A config dilemma!

I have an old P4 setup on an ASUS P4T533-C that has been giving me fits over the last year. The Radeon 9700 Pro in it was dying, and seriously, that thing turned to hot lava, possibly damaging the mobo. But anyway, I decided to upgrade the video card since it needed replacement anyway. Since the Sapphire Radeon HD 3850 was backward compatible with the AGP 4x on my mobo, I got it (That's a curiously powerful AGP card, BTW). However, I'm still having problems with my PC after the new video card (framerate problems, and I think my PSU isn't quite beefy enough as it shuts off in the middle of games.. its a 420W PSU but only 16A on the +12V rail).

So here's the dilemma. I've got some debt that I have to pay off so I can't really afford a new-era gamer/enthusiast PC (if I didn't have the debt I could easliy afford an Alienware/Falcon-NW/MAINGEAR if I wanted to .. :pfff: So kids, moral of the story - DEBT SUCKS). I know this PC is old but it'd be nice to keep it going if possible just so I have something to use in the interrim while I solve my $ problems. However, I think there's a possibility that the mobo is just self-destructing (which really, is the dilemma). I like the power on the card, but I don't want to waste a card like that on something that is just going to die anyway (and plus, Mobo is not 8x).

So the crux of the matter: Do I keep the HD 3850 and bear with the problems? Do I send it back (got it less than a week ago) and get a lesser video card? Or (another option I'm willing to consider if I can do it for less than $250 for CPU/mobo/RAM): Build up another rig (2006 era), possibly cheap because of the yesterday-era components, designed around the HD 3850 w/ an AGP 8x mobo? My kids and I don't really play new-era games so a modern elite/enthusiast type rig isn't something I'd go for, especially right now, so if it'd last me another 3 years, the build-a-rig route would be nice.

What do you guys suggest? If I were to go the build-rig-around-HD 3850 route, what parts-list would be the biggest bang for the buck? Anyone know of a good AGP 8x mobo or setup I could use to fully utilize the HD 3850?
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  1. So, I take you have $250 + a video card.

    You can get a brand new modern mobo+CPU+RAM for ~$250:

    GIGABYTE GA-770T-USB3 AM3 AMD 770 USB 3.0
    AMD Athlon II X3 435 Rana 2.9GHz
    A-DATA Gaming Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3

    Total $260

    +send back that video card and get a modern PCIe one also sell your current mobo, cpu, RAM and buy a PSU. Or buy only 2G of RAM for starters and get a PSU.
  2. Thanks for the reply, mosox. That's a pretty good price for a modern config. I thought for a modern rig I'd be looking at least at $400-500 for MB+CPU+RAM. Sending the card back and getting a refund is definitely an option. The HD 3850 was about $110.. I'm guessing that for $110 I could get a PCIe card that is at least as powerful as the AGP 3850 that I got.. right?

    This 'puter will, about 95% of the time, be used for surfing/email. My kids and I don't play modern games (probably 2000 - 2006 era, although I DO have my eyeballs on Starcraft 2..) so I don't really need to go overkill on a GPU. The only thing that really would make me hesitate, though, is when I get into the realm of having to purchase a new case/PSU/HDDs/etc to accomodate a modern MB+CPU+RAM. This is the only reason why I lean toward getting something in the Core 2 Duo era with an AGP 8x board, cuz then I could grin and bear it as I stuff it into my old case and connect up the ATA100 HDDs on the RAID array.. And the Audigy 2.. :whistle:

    Anyone give a second opinion on a Core 2 Duo board with AGP 8x? I'd like to weigh between that and mosox's suggestion.

    Thanks in advance :)
  3. That list mosox came up with is a good setup for gaming.
  4. They don't make those mobos anymore. You can reuse your case, HDD, DVD-writer and sound card on the new rig.

    Here's a list with PSU included, only 2G of RAM, you can add a second stick later.

    - The same mobo and CPU.

    - RAM - CORSAIR 2GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333

    - PSU - FSP Group SAGA+ 450R 450W ATX12V Power Supply compatible with Core i7

    - Video card - SAPPHIRE 100287VGAL Radeon HD 5670

    Total $351.95 (with $20 discounts)

    Without PSU that would be $301.96 - your PSU could be powerful enough for this rig unless it's a no-name. What brand is it? Anyway, the HD5670 consumes less than that HD3850 and is a much better card.
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