I have been going back and forth trying to figure out what I can do with this system. I have $200 now for a slight upgrade and I just can’t seem to know where to start. Do I upgrade the GPU first and build around it in the future? Or do I upgrade the CPU/MB and upgrade GPU later? Chances are if I upgrade the CPU/MB I may need to upgrade the memory as well from DDR2 to DDR3 and I’m sure I can’t do that for $200. Or hold off till I can come up with more money and start from scratch. Any suggestions?
You can use that cooler latter on too when you upgrade the rest. Now as for the GPU it depends on your resolution. I mean if you're doing 1440x900 or lower than a 5770/677 is more than enough and they go for around $120. If you use a resolution higher than that you may want to look at a 6850
Since you didn't list your PSU model I don't know if it's crappy or not. There are a few different 430W models by them. Even so the 6850 isn't terribly power hungry so as long as the PSU isn't total crap it should handle the worst case power draw
I never tried overclocking my CPU in the fear of damaging the unit especially since I don’t have the experience. I will look into the guide you suggested.
Regarding my PSU it’s a Thermaltake TR2 W0070 430.
As far as the GPU goes my system is currently hooked up to a 22” Viewsonic LCD at 1680x1050 resolution. So my guesses go with 6850. I never really played around with the resolutions always kept it on the monitors default resolution.
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.
As a rule, you get better results by upgrading the graphics card first.
I suppose your PSU would be fine in daily operation, but I wouldn't try stressing it by running furmark or something just to see if it can. You essentially have a 350W PSU and your system may not be more than that, but if it was me I wouldn't be comfortable. You may want to consider this replacement PSU
Yeah well, hindsight . Anyway a 5770/6770 and a good CPU cooler to overclock your CPU will make a world of difference. Of course, you won't get much more than 3.2Ghz out of a 7750BE (though I managed to get 3.0 out of one with a stock cooler ), but you'll see a big difference with the GPU upgrade. The 4650 is less than half as fast as a 5770 and you have a crippled version with slower DDR2 RAM. You'll be happy.
Oddly enough the Thermaltake PSU I had was still within my 30days with 2days left, so I took the sucker out and replaced it with a Corsair GS600. Also replaced my HD4650 with an XFX HD6770 and I must say, “WOW, what a big difference.”
I’ll be picking up a good CPU cooler sometime this week and overclock my CPU. But for the meantime, I’m extremely happy. Thanks for the help.