Advice needed on upgrading my system

Hello everyone. I recently installed Win7 64-bit and thus far I like the OS but I've noticed a slowdown in terms of games and other applications. I'm fairly certain my CPU is bottlenecking my system, which I'll list below:

AMD Athlon X2 5600+
4 gigs DDR2

Now, I'm fairly certain that the 280GTX is a great video card, but I still have a lot of issues with games like GTA and even now Modern Warfare 2 seems to lag on high settings (whereas on Windows XP with 2 gigs of RAM, it never had ANY hiccups).

My first question then would be, is my CPU bottlenecking my system?

My second question is how I should proceed. Now I *COULD* invest in new mobo, RAM and CPU if it was realllyyyyyy worth it but for now, I'm looking at my options to find a motherboard that supports AM3 processors but one that will also allow me to use my existing DDR2 RAM. I think it's called AM2+ socket if im not mistaken? Let me know if I'm right/wrong.

As for price, I would likely spend about 200-300 on CPU+motherboard combo. IF you guys know of any deals on the internet or what-not, thats my price range and I don't mind spending the 300 if its more bang for my buck than a cheaper deal at $200.00.

If you guys have any other system recommendations (I don't really see what else I could replace, other than the case which I'll be doing once I swap CPU, and a SSD isn't a reality on my budget until prices go way down).

Thanks community,

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  1. You should check if your mobo supports AM3 cpus. If not, something like this

    and a athlon II x3 should do the trick.

    Then sell your old mobo/cpu on ebay. You may have spent like $30 after that.

    If you have other computers at all I'd sell stuff first, possibly including the RAM and see if it's enough to get DDR3 and a 890 AM3 chipset mobo instead.
  2. Ya yur 2 options are seeing you are tight on the $$

    1. Get an AM2+ and source out mobos that have BIOS updates which support the Thubans. This is a good sign that the mobo maker has not 'washed their hands' off that model hehe

    2. As said you could try selling chip+board+ram on the used h/w market and hit an AM3/DDR3 set up
  3. Thanks for the replies. Sorry I'm stupid I didn't even tell you guys my motherboard. It's the MSI K9A Platinum. People have told me my mobo might support AM2+ with the new BIOS updates but I asked MSI support and they said this wasn't the case.

    1) Would an old AMD 5600+ really sell for anything? Same goes with my motherboard? My 4 gigs DDR2 is probably still okay.

    2) What do you mean by "Source out mobos that have BIOS updates that support the "Thubans" (What's a Thuban? Lol!)

    Thanks for that link for that motherboard.

    Now, if I expanded my budget a bit, would you guys simply recommend going i7, new mobo, ddr3?

    Realistically, what is the cheapest I could do an i7 CPU, mobo and RAM (I guess 6 gigs of RAM, since DDR3 works in triple channel, correct? 3x2gb sticks is fine for me)?

    Thanks again, you guys are the best for this stuff.
  4. If you're just gaming, you don't need an i7. The hyperthreading you get with the i7 is useful for video/audio editing, etc. but it doesn't really help in games. For just gaming, I'd suggest going with either an AMD X3 or X4 processor (anywhere from $80-$160) or an Intel i5-750 ($200).

    With Win7, did you buy an OEM copy or a retail copy? If you bought an OEM copy, if you move to a new motherboard, you're going to have to get a new one, as the OEM copies are tied to the motherboard, and not to another component such as the hard drive.
  5. Can you call Microsoft and get a new code or is that only with the Retail version?
  6. You can, in certain circumstances call Microsoft for a new code for an OEM copy. Usually it's if a critical component has been damaged and you have to replace the motherboard, but you might want to look into the details a bit more, it's been a while since I've had to call Microsoft for anything along those lines.
  7. 1. If you sell the motherboard and that CPU together (with heatsink still on and all) there's a section on ebay specifically for that. Doing it that way you might get $80-100 or more. So yeah, I'd say it's worth it.

    2. He meant that if you wanna use your DDR2, you should check the support pages for AM2+ boards to make sure that they support the six core CPU. This is in an attempt to hopefully be able to stick with it and if you're lucky they'll update the BIOS again when other newer stuff comes out.

    As far as calling microsoft they don't give you a new code they just approve the reuse of the code you have already. Their real main concern is to make sure it's only being used on one computer at any given time. The reason they tie it to the motherboard is that if you're good enough to upgrade that, you're good enough to build a system out of the old parts, and what OS will that run?
  8. OS isn't an issue. My cousin works at a retailer and he's got CD keys up the wazoo, I haven't bought Windows in years. So I guess I'll go with an X4 Athlon CPU + motherboard combo. Be great to find a mobo that can support it along with my DDR2, then it would definitely be affordable.
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