Asus a8n-sli deluxe (nvidia nForce4 chipset)
amd athlon 64 3500+ (2.2Ghz)
Corsair XMS 1GB PC3200 dual channel ram
BFG Geforce 6600 GT OC
Windows XP SP3
Enermax 600 W power supply (Enermax Noisetaker EG701AX-VE-SFMA ATX )
5x various hard drives
I'm looking at cheap replacements: monitor/graphic card. I would like to avoid buying a new graphic card if possible, as this one runs my games just fine. In reading about buying a new monitor, I realized the graphic card may not support such high resolution efficiently, which led me to consider buying a new card if its going to be an issue. Something about running in less than the native resolution (for the monitor) doesn't work well...
my motherboard lists support for
2x pci express x16 slots
2x pci express x1 slots
3x pci slots
can this motherboard support a pci 2.0 x16 card? and if it can support it, would it lose any functionality? - Some cards I see say "(PCI-Express x16 (PCI Express 2.0 Supported)" i'm assuming that means it can work on a mobo that supports either or?
Your old board should work with the newer pci-e cards if your power supply is up to it and has the proper connectors, usually a 6 pin pci-e. List your power supply specs for more recommendations. Many mid range video cards for under $100 should work with any decent 400w ps, but some brands are junk.
It will run at pci-e 1.0, but you won't notice the difference. I suggest an nvidia card with directx 11 support. I recommend the PNY GTS 450 femi for $100 after rebate at newegg. You get a 5 year warranty with online registration, and your enermax power supply can handle it. Be sure to test it out before sending in the rebate.
It won't hurt to add 1 or 2 gb of extra ram; use it in pairs if possible for dual channel support. I find mine used on craigslist; I wouldn't pay a premium for new stuff. You're upgrading an old board that when it fails leaves you stuck with a big investment. The video card can transfer over to another board, but old ddr ram won't. I wouldn't spend too much; at some point it will be cheaper to do a proper upgrade of the cpu/ram/board all at once. I found used combo deals very cheap on craigslist with ddr2; I bought an am3 board with regor cpu for $60 and got a free case and pci-e card the owner didn't need anymore, plus a 15 inch lcd that works great. Another time I found an ecs acer oem board with amd cpu and 2 gb of ddr2 for $32 and got the owner to throw in the original acer case with dvd player for free. The deals are out there if you are patient and do some haggling.
Good point, I went with the 1 GB for $28. I was wanting the quicker ram but it was almost $70 and it would be a shame if the board died. I'll look around for deals on craigslist and ebay, i'm in no rush.
Thanks for your quick replies, but do you know about the other questions?
-will a beefier card like that bottleneck my cpu? (either the card you suggested or the one I mentioned)
[this question is mainly for future reference since I went ahead and went with the same brand]
and I understand its best to run memory in pairs, but I was asking if its an issue to run mix matched brands/setups, like one pair of corsair @ 2.5V @ CL 2.5 and timing 2-2-2-5 with another pair of g.skill at 2.65-2.75 V at 2 CL and 2-3-2-5, etc, mix matched pairs like that?
Your question should be reversed: will my cpu bottleneck the beefier video card? The answer is yes, but you can't go much higher with your old 939 motherboard. The fastest 939 cpu is only 2400; my sempron 140 am3 is 2700 and overclocks to 3.24 easily. You want better performance, then sell off your old board/cpu/heatsink/ram and go with the phenom II or i5 sandy bridge.
Ok, yes I was sad to notice the 939 doesn't go much higher. I may look into overclocking it if its an issue for me. I guess I should really rephrase it again- will the cpu bottlenecking a better card create a slow down or an issue that it isn't worth putting that good of a card with this cpu? Or will the cpu essentially just limit the gpu to that of the cpu's speed?
in otherwords, would the new card atleast perform better than what I currently have and not hinder the overall performance of the system? Part of the reason for this gfx card upgrade was to support an led lcd monitor of 1920x1080 or higher (which my current card supports to just above that resolution but I was afraid the current card wouldn't be able to process my games at such a high native resolution- though I don't play too graphically intensive games: , half life 2, halo 1, warcraft 3, which the first two are probably the most graphically demanding) my current monitor is on loan from a friend @ 1280x1024 since mine actually died, so as long as this new card wouldn't be hindered by the cpu enough to handle the above mentioned tasked, bottlenecking shouldn't be an issue.
note: this pc will eventually be used as a secondary desktop/media center (probably hooked up to a 40"+ tv to create a media center in a living room) in the next 2-3 years provided it doesn't die on me, at which point I will build a new desktop in the $1000-2000 range. So i'm not looking for really fast performance at the moment, just a few upgrades to lengthen the life of this desktop. Currently I primarily use my laptop since I'm on the go frequently with graduate school.