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Upgrade current AM2 build or new 500-600 dollar build

Last response: in Systems
August 6, 2010 5:20:00 PM

Current System:
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ (2.6GHz)
Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H 780g Chipset Mobo
2x1GB OCZ Gold DDR2 800MHz
WD Caviar 160GB
Sapphire ATI 4670
Antec Earthwatts 430W
Diamond 7.1 Soundcard
Niko 19" Widescreen LCD
Windows 7 Pro

Use: I commonly use my system for gaming (Source games, Mass Effect 2, looking forward to Halo: Reach...), and AutoCAD

Timeframe: Looking to upgrade between now and the spring before college (where I will likely be using AutoCAD heavily)

I live in the US and prefer Newegg or Tigerdirect. Unlikely to overclock. Quiet PC is preferable.

Questions: How much could I get for a sale of the system with/without the OS? Should I part out the system? I have generally been on a cycle of selling my old computer after 2 years and using the money from the sale to bring me within 200 or 300 dollars of the cost of a new build. I realize that my system will be worth less and less the more time I take to sell it, giving me less money to use for a new system. The question is, will upgrading my RAM to 4GB, CPU to a tricore, HDD to SSD or RAID give me more performance for my money than buying the system I list below? (OCZ 2x2 1600 Ram) (Core i3 + Mobo Combo) (cheap Rosewill mATX case, I don't care about looks, smaller is better)
Some 1920x1080 or 1680x1050 monitor for less than 170
Average little 20-25 dollar DVD Writer SATA
320 GB HDD, (or would RAID be worth it?) (SSD's seem too expensive) (5670, as my 4670 seemed powerful enough)
An 80 plus power supply to handle all of this

a c 84 B Homebuilt system
August 6, 2010 5:50:02 PM

To be honest, I'd probably be looking to move on to a new build. As for what the current one is worth, I have no idea. You'll likely have good luck parting some of it out (RAM especially). However, some parts can be used in the new build (HDD, PSU, GPU), so that can lower the cost of the build.

The build you've listed isn't that great. The i3 is a bad choice for CAD work.

Here's what I'd look at (links aren't right, but I'm working on it):

CPU: X4 955 $160 with $10 gift card
Mobo: ASRock 770 EXTREME3 $75
RAM: G.Skill Eco 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $105
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB $75. It'll be a lot faster, but you can leave it out if needed.
Case/Optical: Coolermaster 690 and cheap SATA DVD burner $73

Total: $488. Of course, you could throw a new GPU and PSU in there, but I'd stick to this for now. Upgrade those later when you that GPU gets too weak for you. I certainly wouldn't recommend buying anything less than the HD 5770 right now.
a b B Homebuilt system
August 6, 2010 5:51:25 PM

Well, if you sell the system, the OS has gotta go. They tie it to the mobo.

But I suppose you can uninstall before selling, call MS up & tell 'em that your mobo died & you're upgrading it.

They'll in all likelihood give you another key :) 
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August 7, 2010 3:02:01 AM

Thanks for the advice, MadAdmiral. Know of any places I can pick up some antistatic bags to ship out parts? Nice choice of motherboard, I hadn't even considered that model chipset. Does the 955 (Phenom) really have that much of a performance increase over the 630 (Athlon)?

Thanks for the heads up, calguy. I think I've dealt with that before. All I had to do was call up MS and have some Indian girl activate it. No questions asked. I suppose that may have changed.
a b B Homebuilt system
August 7, 2010 4:10:21 AM

Checking your BIOS/CPU support list for a cheap upgrade just hit a Deneb 945 + GTS 250 and 600W 80+ PSU? 2GB RAMs optional
Cost of upgrade: $235AR

Edit: EA430 is 80+ and would be fine for a GTS 250 so ya +2GB more RAM ^^
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
August 7, 2010 4:17:58 PM

The Phenom certainly does have a lot more power over an Athlon. Basically, the two AMD CPUs I'd recommend are the X3 440 and the X4 955. Anything between those two isn't worth it.