Current system, built 5 years ago with a couple of upgrades:
Athlon 64 X2 4800+
DFI LANPARTY UT N-F4 Ultra D
Radeon HD 4850 1GB
OCZ Platinum DDR 400 1GB x4
WD Velociraptor 150GB
Hitachi Deskstar 250GB
OCZ Modstream 520W
Thought I was going to be able to do a substantial rebuild, but it will have to be more incremental. What's my best option to give me a boost for general productivity and moderate gaming, with a $500 max:
Gigabyte GA-890FXA-UD5 ($339 combo with 965BE at Newegg)
G.Skill 4GB (2 x 2GB) F3-12800CL9D-4GBNQ ($109)
Total: $448 (Have a second HD 4850 for Crossfire, but might have to wait on a new PSU in order to use it)
OR, for a less expensive option to wait a year and see what happens with Sandy Bridge and Bulldozer:
Intel x-25M 80GB ($195 special at Newegg)
Win 7 Professional Upgrade ($175)
I would hold off on the SSD. they are not perfected yet pulse they are dumb expansive..
If you get another 150 raptor can run it in raid 0 that will increase performance.
You can look at the amd boards am3+ they are pretty cheap as well as the cpu. Also are you running ddr or ddr2? if you are running ddr2 you can carry that over or spend a little extra and get ddr3 but you might go over your budget idk. Than you can carry over your psu, and HDD.
AMD takes low power so 520 be enough unless you want to run xfire
Plain old DDR, unfortunately, so I would need to get new memory for the AM3 board.
On the other hand, the Intel x-25M would be for a system/apps drive to give it back a little pep, while games would stay on the Velociraptor since they don't seem to benefit as much from SSDs. Win 7 64 bit would help me get a bit more out of 4GB of memory, which is currently limited to about 3.5 GB under Win XP.
Would be so much easier if I could do this all at once, but it's not in the cards at the moment.
Your best gaming upgrade (for now) is either a new video card or CrossFire-ing the 4850s.
For general system responsiveness, I'd agree that the SSD (while expensive) is a decent choice. I'd hold off until next year on mobo/processor/RAM, since everything is set to change. While AM3 will still be viable, there's no guarantee that AM3 won't be done after Bulldozer.
This is one of the few times I'd recommend getting the retail version of Windows 7. Since you're planning on upgrading your mobo next year(ish), the retail copy will save you money in the long run, as you won't have to buy 2 OEM copies.
Looking back at your original post, I just noticed that was your 2nd option. Good call.
550W is recommended for 2x 4850, so you're not too far off, but I'd feel better with an upgrade. If you're willing, you could get a decent PSU and still be under your $500 target, along with Win7 and the SSD.
Well, as much as I'd like to simply Crossfire my current system, the LANPARTY UT-nF4 Ultra D unfortunately doesn't support it. Bad planning on my part, as I couldn't ever imagine needing multiple GPUs. Times change, I guess!