Hi, I'm trying to help my cousin upgrade his PC without buying a whole new system.
Approximate Purchase Date of new part(s): two weeks
System Usage: GAMING
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: amazon, newegg, tigerdirect
CPU: Pentium(R) Dual-Core CPU E5200 @ 2.50GHz | Wolfdale | Socket 775 LGA
Mainboard: ECS G31T-M v1.0 | Northbridge Intel P35/G33/G31 rev. 10 | Southbridge Intel 82801GB (ICH7/R) rev. A1
RAM: Supertalent DDR2 2048 Mbytes | 5.0-5-5-15-20 @ 333 MHz | 2T
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 8400 GS | 512 MB @ 64 bits
HDD: 7200 RPM | 320 Gb
Microsoft Windows XP Professional Service Pack 3 (Build 2600)
What would you recommend to change that would have the greater effect on gaming? Maybe changing 2 parts...
(buying a quad-core, adding more ram, changing the video card, change the hdd for an sdd.... )
You "Can" upgrade a bit only, but mostly its true you need a new system.
In case you dont want to, here is my advice:
-Check PSU first, to know how much power it can handle.
-Get a nvidia gtx 460 768mb ram (cheapest version you can so that its somewhere close to your cpu effectivness. Also you could get this gpu cheap enought nowdays i think, and going a GTX260 seems a bit... strange now . Remmber that Win Xp is a DX9 system if i remmber right, so unless you get vista, you wont get DX10 and 11).
-Get 2 extra gigs ram
-Get a good cpu cooler (futureproof would be best option) and oc cpu.
Now, i dont know if ati gpus can take off the physx off from the cpu in the current generations, but i know nvidia can.
Since your CPU is what will be the bottleneck, getting that extra work off from the cpu will get you some more headroom.