I can't afford a whole new build right now. I just want to upgrade. A cpu upgrade will cost about $275 and then my pc will be just about maxed out. Is it possible to get a new motherboard and processor that will work with the rest of my hardware, specifically the RAM? I know that RAM is old, can a motherboard support DDR2 and DDR3 (or whatever is the newest)? I don't know what kind of power supply I have, I think it's 500w, and I assume that the hard drives and disk drives won't be a problem. I wan't to get a motherboard that will support a high end cpu, but I don't want to spend the money for the cpu right now. I just want an average cpu that I can upgrade later. Any advice or insight would be helpful, thanks.
It won't allow you to SLI but defiantly a great mobo, plus if you ever go the ATI upgrade it'll allow you to CF. But Personally I just like the chipset and MSI as a company imo.
How does the Phenom II X4 940 compare to the Q9550?
DDR2 800 vs DDR2 1066 - Big difference? Would it be worth it to replace my current 8gb of ram with 8gb of 1066? Also, I see that it supports up to 16gb of RAM, yet I can't find any 4gb sticks of 1066. Is this just because it's old news?
You might also consider saving up for a couple of months and seeing what happens to the market when Intel's new Sandy Bridge comes out. Even if you haven't saved enough to get a Sandy Bridge setup, it should drive down the costs of everything that is now current, at least a little.
You probably don't want to wait for AMD's new Bulldozer as well, but that's an option.
Perhaps. I'll admit that I don't follow older-gen prices closely. You would think that they would have to drop i3/i5/i7 prices at least a little, though I guess they could just price Sandy Bridge higher, instead.
At any rate, the OP's current system should be able to hold up for a couple more months, which might allow for a little more money to be saved.
Or, If you're an intel fan you can go to Tigerdirect for this bundle - MSI H55M-E33 Motherboard and Intel Core i3 550 Processor Bundle for $189 with rebate.
And to go with it from Newegg you can get this memory CORSAIR 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 Desktop Memory Model CMV4GX3M2A1333C9 for $61
This will put you just under your budget by ~ $20. The good part about this option is that the motherboard is compatible all the way to the i7 1156 chips so you can upgrade it to the 17-875(K) later when the funds become available. The memory will also be upgradeable. I chose the 1333 to fit in your budget but for an additional $30 you can start with CORSAIR XMS3 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMX4GX3M2A1600C7,(also from Newegg). Better latencies and higher clock speeds, (you will have to OC the i3 CPU to get the 1600MHz), but it's also already there when you upgrade the CPU to an i5 or i7! Plus there's the onboard video supported with the i3 looks pretty sweet to me and stays in your budget, (+$10 over it for the better memory).
So you get the mega-upgradeable CPU 1156 socket, onboard video, DDR3 dual channel upgrade @ 1333 or 1600MHz.
I know that waiting is probably kind of unappealing, but just doing a CPU upgrade or a switch to AM2+ CPU & mobo isn't likely to produce really meaningful differences in gaming (I'm assuming that's what this rig is).
Depending on the game and your monitor's resolution, it might make some difference, but unless the only game you're playing is GTA IV (which is pretty much completely CPU-limited), a CPU upgrade is unlikely to make more than a 5 fps difference or so.
Actually it is mostly for gaming. I forgot that the new Sandy Bridge cpu's are coming out so I think i'll wait for those and then check the market again. I don't have any experience with AMD, but it seems for the money, you get more from AMD. I think that discussion if for a different thread though. Thanks to everyone for all the info and advice. I'll be back to pick your brains when SB comes out. Thanks!