Looking to buy in month or two. Budget 300-500 USD.
I want to play stalker: call of pripyat/gta 4/DOW 2 retribution. It is impossible of now as the games are choppy/freeze up. I'm not ready to switch to windows 7 or buy a whole new system, so I'm just trying to juice out an older system to the very best of it's abilities (is this wise?).
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Whoever ships to canada.
PARTS PREFERENCES: Umm. Trying to juice out the system before all the parts are completely extinct. I would even buy two powerful SLI compatible cards, if I could find ones that would work with pci express 1.0 x16. I started searching around and it seems cards that are still available are in pci express 2.0 - I'm assuming I can't use that with my good old 1.0.
OVERCLOCKING: Maybe SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Yes if available.
MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1280x1024
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I would feel no remorse about "wasting" around 500 USD on this older system so long as I would gain a boost powerful enough to let me play those games. I've been out of gaming for a bit due to school, and now games that I wanted to play came out - except I can't play them on this older system, which is very frustrating - I was looking forward to them. I'll admit - I don't know much about computers, and have never assembled one myself. I would usually simply pay around 2k for someone else to do it - due to laziness and lack of knowledge. I don't have the funds to do that right now because I'm in school, so I'm forced to do the hands on approach.
your cpu is already bottlenecking your current card. Seriously, i play gtaiv fine on my 8800gts (obviously not with highest details), but i have a 3.2ghz core 2 duo, which is much more powerful than your athlon64. it didnt run well at its stock 2.4ghz speed, only ran well once i oc'd it to 3ghz. For $500 US you could upgrade cpu, motherboard, ram and have some left over for an ATI 5770 or 6850, depending how you spend it.
The MB's supported CPU listis actually quite large. If you really want to spend on upgrade, I would get a newer CPU (X3 or X4 cores, ~100$), get up to 4GB of RAM (~30$) and get a 2nd 8800GTS (~75$). You would probably need a newer PSU for that, a 600W+ brand PSU.
^actually just realised you only have a 320mb 8800, adding a second might not do much with such low memory.
Then you might want to wait for a complete overhaul (which could be in the 1000-1200 (excl. monitor) for a very decent gaming build. Then again, if you insist on an upgrade, I stand by my X3-X4 CPU upgrade, get a decent GPU (ideally one you will reuse in your next build) and get an ATI 5770 1GB; if you next build isn't too far away, you could always add a 2nd 5770 when you build it.
Your CPU is a little bit of a limit for your current card as it is. If you over clocked it to about 3.0GHz it would be a better match for gaming. Even so, you should check your CPU support list and get the beta BIOS
I'd say get the 560 TI till you can save to upgrade the rest of your system and add another 560 next year or so. If you want to keep this system for longer than that then overclock the 955 BE as far as you can and get the two 460s. In fact, just get one 460 for now and only get a second one when you find the single card lacking. That should keep you playing games for a while and when you finally have to start putting things on low it will likely be because of your CPU