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$300 + $300 better spent on a new GPU + Ram or mobo/cpu instead?

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December 29, 2010 12:15:29 PM

I'd like to upgrade my outdated system. I'm looking to spend around $300 now, and another $300 at the end of January. I'm boxed in by the LGA 775 and the 2-slot mATX makes it seem like updating the already outdated DDR2-800 is a waste of money. I'd appreciate any ideas/suggestions you might have, particularly of the "currently on sale" variety. Thanks in advance.

Current Specs:
> Mainboard : MICRO-STAR INTERANTONAL CO.,LTD MS-7528
> Chipset : Intel G31mATX
> Processor : Intel Core 2 Duo E7300 @ 2666MHz
> Physical Memory : 2048MB (2 x 1024 DDR2-SDRAM )
> Video Card : NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GT
> Hard Disk : Western Digital WD2500AAJS-00B4A0 ATA Device (250GB)
> Hard Disk : WD 5000AAV External (500GB)
> DVD-Rom Drive : ATAPI DVD A DH20A4P
> DVD-Rom Drive : OXSFQ 23C5IV0
> Monitor Type : SONY Bravia 32"
> PSU: 500 Watts
> Network Card : Realtek Semiconductor RTL8168/8111 PCIe Gigabit Ethernet Adapter
> Operating System : Windows 7 Professional Professional Media Center 6.01.7600 (64-bit)
> DirectX : Version 11.00
> Ultra ATX mid-tower will hold all ATX sizes

So, looking at two installments of $300-ish. I'd appreciate any ideas you might have.

-------------------------------------------------------------
Option 1:
1st $300: I was thinking of swapping out the mobo/cpu for a decent (CF?) AM3 board and a 955/965BE, with as much RAM as I can slip in.

2nd $300: Grab a better PSU and GPU.
-------------------------------------------------------------
Option 2:
1st $300: Go the Intel route (worth waiting for SB to see if other chips drop price?). Decent i7 CPU + Mobo probably won't allow much wiggle-room for RAM.

2nd $300: Grab the RAM and maybe something like a 460 GTX, look for a PSU on sale.
--------------------------------------------------------------
Option 3:
Buy some overpriced DDR2-800 and a mid-grade GPU. Save some money.
---------------------------------------------------------------

Any other ideas/suggestions? Thanks for your time.

Justin S.
a b B Homebuilt system
December 29, 2010 1:20:33 PM

Option 3: Intel i5/750, socket 1156 mainboard, GTX460, new DDR3 ram (4 gb), new PSU (new socket 1155 and Sandybridge cpus due out in within two weeks, too!)

costs more, but, the i5/i7 processors quite typically outframe most AM3 rigs ever built, usually even if at an 800 MHz clock speed deficit....
December 29, 2010 2:26:45 PM

Thanks for the input! Any ideas on how you'd split the costs, given the $300 x 2 price structure? I can spend the first $300-ish from today through the 20th of January, and then another $300-350 after January 23rd.

I'd really prefer to go to Intel route, but I didn't know if I could build a decent (budget) gaming system, given the nature of my situation. I'd hate to purchase something now and be unable to test it until the 23rd (not sure on the RMA duration from newegg or tiger).

If I go the i5/760 route, am I basically constrained to an mATX board for the budget build? Any reason to hope for a price drop in current i5s/i7s after the Sandy Bridge CES announcement?

Would this work? Any better deals?:

1st $300 (today):
COOLER MASTER GX Series RS650-ACAAE3-US 650W ATX12V v2.31 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - $69 (down from $99)
GeForce GTX 460 SE - $159 after MIR
CORSAIR Vengeance 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) - $49

2nd $300 (January 23rd, a week or so after the SB announcement)
• Processor and Mobo

Thank you,
Justin S.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 29, 2010 2:33:22 PM

wait for sandy bridge. Hints coming out seem to suggest SBridge is a MONSTER at video encoding
December 29, 2010 3:10:11 PM

Okay, awesome. Thank you.

By the way, is there a *trustworthy* place (other than the usual Amazon and eBay) to buy functional, older used PC components? I wouldn't mind upgrading my current system to 4G RAM while I'm waiting for SB, because Win 7 Pro 64 slogs down pretty badly with my 2 gigs of DDR2 800 (and my distinct lack of core-age). I have an mATX board with only 2 DIMM slots, and there's no freaking way I'm paying Newegg or Amazon's $30-40 per stick for "ancient" 2x2G sticks of DDR2 800 RAM, when I'm going to turn around and buy current-gen RAM in a matter of days. In other words, I'm an American and have to have everything right now! Just kidding.

But if any of the "regulars" have some DDR2 800-667 2G sticks they want to get rid of, I'd gladly pay fair value for it.

Thanks for your time,
Justin S.
January 8, 2011 12:58:00 AM

A follow-up question. I am now leaning toward the i5-2500. Any chance I can pair the CPU with a decent motherboard for $450-ish? I'd appreciate any suggestions for a possible mobo. . . USB3 and SATA6 would be nice, but certainly not a dealbreaker. I'd prefer to not go mATX, but my price range might box me in.

Thanks in advance for your advice/suggestions.

Justin S.
a b B Homebuilt system
January 8, 2011 1:05:17 AM

I would not dump any more money into the current rig, especially for memory you cant take with you to a newer DDR3 rig....

Advise being content with FEAR, Quake3, and Medal of Honor until you can afford new PSU, mb/cpu, memory and GPU all in one shot.....
a b B Homebuilt system
January 8, 2011 1:06:57 AM

the newer socket 1155 boards are about $200, so you should indeed be able to find both for $450-ish....*IF* the 2500k ever shows up for sale in the USA...

It's still vaporware at both Newegg, or even Pricewatch....not even listed yet as 'coming soon', much less up for sale...

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a b B Homebuilt system
January 8, 2011 1:08:45 AM
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GPU wise---Newegg, as of yesterday, had XFX 5870 for $239 after rebate.....great deal, rivals GTX570 in performance at most resolutions....
January 14, 2011 10:59:02 PM

Best answer selected by capitalistpigskin.
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