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

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.


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.


- 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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  1. 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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