What should i choose?

My specs are...

amd athlon 64 x2 4200+ at 2.2 ghz
6 gb ddr2 ram
geforce 8400 gs
two 250 gb hard drives 7200 rpm
apevia java 500w power supply, 24a on the 12v rail

obviously its time for a upgrade, so for budget (around $200) i want to upgrade either the gpu or cpu not both.
what i want to know is which upgrade will i see the most performance out of for gaming on 1360x720 rez

for the gpu i would go with msi r6850 cyclone pe/oc which is about $180

for cpu i would upgrade to a amd phenom ii x4 840 3.2ghz (including new mobo/ram) which is about $200

so tell me what you think it would be much appreciated :)
4 answers Last reply
More about what choose
  1. Depends on what games you play. Your power supply will limit your gpu upgrade path. The apevia isn't the best, so I would recommend the cpu/board/ram.
  2. Your Apevia PSU is likely to smoke if you pull more than 300W-350W from it. Considering what you have now, get a DDR5 HD6670 like this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150545 for $90 ($70 if you play the rebate game and win). Then save your money for a new build.
  3. The following is the cheapest new build I'd actually consider if building myself. You can go cheaper on a couple things, but I explain why I wouldn't...

    AMD Athlon II X3 445 Rana 3.1GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Desktop Processor ADX445WFGMBOX
    Model #:ADX445WFGMBOX
    Item #:N82E16819103872
    $74.99 $74.99
    This is a placeholder CPU; a throwaway. It can play any game, but really this build is waiting for a Bulldozer CPU to replace it. If you don't care about Bulldozer, get a 955BE or 970BE instead. If you know you're going to get it, you might even get a slightly cheaper X2, but I'm not sure the $5 saved is worth the loss of a core, even short term.

    ASUS M5A97 AM3+ AMD 970 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
    Model #:M5A97
    Item #:N82E16813131767
    $99.99 $99.99
    Building now without socket AM3+ is a dead-end. Again though, if you don't care about future resistance and are willing to forgo Bulldozer, you can save another $30-$40 here by getting a socket AM3 board with an 800-series chipset on it. There are a couple of cheaper AM3+ boards out there, but I'm not sure they will support all Bulldozer features, and their older chipsets don't support USB3.0 and/or SATA 6Gb/s.

    PowerColor AX6770 1GBD5-H Radeon HD 6770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card
    Model #:AX6770 1GBD5-H
    Item #:N82E16814131434
    $114.99 -$5.00 Instant $109.99
    Dropping back to a HD6670 saves $20, but may not be worth the performance hit, especially if you want to play at higher resolution than you have now. If you are staying at 1360x720 (or going up to no more than 1440x900), you can choose the lesser card, but that really seems unlikely.

    Xigmatek ASGARD II B/B CPC-T45UC-U01 Black / Black 0.8 mm SECC / Aluminum and Aluminum Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer ...
    Model #:CPC-T45UC-U01
    Item #:N82E16811815004
    $39.99 -$10.00 Instant $29.99
    Decent case, and has free shipping. See the recent $500 build for what Tom's thought of it.

    XIGMATEK NRP-PC Series ACXTNRP-PC402 400W ATX12V Ver.2.3 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply
    Model #:ACXTNRP-PC402
    Item #:N82E16817815007
    $59.95 -$25.00 Instant $34.95
    Although I usually use a 380W Antec Earthwatts in budget builds, this PSU has similar ratings and has passed a competent technical review; for the money it looks unbeatable. Tom's used it in a more demanding build and it didn't fry, so I'd try this one myself.

    G.SKILL NS 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Desktop Memory Model F3-10600CL9D-4GBNS
    Model #:F3-10600CL9D-4GBNS
    Item #:N82E16820231394
    $25.99 $25.99
    I've never had to RMA any G.Skill RAM. Now that's only a couple dozen sticks, but is a better personal history than I've had with anyone else, even Mushkin.

    Seagate Barracuda ST500DM002 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
    Model #:ST500DM002
    Item #:N82E16822148767
    $39.99 $39.99
    This is their new model, and I haven't seen any reliability data on it yet, but I also haven't read about any problems. I'd buy one. For a little more, you can get a Samsung Spinpoint F3.

    Sony Optiarc CD/DVD Burner Black SATA Model AD-7261S-0B LightScribe Support - OEM
    Model #:AD-7261S-0B
    Item #:N82E16827118040
    $19.99 $19.99
    Meh. One optical drive is much like another, although this one has Lightscribe.

    Subtotal: $435.88

    Edit: Note that this doesn't include the cost of another Windows license, which you may or may not need. Some people may suggest a more powerful GPU, but with what you have now and your resolution in mind, I think you'll be fine with this. Many of my own mostly older games will play on maxed settings, including 4XAA, at 1920x1080 even on a mere HD6670; any reasonably current FPS titles (which I do not have) WILL need more. In any case, check benchmarks and consider what settings you may be willing to lower before you let someone convince you that you absolutely need to spend $300+ on a GPU.
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