Starcraft 2 upgrade from... Athlon 64 X2 5200+, HD3850, 2GB?

Hi guys, I've been pulling my hair out the past day looking for the best bang-for-buck upgrade to play SC2 on medium to high settings at 1920x1050 res. SC2 is the only PC game I'll be playing, and I don't do any multimedia editing, but I do watch a lot of HD content.

My setup is:

Windows 7
Athlon 64 x2 5200+ (Windsor)
MSI Radeon OC HD 3850 512MB PCi-E
2GB of DDR2 800 Mhz ram
Asus M2N-SLI mobo

In SC2, I get really bad stuttering and crappy FPS when there are a lot of units on the screen (especially in multiplayer), when using anything higher than Low texture settings. It's tolerable if I set Graphics detail to Medium and texture to Low, but it isn't as smooth as I'd like it to be.

I don't want to spend more than $300 if I can help it. Hopefully I can avoid upgrading my videocard. I've read that SC2 is very cpu-intensive, so I was thinking about either upgrading my motherboard, cpu, ram to an Athlon II X3 445, an AM3/DDR2-compatible mobo, and getting another pair of DDR2 800Mhz ram.

What do you guys think?
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More about starcraft upgrade from athlon 5200 hd3850
  1. borrow a 2GB ram from a friend to see if it help. if it does, then there is no need to spend 300 :p

    also other things to test:
    1.open task manager and play games for 5mins. then minimize the game and see if your processor is being tasked. if yes then you can go for CPU+mobo in the 200 dollar range....you could manage upto AM2+ mobo and a phenom x4 3GHz
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813130266
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103809&cm_re=phenom_II_x4-_-19-103-809-_-Product
    u can use ur existing RAM

    2. also you can lower the resolution and see if it helps, if it does upgrade your cpu. otherwise go for get a 4850
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102834&cm_re=4850-_-14-102-834-_-Product

    since you are in 300dollar budget, you can get all three anyway for 330dollar

    u can cut the 30 dollar if you get a cheaper MObo and a cheaper version of 4850 :)
  2. thanks for the advice, guys. i'm going to go with the cpu/motherboard/ram for around $200 for now, since i kind of need an updated cpu anyways. if it doesn't totally solve my problem, i'll shell out for one of those cards :)
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