Dual Core E8400 @ 3.0 Ghz
4 GB DDR2 800 Mhz
ATI Sapphire 3770 video card
ASUS P5Q-E motherboard
After reading some articles, I ordered a CPU cooler and plan to overclock my CPU. Just a couple of questions I was hoping some people could help me out with: is there a noticeable difference going from DDR2 800 to DDR2 1066? My current motherboard handles both. Would there be any point to upgrading or adding more RAM? I plan to upgrade my graphics card but wasn't sure if I should upgrade both or just spend more on a better video card. (primary reason for upgrading is for video games).
Any recommendation on a video card to go with that set up? I have been eyeing a PowerColor Radeon HD 5850 1GB Overclocked 256bit GDDR5 for $290 Cdn, which I thought was pretty good bang for my buck. Prefer to stick with ATI over Nvidia.. bought two Nvidia cards in the past and had to return both - as soon as I started up any game my screen would just go black, played with settings for two days and nothing.. got an ATI card both times, no problems.
Just a thought, with black screens, check power supply, as you did not mention that. May be your power supply is weak. Also, I know I had this issue when I had too much plugged into one power strip. Once I remedied that issue, the black screens disappeared. Depending on what you are looking for, if you think it's worth trying nvidia again, might look at their GTX 460. From what I've seen, it's supposed to be almost the performance of a 5830 but for 100 bucks less.
Also, if you are interested in maybe a new CPU and board, though your CPU looks great for now....if you have microcenter nearby, they've got a deal going, if you buy an AMD chip, you can get a free motherboard. Might be worth throwing that into the mix.
Though I see it looks like you are from Canada, so the microcenter deal may not be feasible in that case, but if they do have microcenters up north, might be worth looking into.
Also, with the memory, I agree with the above poster. Your running ddr2 anyhow, when you go to a new setup, you'll probably need ddr3, and upgrading past 4 gb of ddr2 will probably be a waste, and especially replacing what memory you've got with marginally faster memory, but.....I'd say better to get the video card you want, maybe upgrade the power supply, and then if you want more drive space or what have you, grab that stuff, that way you can carry it over if you decide to grab a new chip, board and ram later for a rebuild.
Oops, forgot to mention that - yeah I had been running a 350 W PS back in the day and after reading up a bit, I thought that was the problem and upgraded to a 550 W - same thing happened though with Nvidia, screen just went black anytime I started up a game. Thanks for the tip on the GTX 460 though - I may have to take a look into it as long as the OEM store here still has the same return policy if I get another black screen