Best $100-$200 upgrade?

I have a home-built that is starting to show its age. I hate to throw out functional hardware. Any recommendations on budget upgrades to keep up with a few new games? My LCD is 1920 x 1200. Games: LOTRO, DOD, R.U.S.E, CIVx

* ASUS M2N-SLI Deluxe AM2 NVIDIA nForce 570 SLI MCP ATX AMD Motherboard
* ASUS EN7900GTX/2DHT/512M GeForce 7900GTX 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 SLI Supported Video Card
* AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ Windsor 2.2GHz Socket AM2 89W Dual-Core Processor ADA4200CUBOX
* CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)
* OCZ GameXStream OCZ600GXSSLI 600W ATX12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply
* Antec SUPER LANBOY Silver anodized aluminum ATX Mini Tower Computer Case

I also have in my even older Linux box:
* VGA EVGA 256-P2-N751-TR 8600GT 256M
and rescued from a friend's AlienWare box (with toasted motherboard)
* 2 @ ASUS 7900GTX with SLI bridge
I swapped the SLI in and it works OK, but am worried about thermal. System fans seem to be maxing out and system had a few display resets but no system crashes, so I reinstalled PCProbe and am getting CPU well over 80C. Stock cpu fan, will try to reapply some arctic silver and see if I can do better.

I'm thinking double memory to 4GB for about $50, then just find a $100 GPU? Advice?
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  1. Best answer
    An NVidia 450 for $120-$130 would be a strong GPU upgrade. It would make a HUGE difference in Lotro and DDO. You would come close to maxxing out DDO and could play Lotro at High-ish (not Very High or Ultra High). Also you would get the new DX11 effects in Lotro, which I find to be very nice.

    Overclocking the CPU would help also (should be able to get up to 2.6 I would think).
    Maybe a Kingwin 1264 or Coolermaster Hyper 212 plus cpu cooler to allow overclocking.

    Increasing the RAM wont help you very much unless you also install Win7 64. If you cant fit all that in I would add RAM as the third priority, not the first.
  2. Thanks for the suggestions! I ordered the EVGA GTS450 and Hyper 212. Hopefully I'll get another year or two out of this system.
  3. DDOs next release is supposed to get the DX11 water and shading effects that Lotro got. I think you will find it adds to your gaming experience like I do.
  4. Best answer selected by electroniceagle.
  5. Thanks for the advice. I picked up the Hyper 212 cooler and the NVidia 450. Enabled the A.I. OCI feature of the M2N SLI Deluxe bios for an easy no-fiddling 10% overclock. My CPU temperature hovers around 26C surfing the web and haven't seen it over 40C after an hour of watching light speckles in the Old Forrest :-).
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