Help with upgrading motherboard

Hey everyone! I have a limited budget, so I'm trying to figure out the most cost-effective way to replace the MB on my old gaming desktop. Current kit is:

Core 2 Duo E6850 (with Asetek CPU liquid cooling)
Asus P5N-E nForce 650i SLI(Dying. Yes, I'm sure)
4GB Mushkin PC6400 DDR2 memory
Radeon HD 6670 1GB (brand new)
Seasonic M12II Bronze 620W power supply (brand new)

The new power supply and GPU were upgrades and intended to fix a boot failure issue that I have since narrowed down to the motherboard dying. So, what I would like to do is find a new motherboard that would be compatible with my current graphics card and CPU. I plan on upgrading the motherboard and the RAM now(I don't think anything can use both DDR2 and DDR3 memory, right?), and only have $200 to $300 to play with. Yes, I know my current CPU bottlenecks my GPU, but it's also very good for OC'ing (I haven't any with this rig), and I plan on upgrading the CPU in the future, so if I can get a new motherboard that can use the current CPU but have the headroom to upgrade, that's what I want.

I'd like to get something with a good reputation for stability and overclocking (like the ASUS P5N-E).

Anyone have some ideas for me?
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  1. "so if I can get a new motherboard that can use the current CPU but have the headroom to upgrade, that's what I want."

    I'm afraid that what you want and what's available are two very different things. If you keep your cpu, you must get a socket 775 mb - no choice about it. When you are ready to upgrade your cpu, you'll have to get a new MB because socxket 775 cpus aren't made anymore.
  2. Ahh... that's what I was afraid of. However, how new is the new standard? When I say "new" CPU, I'm just talking about an upgrade. Is there any CPU/MB combo that would fit the bill for about $250-$300?
  3. Alright .. so you're looking at two options.. Either replace just the motherboard for around $55 (cheap, easy) and have no room for upgrades later.
    Or replace the motherboard, cpu, AND ram for up to $250 and have room for upgrades later.
  4. Dragh0n, I'd definitely take option 2, and that's about what I'm prepared to spend (or a little more). Do you have any suggestions?
  5. Sure, but I'm Intel biased. :)
    I'd look at Z77 motherboards (or if you don't have alot of add-on cards H77)
    Hook that up with an I3 Sandy Bridge CPU (I5 Ivy Bridge in the future)
    RAM is pretty simple.. 2x2GB 1600 DD3 look for 9 CAS (or below) and 1.5 voltage
  6. AMD Phenom x4 965 + Asus M5A97, upgrade to Piledriver in the future. Save cash, you don't need Intel.
  7. I've had both Intel and AMD in the past and never really felt enough of a difference to be biased. AMD's tend to run a little hot, though, don't they? On the other hand, having the pins on the CPU sounds like it would be easier to install (anyone know?)

    Thanks for the suggestions, guys, I'll take a look at those.
  8. Intel is head and shoulders above AMD in performance (like intel dual-cores matching or beating amd quad-cores in gaming) these days but AMD is cheaper.
    Up to you which way to go.
  9. So what's the difference between H77 and Z77? Anyone have a recommendation for a good one? I've had good experiences with ASUS, but I've heard good things about Gigabyte, but what about ASROCK and Biostar?
  10. ASRock seem to have good price performance - I've gone Gigabyte my last 3 boards - ASRock looks tempting for my next.
    EDIT: Do you live close to a MicroCenter?
  11. Z77 is the newer motherboards that support Ivy Bridge (which support ddr3 1600) and PCI 3.0.
    H77 is a smaller versions that don't have some of the pci slots that Z77 has.
    For the average consumer I'd look at price first. Sure some manufacturers are better then others but you can get a dead board from anyone.
  12. Dish_moose, no I do not. I think ASRock looks good too. I'm actually looking at this board:
    Found some good DDR3 for a good price:
    Now I'm just trying to figure out the CPU- this one looks good:

    Thoughts, anyone?
  13. No complaints on all three fronts. Looks to be within your budget.
    litte more money then the i3 give you 4 cores...a little more power in gaming.
    h77 locked chipset z77 is for the k cpu.
    most h have one slot at 16x and one or two 6g sata ports.
  15. That's a good price IF you have MicroCenter near you.
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