Would you upgrade any of these parts?

Hi guys,

I used to know a lot about specs and could rattle of GPU's etc back when the nvidia 6800 ultra was top of the line. Unfortunately, I feel a little outdated after being out of the loop for so long. My main question is for a build of mine that is getting old. For gaming (specifically WoW and HoN - fairly low req games), are there any easy upgrades to my system, or is it too old and I should just start from scratch again. It's depressing on WoW that the recommended setting is "Fair" and that sunshafts and water are automatically disabled :(

The relevant parts are:

OS: Windows XP Home SP3
• GIGABYTE GA-G33M-S2L LGA 775 Intel G33 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

• Intel Pentium E2200 Allendale 2.2GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor BX80557E2200


• SAPPHIRE 100106SR-RD Radeon X850XT 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card (520 MHz)

2GB DDR2 RAM (2 x 1GB)
22" Widescreen LCD (1680 x 1050)
MicroATX Desktop Computer Case
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250410AS 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
Creative Sound Blaster Audigy SE 7.1 Channels PCI Interface Sound Card
Logitech 5.1 speakers
(let me know if you need any more info)

Are there any easy/single part upgrades to be had for under 200$ that would be worth the investment on an old system? If so, please recommend the model/models that you feel would be an appropriate upgrade.

29 answers Last reply
More about would upgrade parts
  1. A couple things. The three things you need to upgrade are cpu, graphics, and ram. The cpu and ram are the easiest, and probably to most worthwhile. The ram will also be an easy upgrade, as you can put 2 more sticks in since your motherboard has 4 RAM slots.
    Do me a favor, can you tell me the specs on your ram? that includes company, line, mhz, and Cas latency.

    As for the cpu, this will work: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115057
    I'll get back to you on the rest.
  2. Thanks for the help. I'm looking up the RAM now.

    Do you think its a good idea to invest in this system or would it be almost the same price to get a new one?
  3. Alright for the RAM, I actually have 4GB physically in the MB slots, however for some reason the system only recognizes 2GB (?!). I was just lazy and left the four sticks in. They are currently in alternating arrangements but I tried all different arrangements before when I first put them in and non gave the 4 GB.

    1GB x 4 (2 different 2GB sets, which may be the problem)

    OCZ Platinum Revision 2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ2P800R22GK (Cas latency 4)(1.9V - 2.1V)

    G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-2GBNQ (Cas Latency 5) (1.8V - 2.0V)
  4. For the gaming you do, honestly, I would go to 4gb of ram and invest in a 1gb video card. I personally prefer Nvidia, and you can get a 460 1gb for a reasonable price. As long as you do reasonable maintenance (defrags, keeping a high % of free space on your drive, and keeping registry size under control) and aren't running tons of TSR's you should be able to get away with not upgrading your cpu or mobo.

    However if you want to upgrade your cpu I would go up too 2.6Ghz+ for a quad core. The CPU Striker410 recommended would be fine.

    Keep in mind though, that for what you are going to spend on RAM + CPU and GFX you could get a i5 2500 barebones system and dump your old parts back into that.
  5. If you don't have a 64bit OS, the system doesn't recognize it (actually Microsoft did a little trick to make the system "see" virtually 4 gigs but in reality the 32bit OS goes for 3,3 (and something) due to the restriction over the depth of information chain)... Look also for an BIOS update if not seen in the BIOS post (ask someone with experience for this, because you can render your rig as good as a brick if you can't do it right), there is a good chance that a memory compatibility has been improved.

    Change the OS too, if you want my opinion, XP is quite obsolete...
  6. My living room system is close except for the underclocked hd-4870 (so it runs quieter). My system is older too, socket 939-X2-4400+ 2.2ghz@2.4ghz, 3gb mem, xp-pro. With the 4870 that has 800 shaders it makes up for the slower cpu most of the time, also amd now has "app" that offloads some stuff like flash videos to the much faster gpu. It worked out well, playing games on a 46" 1080p with decent framerates. Games like cod black ops, dirt2, fear2,batman, ut3, left4dead2 run well.
    It wont play a few games like metro2033 or crysis, but gtaIV runs ok but you have to mess with the settings to make it run.

    I got my 4870 used, it is overkill for the older dual core cpu, the replacement for it is the hd-5770 and hd-6790. all 800 shader cards.
    The 5770 comes in at a $110 price point that is hard to beat, much slower cards only save you $20. It is fast enough that you could reuse it later if you upgraded the board/cpu.
    Some games use the gpu more anyway so only games that need more cpu power will have issues.

    A used card like a hd-3870, 4830-4890, geforce 250,260, 8800gt, 9800gt, 9600gt, would do ok too and might be cheaper than buying a new card.

    You might need a new power supply if your video card crashes when you play 3d games. Keep in mind a used card like a geforce 260 or hd-4870 use more power than the newer hd-5770 and are large full length cards. If you go used make sure you see it playing newer 3d games before you buy it, a damaged card will often still work in 2d mode and boot windows.

    Well good luck.
  7. Hey to update:

    The bios recognizes the 4GB of RAM ("4096MB"), but XP says I have 2.00GB of system memory.

    Any ideas? I'm looking through the bios options now, but not sure which setting to change.
  8. Your system is obsolete, so far as gaming goes. It is OK for internet browsing, e-mail and such.
    I don't think I would put any more into it.

    To help clarify your options, run these two tests:

    1) Run your games, but lower your resolution and eye candy.
    If your FPS increases, it indicates that your cpu is strong enough to drive a better graphics configuration.

    2) Limit your cpu, either by reducing the OC, or, in windows power management, limit the maximum cpu% to something like 70%.
    If your FPS drops significantly, it is an indicator that your cpu is the limiting factor, and a cpu upgrade is in order.

    It is possible that both tests are positive, indicating that you have a well balanced system, and both cpu and gpu need to be upgraded to get better gaming FPS.

    With a $200 budget, here is one idea:
    Intel sandy bridge 2100 $125
    Cheapest H61 motherboard $60
    4gb stick of DDR3 ram $40

    Well, I was off a bit, that totals $225.

    What you get is a cpu that is shockingly fast, and will serve you well for some time.
    Look at this article:

    The included graphics has the capability of a $50 graphics card(a 5450 perhaps?). I suspect that is considerably better than your current card.
    You get a motherboard with a pci=e x16 slot enabling you unlimited future graphics expansion.

    A single stick of 4gb leaves you the option to add another stick to be at 8gb whenever you might go to 64 bits. As it turns out, ram speed is largely irrelevant because of the sandy bridge superb memory controller. You could go 4gb(2 x 2gb), for the same price but forgo an upgrade option.

    You can recoup that $25 over your budget by selling off your old parts.
  9. Well I figured out the RAM problem. Changed maxmem value in boot.ini from 2048 to 4096, and now XP recognizes 3.25GB, so that's something. I wonder if it will affect FPS or gameplay.

    At this point, would switching out the Radeon X850XT for something like the suggested 5770 be impactful at all? I have decided that any other investments probably aren't worth it, and rather will just start a whole new system during the summer or sometime in the not to distant future.

    EDIT: From testing suggested by Geofelt, it seems that the processor is doing alright, so I think it is the GPU with its outdated vertex shader that is accounting for most of the bottleneck, so I will look into the 5770.

    Thanks for all the help
  10. Ok so here's the deal. Now that you have your ram figured out and you are worried about not investing to much, I would suggest as said above invest in just the video card. It will help tremendously, and will carry over to your next build quite easily.

    The 5770 is good, but it's difficult to recommend since there's a sale on the 5850 from sapphire: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102932&cm_re=5850-_-14-102-932-_-Product

    It's an awesome deal, but you will need to upgrade your PSU, but you will also be able to carry over to your next build.
    Just make sure to check and see if that monster card will fit in your case :p
  11. Hey the 5850 does look good, and it's only a little more than the 5770. I'm pretty sure it will fit, as the old X850XT also took up 2 slots of space.

    Thanks for all the help, I really do appreciate these suggestions. I probably would have gotten the 5770 if you hadn't suggested the 5850XT.
  12. I meant will it fit lengthwise? It's a big card, and uses a LOT of power. Could you post your PSU?
  13. What resolution do you game at?

    Exactly what PSU do you have?
    Amps on the 12v rails,
    # of 6/8 pin pci-e connectors,

    A 5770 will do quite well at 1920 x 1080.
    It will require a 450w psu with one 6 pin connector.

    The 5850 will do better, good find striker410.
    I particularly like the dual slot direct exhaust cooler.
    It will require a 500w psu with two 6 pin connectors.

    I think you can find a quality 500w psu for about $60 if need be.
    A short list of quality psu's will include PC P&C, Antec, XFX, Corsair, and Seasonic. Do not skimp on psu quality.

    I think it will be a very good strategy to get a good graphics card now, and plan on carrying it through to your next build.
  14. This is the old graphics card that I had. It also had a dedicated exhaust vent. I just measured it and it's very close to 8" long.

    This is the PSU I currently have: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817153023

    Only 430W :(
    I really don't have much going on in the system though, the CPU is 65W, and then all the rest is the DVD drive, SATA HD, RAM, SB audigy, 3 small fans, 1 reg fan, and USB mouse/keyboard/wireless adapter.

    Currently I'm at 1680 x 1050 on a 22" Widescreen LCD at 60Hz. That is appropriate, correct?

    EDIT: Hmmm, the thermaltake PSU seems to have only 1 x 6pin connector... uh oh. Looks like I'll be looking up a PSU now.
  15. I wouldnt sweat it, as you can always settle for the 5770, as it needs only 1 6pin. How new is the PSU? Because if it's brand new, no sense buying another one if you have no use for the old one.
    Also, you have a pretty high res, so you will need some graphical muscle to drive your system.

    EDIT: I looked up that PSU, and it's actually only 350w. You would do well to get a new one, one that is both 80+ certified and is from a reputable brand.
  16. Are you sure? I'm pretty sure it says 430W on that link. The PSU was put in June 2008. So I guess I might as well get a new one (considering I already ordered the 5850...haha). Should I not get another thermaltake and go for one of the brands you put up previously?

    Also, as I'm looking closer at the details, the card specifies "PCI-E 2.1 x16", while the slot on the mb is "PCI-E x16". Is that something to worry about?
  17. For PSU I'm looking at

    Antec 520W
    "1 x 6-Pin, 1 x 6+2-Pin" <---- Is this what I want?

  18. While you are right that it SAYS 430w on the psu, sometimes manufacturers say that the psu has more wattage than it really does. A quick google told me as much.
    If you look at geofelt's post, he put up some names of known good PSU makers, but make sure to grab one with at least 500-600 watts.

    On the graphical side, PCI-e 2.1 appears to be backwards compatible, but make sure to update your motherboard BIOS just in case :D

    Hope it all works out!
  19. By the way, you should check out this PSU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817341016
    500+ reviews, all the right connectors, 80+ and $45 after rebate? SOLD :D
    It's even semi modular!
  20. Just so you know the sapphire HD 5850 is shorter than the older 5850's. It is about 9 inchs in length.

    This PSU is worth looking at too:

  21. thanks

    the card and PSU should be here in a few days.
    Hopefully everything works out installation-wise. The case manual says that graphics cards up to 9.6" will fit without any modifications.
  22. Hey man, we do our best. Be sure to get back to us when you install it all!

    On a sidenote, you are halfway there on a new rig xD
  23. phoenixflash5 said:

    the card and PSU should be here in a few days.
    Hopefully everything works out installation-wise. The case manual says that graphics cards up to 9.6" will fit without any modifications.

    What did you order?

    I imagine the antec 520 and 5850. Both look good to me.

    Your current psu is an older model, and does not explicitly state the combined amps on the 12v rails. But by subtracting out the 3 and 5 v maximum, I think it is 25a which is poor. The Antec 520 has 40, by comparison. That is good.

    Do take the time to post your experience.
  24. geofelt said:
    What did you order?

    I imagine the antec 520 and 5850. Both look good to me.

    Do take the time to post your experience.

    You guessed correctly, the antec 520W PSU and the sapphire radeon 5850. According to shipping info both are "out for delivery" so I should have them today. I will update once I install them.
  25. Alright guys, I just installed the power supply and the graphics card this evening. Shipping got pushed back until after the weekend.

    I have to say, I'm really liking the card so far. The antec 520w seems really high quality as well.

    In order of upgrades:
    3D mark 06 w/ the X850XT ---------> 1700 (don't laugh)
    3D mark going from 2GB to 4GB RAM ---> 2300
    3D mark after adding HD 5850 ----------> 9600

    I'm guess the CPU (2.2GHz E2200) is probably the limiting factor now? Let me know if you have any suggestions or ideas.

    Also, I was able to max all the graphics in HoN and almost max on WoW (had to knock down shadow quality).

    I had a quick question on the graphics card.

    Does the "Xtreme" mean anything? Also, the day after I bought the card it went out of stock on newegg, and then a few days later it is deactivated because of too high demand. So I guess you guys found a great deal that was too good to last.

    Thanks again
  26. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116385
    Intel Pentium E5800 Wolfdale 3.2GHz 2MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core
    A 1ghz jump in stock cpu clock speed would be a 1/3 speed increase, but there are cost savings in reusing the board/memory and not having to reinstall windows is a plus.
    The wolfdale is known to overclock well.
  27. There is also the E6700...seems the same but 1066 rather than 800 FSB.
    Is that worth 8$ more?
  28. No you want the 800fsb version, bumping up the fsb speed is how you overclock.
    With the 1066 you wont be able to overclock much since the board will be maxed out and the chipset will crash first.
  29. $8 would be better spent towards a larger aftermarket cooler.
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