Upgrading my current system...limited budget


Being tired of dragging my old 2006 system which consists of a Asus K8N-E deluxe motherboard, AMD 3400+ (running OC'ed @ arround 2.5 GHZ), 3X 1GB Corsair DDR and an EVGA 7800GS Superclocked (running with a 8% OC increase), I am looking into upgrading it, considering that I already have one of the best monitors in my opinion, the SyncMaster XL2370, the Corsair HX620W modular (which can get 790W of power) and a recent 640GB WD Caviar Black add-on. I just can't keep up with high def using 100% of my single core CPU and not having audio and video synchronized. I love games but I just don't give out time to them but when I do, I like them to run the way they are meant to. I just bought Starcraft 2 which I have to lower every option there is for it to run smooth, since it asks for a 2.6GHZ CPU as minimum.

Keeping in mind that I only want to upgrade this computer for a year or two, then sell it to my less demanding family, and have an entire new built afterwards (and even thinking about just heading for a laptop instead), what would you recommend for something around the 300~400$ range? Let it be US$ or CAD$, I don't mind as I shop online and mostly, on Ebay, NCIX and the likes.

At first, I was thinking about going for that old AMD FX-60, overclock it a bit, along with a ASUS A8V Deluxe so that I could keep both my RAM and my video card. Then I saw the K8N Neo4 Platinum(MS-7125) ATX that lets me keep my DDR, but makes me switch my video card. What should I do? My friend who works as a computer technician tells me I might not be far off my budget range if I switch it all up, as long as I don't go with the latest Radeon or Nvidia card. I believe he might be right.

That's where your help will be most appreciated. What should I do? What parts should I buy? I want my High Def to run smooth and look good. I want my gazillion Firefox tabs to stay as fast as if I had only one opened. I don't want to be slowed down while I burn a DVD and multi-task at the same time. I want to run Starcraft nicely and if possible, at 1920X1080. I wanna try the latest games like Final Fantasy XIV and such.

You get the drill...

I have no demands in particular if not for the fact that I love EVGA, their OC power and lifetime warranty, and am used to AMD. I have no problem with Intel though.

Hopefully, you guys can help.

Best regards,
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  1. EDIT: If I may ask, put up something without a video card, and one with. That way, I will know what parts I can get, if I get a decent video card at a steal price which won't affect my budget.
  2. It looks like all you need is a CPU, GPU, MOBO, and RAM; your case, PSU, HDD, and presumably optical drive will all be re-usable. Here's an example. I've gone for the low-end of your budget, so you can improve where desired:

    AMD Athlon II X3 445 Rana 3.1GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Desktop Processor ADX445WFGMBOX
    Model #:ADX445WFGMBOX
    Item #:N82E16819103872
    $78.99 -$5.00 Instant $73.99
    Another $8 buys another 100MHz; hardly seems worth it.

    ASRock 880GMH/USB3 AM3 AMD 880G USB 3.0 HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
    Model #:880GMH/USB3
    Item #:N82E16813157197
    $99.99 -$18.00 Instant $81.99
    I've always had good results from ASRock. This is a quick-pick; chosen because its USB 3.0 gives it some future-resistance. An ATX version of this board is another $3, but has no particular advantages. This board has a core unlocker that "may" be able turn the CPU into a X4.

    G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10600CL8D-4GBHK
    Model #:F3-10600CL8D-4GBHK
    Item #:N82E16820231180
    $69.99 $69.99
    Cheapest CAS-8 DDR3-1333 I found; is a reputable brand.

    SAPPHIRE 100287VGAL Radeon HD 5670 (Redwood) 512MB 128-bit DDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
    Model #:100287VGAL
    Item #:N82E16814102871
    Mail in Rebate Card14-102-871
    $79.99 $79.99
    If your focus is on games, you may want to put more of your budget here (e.g. to get a HD6850 or GTX460), but this will be a huge step up from what you have.
    Subtotal: $305.96
    I would rather shoot for the bottom of your budget than push up against the top. This system should be quite competent.

    Edit: Oh, if you omit the video card, the mobo has a decent IGP (as IGPs go), although even your current card is much better. You could then get the Phenom II X4 955BE, which has dropped to $153 now.

    Edit2: Considering you plan to sell this machine in a year or so, I suspect you'll be quite happy to "suffer" with a HD5670 for that length of time. Of course, if your family does not play games, you could take out the video card before you sell it. In that case look at that HD6850, which should still be viable (possibly in Crossfire) a year or two from now; your PSU can handle a pair of them.
  3. Well, thank you for your reply. By the time I got this one, I have received several comments on my NCIX thread. I have decided that when I will make the change (soon), I will go for the I5-760 (instead of the AMD x4 970), the MSI P55A-G55 CrossFire DDR3 USB3 Motherboard, the GV-N460OC-768I NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 768MB, OCZ DDR3 PC3-17000 2133MHz Gold 2X2GB Dual Channel and I will keep my HX 620W Corsair PSU or switch to the Seasonic X750. Coolermaster Hyper 212 as the heatsink if my Zalman CNPS9500 doesn't fit on the i5-760.

    Twice the original 300$ budget I had but at least, it will be highly noticeable.

    What do you think?
  4. I think this close to the release of Sandy Bridge and Bulldozer, which will render current sockets obsolete, it makes more sense to limit your budget, and save it for your next build.
  5. You have to note that there won't be another built. Next stop is the laptop world for me. Mobility.
  6. When will they come out anyway? Maybe I could wait for the price drops :p.
  7. Sandy Bridge may be out by the end of the year; Bulldozer hopefully some time in Q2 of 2011? I'm not certain about either; lots of hype and vapor out there.
    If you'd like to wait for price drops, Black Friday / Cyber Monday are right around the corner (Thanksgiving weekend in the US).
  8. Quote:
    are your older drives that you might want to carry over IDE or SATA.?
    becuase if having to get a new motherboard anything SATA might be able to carry over.
    i doubt anything IDE would be worth it but still you can make it carry over of course with the right cabling.
    because of older hardware means lesser performance.

    Sata 3 gb/s. Just got a 640 GB WD caviar black drive on special two weeks ago or so. I have about four 500 GB portable USB drives, and two 250GB Maxtor Diamond Max Ultra series IDE.
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