Looking to upgrade CPU or whole system for games

Hey all,

Any help appreciated.

Until now have mainly been playing CSS and MW2. GTA4 barely worked on my system, and now BF2:BC is choppy and sluggish. I suspect it's time to upgrade at least my CPU.

I'm not sure if I should swap my whole motherboard at this point to take advantage of a better platform. I have no idea what is going on in the CPU/motherboard world. So I'm asking for any help.

I have money to spend but I'd prefer to keep it all under $600. However I'd consider up to $900 in upgrades if it was really that much more awesome for that much farther in the future. Thanks for reading and for any replies.


AMD Athlon 64 3500
A8N-SLI S939/nForce4 SLI/DDR400/PCI-Express/RAID/1GBE/ATX Motherboard.

Have since added 2 more gigs: MEM 1Gx2|ADATA 184P D400 ADBGC1A16K

And new graphics card, an ATI Radeon 5770.

It all works for most things but what would you guys suggest for A) best CPU-only upgrade for this motherboard, and B) best MB/CPU upgrade combo?

Besides the games I use the 'puter for a bit of video work, porn, and browsing the internet. Thanks.
5 answers Last reply
More about looking upgrade system games
  1. CPU only upgrade would still be too weak for a decent upgrade in GTA 4 and BFBC2, the best I believe is the Athlon FX-60 which is really overpriced or the regular Athlon 64 X2 3800+. I suggest you go for a new CPU/MB/RAM combo, specifically an AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition 3.2 GHz, 4 GB DDR3 1333/1600 MHz memory, any 890GX/FX chipset based motherboard, another HD 5770 and then you'd be all set. What PSU do you have? The upgrades would cost around $500 or so so you're well within budget.
  2. yeah id echo what lmeow says.

    if you are looking for a cheaper upgrad an athlon II 620 would be a good choice. i have just built a budget system around the athlon ii 635 and a 5770. it plays BC2 impressively well. 60fps on medium settings and 2xaa at 1080p.

    you can then always get a second GPU and a newer CPU down the line.
  3. Thanks guys.

    So I think I'll start the process of upgrading everything. Thanks for pointing me in a direction. I think I'll go with Lmeow's second recommendations. It'll be my first time attempting something so big.


    1) I will probably have to upgrade my power supply. Recommendations?

    2) Links to any kit or how-to pages (excluding Lmeow's tag) appreciated.

    3) Can I use the same RAM? Will I run out of ports or is there some superstacked 4gb/port ram now?

    4) Are the motherboards configured somewhat similarly so I can keep the same box? Should I just get a new one?

    5) Any 890GX/FX motherboard? Ideally I want something fast, upgradeable, that will remain current and compatible for the next 2-4 years ideally, for the next generation or two of CPUs.

    5) A fast and working changeover is important to me. Please advise for any common pitfalls or missing parts, no matter how small.

    List so far:

    AMD Phenom II Black Edition 3.2 ghz
    any 890GX/FX motherboard
    1 GB extra DDR3 1333/1600 mhz RAM, or 4 GB if current RAM is not compatible.
    CPU Heatsink (unknown)
    Power supply (specs/brand unknown)
    Another HD 5770 (possible)

    Thanks guys, I really appreciate it.
  4. overwatch said:
    It'll be my first time attempting something so big.


    Anyway, down to business:

    1. Corsair 650W will give you more than you need but if you need a less expensive option, the 600W OCZ modxstream is also good and OCZ often has mail in rebate offers with it. I have it with my 3870 and overclocked Athlon IIx4

    2. How to what? What do you want to know how to do?

    3. No. Your ram is DDR. New Ram is DDR3 with DDR2 support being phased out. I have no clue what you mean by "Will I run out of ports or is there some superstacked 4gb/port ram now"

    4. Provided you built your computer yourself or your OEM manufacturer used the standard ATX motherboard form factor, then you will be able to keep your current case. If you go on wikipedia and find ATX form factor, they will tell you the exact size of the ATX motherboard.

    5. I'd recommend a less expensive 785G motherboard by Asus or Gigabyte. Get the AM3 version that supports DDR3 memory of course. Same thing but without USB3 or Sata 6Gb/s support.

    Get 4GB of new DDR3 memory and you will be set. Your old stuff is not compatible.
    A heatsink will come with your CPU. You don't need to purchase a new one unless you plan to overclock more than 10% and increase the voltages to do so.
    A second 5770 is not worth it in my opinion. You don't need it. I play all games except Crysis and Cryostasis at 60+ FPS at 1920x1080 with some settings turned down. Unless you are hardcore and want to turn up all the settings on your games, then you don't need to worry. A 5770 will play everything today at good framerates.
    If you wanted, you could also downgrade your CPU to an Athlon IIx3. Best bang for buck gaming CPU and the difference with the phenom II with that graphics card will be marginal. Get the x4 phenom II though, if you want a second 5770. Although, you could still do fine without major framerate issues with the Athlon II x3, if you do get the second 5770.
  5. I have some work to do obviously... I will refer to this thread a bunch, thanks guys.
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