BTW, the there is better RAM out there. g.skill ripjaws to be specific. my internet is playing up atm though and loading a newegg page is taking 10 minutes a time. ill update this with better links asap.
EDIT: there we go. fairly great upgrade there.
and just realized, newegg will throw in MW2 for free when you buy the bundle including that CPU and mobo. not a bad deal.
for graphic design a good processor would be very helpful. weather its worth the money is something only you can decide.
in that case, dont get an AM3 mobo, get a socket AM2+ mobo that way you can re-use your current RAM. if you get AM3 you'd also need to buy ddr3 ram.
the site you linked doesn;t have a great selection, are there any other sites that you could use? the motherboard in my signature is a great AM2+ board, so if you can find that at a good price coupled with the 955 processor you can get a pretty nice upgrade.
if you still want to keep the cost down, an Athlon ii 620 processor should do very well also. but is much cheaper. and compatible with the same motherboards.
yes, thats also a good choice. the i5 750 is an excellent processor. but you end up having to spend considerably more that way. not only is the processor itself much more expensive, but the motherboards are too. plus you have to buy DDR3 RAM as they do not support older ddr2.
why do you not want to buy online? you are severely restricting options that way. and you'll end up paying much more for the sake of waiting an extra day or two for something to arrive.
at the moment with a Intel E8400 CPU, but its the 2.66ghz one, not the 3ghz one.
So what im wondering is, im looking to spend a max of $400 and am wondering if you guys have any advice on what i should get.
I do not think there is a 2.66ghz E8400. Is it possible that you have a counterfeit E6600 that has been made to look like a E8400 which should be 3.0?
On the web site you linked to , clock on the cpu supported area to get a list of supported cpu's for your motherboard. The fastest is the QX9770. You should be able to buy a QX9650 on e-bay for <$400.
Anything stronger will require a new motherboard.
But... How certain are you that a stronger CPU will do what you want? Activate the task manager and run your jobs. See how cpu bound you seem to be. As a test, in windows power management, reduce your maximum cpu% to something less than 100%. Perhaps to 70%. See if your throughput reduces accordingly. If it does, then a faster cpu is in order. If it does not, then look to your hard disk configuration. Consider the new WD velociraptor 600gb drives if you think you are held back by the hard drives.
I would just try and find a Q9550 or 9650 they will perform just about as good as a Phenom II x4 955 you can find Q9650's on ebay for around $250 that would be your best option. And since you dont have a credit card you can go to supermarket and buy an ebay gift card and use that.