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Best $200 gaming upgrades for aging system

Last response: in Systems
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August 11, 2011 6:28:21 AM

I have an old Dell XPS 400. I have upgraded it with a Sapphire HD 4650 and and an 2 gigabytes of ram. I believe the 2.8 ghz Pentium D is my biggest bottleneck currently. Here are the specs:
CPU
Intel Pentium D 820 2.8 Ghz
RAM
2.00 GB Dual-Channel DDR2 @ 266MHz (4-4-4-12)

Graphics
Dell E151FPp (1024x768@60Hz)
1024MB ATI Radeon HD 4600 Series
Hard Drive
156GB Western Digital WDC WD1600JS-75NCB1 (SATA

I want to lay fairly new games but this rig obviously will only play games from the last few years on fairly low settings and won't play current games at all with playable frame rates.
My idea was to gut the current computer and buy a new motherboard, case, and processor. This is what I came up with.
Rosewill CHALLENGER Black Gaming ATX
ASRock M3A770DE AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard
AMD Phenom II X4 925 Deneb 2.8GHz
That comes out to exactly $200 plus shipping. My question is, does anybody else have and better ideas for me to end up with a usable gaming computer with my $200 budget?

EDIT: I just realized that Processor doesn't come with a cpu cooler. What is the best AM3 processor for gaming that costs $100 or less?
August 11, 2011 8:35:00 AM

Phenom II X4 955BE.
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August 11, 2011 9:27:14 AM

You'll need RAM as well, I'd recommend saving a bit more and getting a better PSU as well.

Grab this MB instead: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$60 ASUS M5A78L-M LX AM3+ AMD 760G Micro ATX AMD Motherboard (this way you have an upgrade path, has hybrid X-Fire you can use with that 4600 series)
CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$75 AMD Athlon II X3 445 Rana 3.1GHz (your MB can unlock the 4th core)(and you can always upgrade later)
RAM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$30 G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (grab a second stick later for 8GB)
Case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$22 GIGABYTE gz-ph2a3

Total: $187 + S&H

PSU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$45 CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 V2 430W
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August 11, 2011 1:47:09 PM

^^^Ih8u is the one i'd look at as well,,don't put all your hopes on the 4th core though, i wasn't lucky with my chip --- anyhoo if you do unlock the processor you lose the ability to check the temperature,, it does o/c OK without the unlock - i got mine up to 3.7 Ghz, but have since backed off to 3.3 for now

,, you are going to need a whole new system,, I am sure your hard drive is probably close to being on its last legs as well, so make sure you are ready to replace that in the next year or so.

You will need a better video card as well, even with the hybrid xfire it will only marginally be better than what you have now. you are not going to be able to play much more games,, you'll have to add in something like a 550ti, about another $120
total cost to upgrade will be ~~350.00 - look for combo deals, there may be something that'll save you money there --- but at least you can always add the vid card later
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August 11, 2011 10:04:08 PM

Is your old case alive?? Because you can spend the money you've got now to more important parts!
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August 11, 2011 11:09:56 PM

Would my old XPS 400 case work with all these parts?
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August 12, 2011 7:58:32 AM

Best answer selected by serowman.
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