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Just upgraded my 5 year old rig... what do you think?

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March 9, 2011 10:48:24 PM

Hi all- long time builder but first time poster. Go easy on me :) 

I built this rig in Winter 2006.

Core 2 Duo e6600 2.4Ghz w/ Intel heatsink & fan
Asus P5B motherboard
Antec Earthwatts 500w
2gb Corsair DDR2-800 (CL5 latency)
ATI Sapphire 1900XTX 512mb
Coolermaster Centurion case
Windows XP Home 32-bit

My GPU fried, which forced me to upgrade. One domino fell after another, and I made these modifications (in this order):

EVGA GTX 465 1gb
Antec Earthwatts 650w
+4gb (6gb total) Corsair DDR2-800 (latency 5-5-5-18)
Windows 7 Pro 64-bit

I love what this upgrade has done for performance on graphically intensive games like Mafia 2 and GTA IV. They look beautiful compared to what I'm used to seeing.

HOWEVER.... I can't get away from this nagging feeling that I'm probably bottlenecking my GPU like crazy with my old GPU. Also, the motherboard is 1x PCI-E. and I see my GTX 465 can take advantage of 2x.

http://www.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=YwIVDOTcvIMHZdTy

So here's my question.

What would you recommend to me to eliminate the bottleneck, without breaking the bank? Bang for the buck is really important to me here.

Specifically:

- Which motherboard/CPU combo would you recommend? (Again, bang for the buck-- is it realistic to keep it around $300, give or take? I will gladly pay *a little* more if it translates to *a lot* of performance gain)

- Will I need to reinstall Windows if I update the motherboard and CPU?

- Can my 650w PSU handle a significant CPU/mobo upgrade like this?

- Will my DDR2 ram work in a new modern motherboard? If not, what type of ram/latency speed would you recommend? (again, bang for the buck- I can pay a *little* more if it means *a lot* of performance gain). Obviously I'd like to keep my current ram if possible, since I just installed another 4gb.

And as an aside, what is CL5 latency (as opposed to 5-5-5-18 for example)? By using CL5 and 5-5-5-18 ram together in my machine, is the faster one forced to operate at the slower RAM speed?

Thanks all

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March 10, 2011 12:46:40 AM

You will have to get DDR3 as no newer motherboards support DDR2. I'll let others suggest a motherboard/CPU combination as I have no idea of the prices there.
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