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First upgrade to get?

my current build is:
windows 7
asus m3n-ht deluxe mempipe
6 gig OZC ddr2-800 ram about 847mhz(2 1 gig sticks and 2 4 gig sticks, friend gave me his 1 gig sticks a year ago...only reason I have them) running dual channel obviously
athlon 64 X2 5200 BE @ 3.1 ghz
360gb HDD
8800GT OC'd @ 692/1730/1093
550watt psu

its about time for me to start upgrading my rig, I can play most games well enough at around mid-high settings at 1600 x 900. Where should I start? I'm not really willing to start with the mobo because it is such a good all arounder.

Basically, the age-old: start with cpu or gpu?
I'm thinking cpu I can afford a new gpu a month later and by x-mas I'll be able to afford an AM3 dedicated board with some DDR3 ram.
14 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about first upgrade
  1. the 8800GT is a very old GPU by now. I would seek to upgrade the GPU first, your CPU is ok, not awsome but ok. Just make sure that if you buy a new GPU that your PSU can support it enough. Looking at a cheaper card would a Radeon HD 4890 or a GEforce 260 be good. But if you want dx11 you could go with a 5xxx Radeon or a 4xxx GEforce. But i dont know if your Mobo supports them ver well. They would fit but you wouldnt get full power from them. I think :P

    If you give me a budget i would be glad to set up some reccomendations. And if i were you i would seriously consider changing to a DDR-3 mobo and a intel core i3 or i5 processor while on it. But since i dont have a budget it's hard for me to set out products that would work for you.

    If you start with the CPU you will probably want a AM3 processor and not another AM2 socket, and then you will need to change the mobo aswell.

    The thing is you can buy yourself a high end dx-11 card like a Radeon 5xxx or a Geforce 4xx and then when you change mobo you will get the full power out of them.

    But keep in mind, if you go for a new processor, a new mobo, new ram and a dx 11 card you would probably want a 650W PSU aswell. Corsair got some quality PSU's.
  2. They posted an article examining this very question on the front page, might still be there. Through testing, they found that the largest performance gains for the average user came from the addition of a SSD. So you may want to look into that as a possible upgrade path.
  3. 8800 is old but can still serve you well.
    Yup, SSD is among the best upgrade you can get for such a system like yours.

    OK I will list the most reasonable upgrades you can get either only one or in combination (not in any kind of order) :
    1. AM3 proc X3 440, X4 640 (or higher)
    2. HD5770 or GTX460 or HD5850
    3. An SSD

    I have upgraded the GPU, PSU, and getting an SSD. I plan to get a new mobo, proc, and ram within sommer next year.
    My old configuration used a HD3850 512MB, 450W Corsair PSU (no support for XFire/SLI and has only 1 PCIex16 power connector, I need at least 2 for a HD5850), and no SSD. (See my signature to see my current configuration)
  4. thanks guys! from here to the end of the year I think I'll have a budget of about 800-900$ and maybe I'll be able to get some items for x-mas!

    An SSD HDD is the biggest improvement huh? They're not cheap...damn.

    I'd really rather the mobo and ram be the last few upgrades though so it is gonna be an AMD cpu regardless.

    The psu is a Rocketfish (best buy proprietary brand). It's actually fairly decent though, with good amp and 2 pci power connectors, so it will be able to last till I upgrade the mobo. I'd have to get a new one regardless sooner or later however.

    The mobo is really good though, It'll be able to handle those cards easy, even sli them if I had the cash and a better PSU. I'll definitely be upgrading it like I mentioned regardless however.

    I was looking to stay with geforce but I'd always consider radeon (last radeon I had was a 2400 pro I think lol).

    Thanks for the current and any future suggestions!
  5. I think the article that is being referred to actually recommended an SSD for average users, but a GPU as the first upgrade for gamers. An SSD makes a big difference in day-to-day usage, but it does very little for gaming.

    If you're holding onto the motherboard until last, you may want to see if you can wait for an AM3+ mobo, and move to the next gen CPUs that are being released next year. If you can still game reasonably well, there's no reason to buy an old CPU to put in an old mobo.

    What is your current budget?
  6. hmm...well the m3n-ht is an AM2+, so I'd still be able to use AM3 socket CPUs on it. I was considering a phenom x4 955 (most likely BE) for the cpu and a gtx 460 for the gpu.

    my current budget is around $200-250. But through the end of the year, I'm looking for the entire upgrade to cost less then $1000, $800 preferably. :P
  7. You certainly could get a 955 and/or a gtx 460, they're both good value buys.

    I totally get the urge to build/rebuild, but is there something that is suffering in performance right now? Based on the upcoming new products, if your computer isn't currently causing you too many problems, I'd be very tempted to wait if I were you.

    If you're definitely going to update something, I'd heavily lean towards upgrading your GPU first, as that is the thing that is likely most limiting your current gaming.
  8. Best answer
    I would say just wait on it and do a full rebuild once it's clear what bulldozer is gonna look like. If you must do it piecemeal I would do something like this:

    1. GTX 460 - low power, better bang for buck over the 5830, newer generation than the 5770 - $190-200
    2. 955 BE - AM3 chip that could fit into your current mobo - $125-150 (depending on how long you wait)
    3. AM3+ mobo - setting yourself up for future bulldozer upgrade - $150-200? Who knows...
    4. New ram + PSU - don't skimp on the PSU. maybe wait for a good bundle and snipe it. XFX 750 + GSKILL or something like that - $200
    5. New bulldozer chip - self explanatory... - $250-300?
    6. Best gfx card your new psu and budget can handle - $350

    Understand that I'm invisioning this process going for something like the next year or so, with each purchase separated by a few months. I think this path makes the most sense for you. SSD is a nice to have, but if you're worried more about your gaming than your boot time, the other stuff would be better (imo).

    Source for gfx comparison: http://techreport.com/articles.x/19404/11
  9. NeoElemental said:
    I would say just wait on it and do a full rebuild once it's clear what bulldozer is gonna look like. If you must do it piecemeal I would do something like this:

    1. GTX 460 - low power, better bang for buck over the 5830, newer generation than the 5770 - $190-200
    2. 955 BE - AM3 chip that could fit into your current mobo - $125-150 (depending on how long you wait)
    3. AM3+ mobo - setting yourself up for future bulldozer upgrade - $150-200? Who knows...
    4. New ram + PSU - don't skimp on the PSU. maybe wait for a good bundle and snipe it. XFX 750 + GSKILL or something like that - $200
    5. New bulldozer chip - self explanatory... - $250-300?
    6. Best gfx card your new psu and budget can handle - $350

    Understand that I'm invisioning this process going for something like the next year or so, with each purchase separated by a few months. I think this path makes the most sense for you. SSD is a nice to have, but if you're worried more about your gaming than your boot time, the other stuff would be better (imo).

    Source for gfx comparison: http://techreport.com/articles.x/19404/11


    Makes sense! And ya, while the 8800 has served me well for years (ALOT longer then I thought it could ever last, especially how often I OC it past its current specs for weeks on end at times), it really seems to be what is limiting me in some games.


    Thanks for the help, I think I'll take the advice and just get the 460 for now and hold off on future upgrades till late this year or maybe even next year. I've just had this PC for so long, that I felt an overhaul was in order :)
  10. I'd recommend holding onto your upgrade desires for now.. Should not be a problem since you sound pretty satisfied with your current setup.. By the time you've your entire upgrade budget at your disposal (which is by the end of the year as suggested by you) there will be lot many options to choose from.. AMD is supposed to release the HD 6XXX series anytime soon so it might be worth waiting for it (more so as you prefer radeon over geforce).. Also, the Intel Sandy Bridge platform might launch by then giving you more options for going through with a platform upgrade/change.. Moreover, prices for currently available products will definitely see a cut if all speculated launches happen on time giving you more for your money..
  11. I would have added another 8800GT by now. Kind of late for that though. Looking at the ASUS support page, it looks like your board can support just about all the AM3 CPUs with a BIOS update so I would look there.

    http://www.asus.com/Product.aspx?P_ID=RgHWsXGQyHAG1n7Z&content=specifications

    I say upgrade the CPU to a 965 or 955 BE rev C3. You should be able to use either of those CPUs in the upcoming AM3+ motherboards. If you have some money left over, then you may want to try and get an 8800GT off ebay for cheap to run in SLI till you can get something better
  12. I meant to go sli years ago but life happened and I didnt get a chance. Would another 8800gt give me comparable performance to a single gtx 460? If so then sure, I'd do that as the only thing I'll change for the time being. (meant in the gpu dept.)

    erm...I see there are some pretty cheap ones on ebay but I'm not sure I want to risk even 40 dollars, don't really trust ebay.
  13. Does a ssd help gaming at all? Games only access the hard drive to load or save... Go with the gpu.
  14. Best answer selected by greyfox1.
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