If my budget is, say, $400 or less, what would be the best way to upgrade this system? I think I put it together about 2 years ago and it still runs newer games like a champ (IMO), but I think it's time for an upgrade. I thought about moving to an i7 but I think the inconvenience of a new motherboard and all that would be too annoying... Do I even need to upgrade my processor? And then the RAM, I don't think more than 4GB is really necessary for video games. So I guess that would leave me with the video card - I'm considering the GeForce GTX 470, any thoughts there? I would really like to run Call of Duty: Black Ops at the highest possible settings at 1680x1050. I'm behind the times when it comes to computer hardware so if I said anything ridiculous or ignorant please let me know... It wasn't intentional lol.
Also, my CPU overheated so bad yesterday that my system shut down... I reseated it, tried again a few hours later and it turned off even faster. I decided it must be cheap thermal paste or improperly applied thermal paste so I went out to Best Buy and they only had a brand I had never heard of - bought it ($10, no big deal), applied it, and when I turned my computer on, within two minutes of idling it was at 100 degrees celcius . So I'm basically at a wtf moment there. I've ordered some Arctic Silver 5 from Amazon and it'll get here Tuesday... Hopefully it will be better than this Best Buy trash...
Thank you in advance for any answers to my many questions.
Your rig is still plenty good. As you suggested, the GPU is easily the thing that would benefit you the most in terms of gaming etc. The 470 is a good card too, but there's plenty of competition out there right now, especially w/ the release of the 6870.
Also, what are you using to cool the cpu? I'm sure the thermal paste is a possible problem, but 100c?!?!?
A heatsink with a fan on it. The fan on the heatsink says Intel so I guess I left the stock heatsink in. Maybe a better heatsink? Any suggestions?
This happened before about a year a half ago. Started getting those ridiculously high temperatures. My friend had thermal paste (don't remember the brand or anything) that he applied for me while I was out of town and he had my PC that right away took the temps down to 50 celsius, so that's why I was going for another redo of thermal paste.
Also, so there is GPU competition, but what do you think is the best currently? In your opinion.
And this is a really stupid question... Will I have any problems with newer GPU's and my motherboard?
You can do a whole lot for your system with $400 (or less). I suggest these three upgrades:
1. New cooler
2. New GPU
3. Add an SSD
You obviously have something majorly wrong with your CPU cooler. Trying different brands of thermal paste seems kind of silly.
A 6850 will deliver all of the performance you need at 1680 x 1050 until the rest of your system starts slowing it down (in the future). And this gives you two upgrade paths: Overclocking the GPU (if/when you get another monitor) or adding a second one (when you upgrade CPU/MOBO).
You can get a small SSD to use as a boot drive and to hold your most-used programs and games. Most of the really small ones (~30GB) have just okay performance. But the next tier gives crazy-fast performance that you'll notice immediately. Just know that you'll likely buy another one in a couple of years because the price/performance/size will increase very rapidly.
And, as a side note, my GPU heat (are on any heat in my case) is no problem at all. My GPU stays around 50 degrees celcius. It's a purely processor problem. So then for the cooler I would want something like this?: