Budget gaming motherboard and components to go with it

Hi guys,

I recently made a thread in the memory section asking whether increasing my RAM would improve gaming speed. Anyway, I have been thinking about the advice that I was given and wanted to upgrade my motherboard, processor, RAM and maybe hard drives also. I am not sure whether to upgrade my GFX card as I think it's ok for games? I have a NVIDIA Geforce 9800GT 512 and I have overclocked it to what it would allow (670 Engine to 700 and memory clock 975 to 1100).

I have a few questions if I may as I find the whole concept of buying parts quite daunting as I am a beginner in this (I've always bought store made e.g PC world computers in the past) and I don't want to end up being excited and rushing to buy a part that I think is great, only to then find it's not the correct one. So I have a few questions if I may?

1) What would be recommended for a decent gaming motherboard for those with a limited budget to work from? There are so many out there I don't even know where to start looking! At the moment I have an A780L motherboard and as I understand this motherboard would bottleneck other components if I upgraded those before the motherboard?

2) If a motherboard upgrade is not needed would a dual core Phenom or Athlon be sufficient for gaming? If I were to go for a triple core, would the performance increase be noticed? Are there any other brands of processors that could be recommended with the correct motherboard?

3) I currently have Windows XP Professional, but I am not sure if it is 32 or 64 bit as I am not the one who installed it. As I understand 32 can only support 4GB of RAM whereas 64 can support 8gb or more? I've read that 8gb is the recommended for gaming systems and that 4GB is only the minimum. (I have 2 slots in my current motherboard if I am to work with that one)

4) My current HD are the Seagate 256 on each (2x) but they make quite a lot of noise when loading stuff. I guessed that this is because the virtual memory is being used too much because of my low RAM? However, I may be wrong. What hard drives can be recommended and does the size of the HD matter for gaming?

5) Finally, is it recommended to buy components from Ebay such as used ones in "good condition"? Or should I spend a little bit more for a brand new one, but obviously getting a better deal than what I would in mainstream stores.

Sorry for the many questions, but I would really appreciate some of your wisdom on this subject. I have only just started taking an interested in overclocking and upgrading computers and whilst I enjoy this interest, I am an absolute newbie. For extra concise information my specs are as follows:

Processor: AMD Sempron 140 3.5ghz (overclocked)
Motherboard: Biostar A780L
Graphics card: NVIDIA Geforce 9800GT 512 MB
RAM: 1GB DDR2 Kingston
HD: Seagate 256 x2

Many thanks and I would greatly appreciate some input here.

3 answers Last reply
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  1. P.S - I apologise in advance if I have not asked this in the correct section.
  2. I would highly recommend a new build, either an I3 (intel), or a Phenom x3 or x4 (AMD). I'm more comfortable pricing AMD, so I'll price up the AMD system.

    Case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129074
    $50 Antec 200
    PSU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371044
    $70 Antec EarthWatts EA-650 GREEN 650W (never skimp on a quality PSU)
    MB: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128521
    $100 GIGABYTE GA-970A-D3 AM3+ AMD 970 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX (a little pricy, but has USB3.0, and SATA 6, could go cheaper with an AM3 board instead)
    RAM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231426
    $55 G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666)
    CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103871
    $100 AMD Athlon II X4 640 Propus 3.0GHz (can go cheaper and get an OEM, and go custom cooling)
    HDD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148767
    $40 Seagate Barracuda ST500DM002 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb
    DVD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827106289
    $20 LITE-ON DVD Burner - Bulk 24X
    Vid: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150540
    $120 XFX HD-677X-ZNLC Radeon HD 6770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1

    Total, no OS: $555 + S&H (not counting MIR, or combo/special)
    (pick up windows 7 pro 64bit, the OEM will do fine)

    Yes I can price one cheaper, however this one allows you to upgrade later. It will work as a decent gaming machine for your needs.
  3. I do not know your current budget, but your motherboard is AM2+/AM3. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813138285 If you don't want to spend much to upgrade, then you can purchase a Phenom II x4 955 for $120. DDR2 still works as well as DDR3 so you shouldn't worry about RAM but you are in need of MORE RAM! I notice that you are complaining about your hard drives. I do recommend a Samsung Spinpoint F3 for $60 but on newegg.. there are some recent DoAs.. but it's really good performance for what you pay. You can find alternatives from Seagate. Don't go for Hitachi deskstars, they are so noisy haha scares me! PLEASE DO NOT BUY ANY USED PARTS FOR YOUR COMPUTER. YOU DO NOT KNOW WHERE IT HAS BEEN AND WHAT MAY HAVE HAPPENED TO IT. BUY NEW FROM AMAZON OR NEWEGG. You should also upgrade your graphic card. I recommend a 5770 for around $100. The 6770 is the rebadged version of 5770 but I hear it runs louder. I hope your power supply is at least 3000-400W for all of this. The power supply is the deciding factor of the extent of your upgrade. I would choose from Antec or Corsair. Seasonic made some PSU for XFX so check up on those too.

    How to check if you're running 32bit or 64bit:
    Click Start, and then click Run.
    Type sysdm.cpl, and then click OK.
    Click the General tab. The operating system is displayed as follows:
    For a 64-bit version operating system: Windows XP Professional x64 Edition Version < Year> appears under System.
    For a 32-bit version operating system: Windows XP Professional Version <Year> appears under System.
    Note <Year> is a placeholder for a year.
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