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Upgrade 5 y/o system for less than $300?

I built a gaming pc 5 years ago and my GPU (eVGA 6800GT) just died. I currently play Guild Wars and Team Fortress 2, and don't want to spend more than $300 upgrading this system right now. I use it for gaming exclusively. The 6800GT has a lifetime warranty so I can RMA it and that's given me a couple of options:

Option 1: RMA 6800GT and keep gaming pc as-is. Limp through the rest of the year and upgrade next year for Guild Wars 2.

Option 2: Spend up to $300 right now upgrading what I can on this limited budget. If I upgrade now I will not upgrade again for another five years.

What do you think? Is Option 2 going to be a meaningful upgrade or is the budget too small to bother right now?

Here's my system:
Motherboard: Asus A8N-SLI Premium

CPU: AMD Athlon 64 3000+ (not overclocked)

HSF: Retail included w/Athlon 64 3000+

Memory: CORSAIR 2X1G Twinx2048-3200c2pt

Hard Drive: 1x WD Velociraptor 32GB SATA, 1 x WD 160GB SATA

GPU: 1x eVGA 6800GT

Case: Antec P160 (graphics cards over 10" long are too big)

PSU: Corsair TX750W (Original PSU died, bought this last year)

Speakers: Don't need

Monitor: Dell 20" (1600 x 1200) 2001FP

Mouse: Logitech MX518

Thanks.
5 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. RMA the card. And plan to upgrade very soon.

    Or you could buy an HD 5770 for $150. That would carry on to another build. If you could get ahold of another $95 on top of the $300, you could get a X3 425, Gigabyte GA-770TA-UD3 and A-Data 2x2 GB 1333 mhz CAS Latency 9 for $245. That would be basically a new computer.
  2. RMA the board regardless. Even if you don't want the card anymore use the warranty and get a new/refurb replacement. Atleast that way you can use it towards a htpc or whatever in the future.
  3. Best answer
    It really depends on what your budget is going to look like next year, when you're ready to build (and, of course, barring any financial issues over the course of the next year). If, next year, you're going to be able to build the uber-gaming system (Core I7/Enthusiast class graphics), then it'd probably be best to wait. If not, upgrade now. The way I see it, you have a few options:

    1) Replace your CPU and graphics card.

    While I really don't recommend this option, it is a viable one. You can pick up a decent dual-core, socket 939 processor and add in a new graphics card like the HD5670 for under $200. You keep the same motherboard and memory. While not quite up to spec with my old X2-4800+ and Geforce 8800GTS-640, my old system did play Crysis are reasonable (25-35 FPS @1680x1050) rates. I think this upgrade would handle your games fairly well. Again, I don't recommend this option, but if $300 stretches the budget a little too much, then perhaps this sub $200 option will work.

    2) MadAdmiral's rebuild

    If you can spare the extra cash, MadAdmiral's build is nothing to laugh at. It will certainly out-perform option one.

    3) Slightly less than MadAdmiral's build

    Motherboard - ASUS M4N68T-M - $55
    CPU - AMD AthlonII X3-425 Rana - $70
    Memory - Kingston Value RAM 2GB (2x1GB) - $58
    Graphics - Sapphire HD5670 - $90
    Shipping: ~$10 (in the US)

    Total: >$300

    I don't think any of these options will get you through the next five years, , but probably the next two to three.

    -Wolf sends
  4. Wolfshadow you're right and I didn't mention what next year's budget would be. This year's budget is limited because I'm unemployed but next year should (hopefully!) be much better. Assuming I save the cash for now and have a full-time job next year I would be able to spend $800-1,000. That would be a solid new system that could last me for a few years.

    I think I'll just RMA the card and limp through 2010. I could always upgrade the monitor at the end of the year in anticipation of the new rig to come. Thanks for the input everyone.
  5. Best answer selected by luffy.
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