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Best upgrade option for ~$250

Last response: in Systems
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January 31, 2011 7:47:11 PM

Frist time poster here so forgive me if i make any mistakes!

I have roughly $250 to spend on an upgrade for my existing system. I have come to learn that the only way to get a solid answer is to ask the pro's and provide as much information as possible. Statements like "buy this processor and your computer will double in speed" are invalid because who knows what bottlenecks each person may have etc.

With all that said here are my specs on my current rig:

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3R LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 Wolfdale 3.16GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor BX80570E8500
Processor Cooler: ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro Rev.2 92mm Fluid Dynamic CPU Cooler
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Blue WD500AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb;s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - Bare Drive (Using Sata Connections)
Ram: Kingston HyperX 4GB (2x2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kite Desktop Memory Model KHX8500D2K2/4GR
Video Card: SAPPHIRE 100270SR Radeon HS4850x2 2GB 512-bit (256-bitx2) GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x 16 HDCP Ready CrossfireX Support (Placed in PCI Express 2.0 slot)
Power Supply: CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready Crossfire Ready 80 Plus Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 power
Monitor: ASUS VH226H Black 21.5" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen 16:9 Full HD 1080P LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 1000:1 (ASCR 12000 : 1) Built in Speakers (I run this monitor at 1920x1080 display 100% of the time).
Operating System: Windows XP Pro 64 Bit

I will be using the computer to primaily play World of Warcraft (99% of my play time) and i occasionally play Battlefield BC:2. I am also a Blizzard junkie and own Starcraft 2 and will be buying Diablo 3 upon release. I have two older HDD's in the computer already as storage space but i barely store movies or music.

With all of this in mind what would you guys recommend me purchase/upgrade for around $250? If i could see a significant improvment by spending $300 i would entertain that option but for the most part i would like to keep it at $250.

Thanks in advance and let me know if i left out any information.

Edit#1 - Added Operating System

More about : upgrade option 250

a b B Homebuilt system
January 31, 2011 7:54:37 PM

If you really want to spend the money get a new video card. A GTX460 1gig card would give you a boost in performance over what you have now. I'd go bigger but not really going to do anything considering DX9.
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a b B Homebuilt system
February 1, 2011 1:02:11 AM

Save up money and upgrade core CPU+Mobo+RAM when this whole Sandy Bridge debacle is worked out and bulldozer is released march/april.
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a b B Homebuilt system
February 1, 2011 1:03:28 AM

After you upgrade core you can look at vid card but remember that your current proc will bottleneck pretty much anything above what you currently have.
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a b B Homebuilt system
February 1, 2011 6:58:58 PM

Aw man, I just bought a 775 mobo/CPU/RAM for as the base for a home server. If you had posted like a week ago, I could've helped fund an upgrade... :( 

Aside from that, you would probably benefit from a GPU upgrade on that budget. The new GTX 560 is getting really good reviews as a successor to the GTX 460, and if it overclocks anything like the 460, you can get it past most other cards near its specs.
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a b B Homebuilt system
February 1, 2011 10:25:58 PM

The 560 ti is supposed to be a decent overclocker and with all those aftermarket coolers that most companies put on, excluding evga, it should give you some headroom.
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