor list for each mobo to make sure your exact memory is supported.

Hope this helps.

Best solution

February 9, 2010 6:45:24 AM
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OP already had an AM2+ mobo with memory so suggesting a new mobo which would also need new memory on this kind of tight budget would be kind of wrong imo.

Considering you already have a 4830 I find it hard to recommend a new graphics card for this budget as you would be looking at either a 5750 or a 5770 if you also want to invest in a new CPU. The cards mentioned are pretty much equal to the 4850 and 4870 in performance so your not looking at a lot of improvement.

Maybe invest in a Quad core now (phenom II X4) and wait untill you have some more money to invest in a 5830 or 5850. The other route could be to get a cheap athlon II X3 or X4, invest in a bigger psu and try to find a second 4830 to xfire the cards. It all depends on how much performance you want and when you want it.

Hoped this helped.
Related resources
a b B Homebuilt system
February 9, 2010 3:33:49 PM

Well, you should be able to run an additional 4830 with that PSU just fine, so if it was me I'd try and get another 4830 (under $100 of course) and a good Tower Cooler to try and squeeze another 200MHz out of that CPU. That should hold you over for a while till you save up some more money for an X4 CPU, which you will have an excellent cooler to overclock it with. You can also get a Phenom II X2 550 BE and try to unlock the other two cores.
February 9, 2010 3:45:16 PM

Sorry guy....

Since you're using DDR2 memory, neither of those Newegg combos are going to work... I wrote that post very late and didn't research thoroughly. Both combos only support DDR3 mem.

If you decide to upgrade the Mobo to an AM3...this combo does support DDR2 memory

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...... $208.98

Mobo: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mfg's website: http://www.gigabyte.us/Support/Motherboard/CPUSupport_M...

Processor: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Amd Phenom II X4 Deneb, 95 watt quad core.

If your PSU doesn't have an 8 pin power connector, however, then this board won't work either and the way to go would be getting just the processor and start shopping for a better PSU, which is the next largest roadblock at the moment.
February 9, 2010 7:34:06 PM

Thanks for the input guys. I think I may just throw in a new power supply in preparation for a future upgrade. However, if any new ideas come through here Im still three weeks out from buying so Ill take any advice into consideration. I cant find a 4830 for less than 100 bucks on newegg which is really a disappointment, but oh well.
February 9, 2010 7:50:37 PM

Dude, get a 4890. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

195$, shipped.

PS: Also, you said you had MW2? I have that same game, and I'm using an E6600 (stock) , 8gb DDR2 (stock) , and a 4870 1gb (stock) at that same res. I have it maxed out, with 24xAA by 16, at 50-60 fps in offline. In online I use 16aa x16aa, at over 70fps. (My MW2 cuts off the fps at 70). So a 4890 should handle MW2 pretty well, even with all settings forced out in CCC.

PSS: What's ur steam acc username?
February 9, 2010 8:25:00 PM

builderbobftw said:
Dude, get a 4890. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

195$, shipped.

PS: Also, you said you had MW2? I have that same game, and I'm using an E6600 (stock) , 8gb DDR2 (stock) , and a 4870 1gb (stock) at that same res. I have it maxed out, with 24xAA by 16, at 50-60 fps in offline. In online I use 16aa x16aa, at over 70fps. (My MW2 cuts off the fps at 70). So a 4890 should handle MW2 pretty well, even with all settings forced out in CCC.

PSS: What's ur steam acc username?


Yeah I saw that beauty of a card but Im not really confident that my power supply is up to pushing it.
Steam username: Haemotoxin
February 9, 2010 8:28:11 PM

vapolution said:
Yeah I saw that beauty of a card but Im not really confident that my power supply is up to pushing it.
Steam username: Haemotoxin



Cool my MW2/Steam is : Nukeadayftw254. Il add u. Also, ur psu should handle that card.


http://ati.amd.com/products/radeonhd4800/requirements-4...

"500 Watt or greater power supply with two 75W 6-pin PCI Express® power connectors recommended (600 Watt and four 6-pin connectors for ATI CrossFireX™ technology in dual mode)"
February 9, 2010 10:36:42 PM

builderbobftw said:
Cool my MW2/Steam is : Nukeadayftw254. Il add u. Also, ur psu should handle that card.


http://ati.amd.com/products/radeonhd4800/requirements-4...

"500 Watt or greater power supply with two 75W 6-pin PCI Express® power connectors recommended (600 Watt and four 6-pin connectors for ATI CrossFireX™ technology in dual mode)"


But that's the problem, I don't have two 6 pin express connectors....lol i don't even have one. I have to use a converter cable and I get this odd feeling that two chincy converter cables as apposed to two certified 6 pin cables may be cheating the rules too much.
February 9, 2010 11:01:20 PM

why wouldn't converter cables work?
February 9, 2010 11:46:54 PM

builderbobftw said:
why wouldn't converter cables work?


I would be using 2 of my peripheral power plugs and only three of the lines are rated for 12 v....and I've got some extra fans for cooling that utilize peripherals as well. Oh and the dvdrw is on a peripheral supply as well. Man, honestly I'm not nearly as informed on power distribution as I should be to have this conversation. I just have this feeling that the more often I use converter cables or "convenient shortcuts" the closer I'll get to a major problem. Call me paranoid! Here's the link straight to the power supply:

www.coolmaxusa.com/productDetailsPower.asp?item=CX-550B...

Thanks again for taking the time to look at all this.
a b B Homebuilt system
February 10, 2010 5:29:05 PM

Honestly, I'd just do what roversjoost said and get a Phenom II X4 now, and save up for a 58xx video card later. That way this system can keep running at a good level for a few years still.

I don't see any point in switching motherboards -- for the price you'd have to pay to make the move to DDR3, the performance gain isn't really worth it. 4GB of DDR2-1066 is just fine.
February 10, 2010 5:41:13 PM

Well, his CPU doesen't even come close to bottlenecking his GPU. His GPU, a 4350, is trash, and he should upgrade. (To the stuff i posted above)


EDIT: Nevermind, He has a 4830. I'm wrong. I thought he had a 4350. Well starcth what i said before. Just buy a new psu for 100$, and sae up for a 5850.
February 11, 2010 2:01:05 AM

Yeah so I think it's gonna have to be a combination of power supply and cpu. I suppose that I'll get one of the athlon am3 quads.
I just hope that it provides a noticeable performance increase over my kuma. Thanks for all of the input guys, very helpful and constructive. Feel free to keep the suggestions coming, much appreciated :) 
February 11, 2010 6:16:24 PM

Eh, If you want a good diffrence get a new PSU and a x4 955, you amy have to add 50$ to ur budget though.
a b B Homebuilt system
February 11, 2010 7:58:14 PM

Yeah, but if he just gets the x4 955 now, he won't need a new power supply.

In fact, I don't think he'll need a bigger power supply even if he goes to a quad-core AND a 5850, although the lack of 6-pin connectors could be a problem. The 5850 lists 500W as the minimum, and we all know how the video card manufacturers inflate their recommended power requirements to be on the safe side.

Anyway, my advice to the OP: Get the new quad-core x4 CPU now, and hold off on the video card/PSU until later. You will be absolutely kicking yourself in the ass later if you downgrade the CPU to a triple-core so that you can get a new PSU right now, when it won't do you any good yet.

Who knows, maybe you'll even get lucky and they'll come out with a low-power-consumption 58xx series card (or the nvidia equivalent) that only needs a single PCIe connection and you'll be able to rig it with a molex adapter to the PSU you have now.
February 11, 2010 8:06:21 PM

Yeh,get a x4 955 now, and save up for a new psu, ( Prefprably the 850 watt ones that Newegg has for 100$ now) and a 5850 or if Nvidia can somehow not make Fermi suck, a fermi chip.
February 19, 2010 3:02:58 AM

Best answer selected by vapolution.
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