New plan: $500-$600 budget. Help choosing upgrades

I'm looking to upgrade my computer to run games on higher quality settings. Here is my current setup:

Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor BX80570E8400

Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model 996580

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F1 HD753LJ 750GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive -Bare Drive

ABS Tagan ITZ Series ITZ700 700W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Certified Active PFC Power Supply

EVGA 132-CK-NF78-A1 LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 780i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard

EVGA 01G-P3-N891-AR GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB (512MB per GPU) 512-bit (256-bit per GPU) GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI


I'll be shopping in-store at best buy, and I can afford $500-$600 in upgrades. What should I do to start building a more futuristic system, yet ensuring my other components are still compatible. Should I start with a new motherboard so I can run PCI Express 3.0? Or is this not necessary.
3 answers Last reply
More about plan budget choosing upgrades
  1. Are you stuck with best buy? because that SEVERELY limits your choices. They have poor selection and bad prices. Is there a Microcenter or Fry's nearby? Or can you get a newegg giftcard type thing? (I assume your challenge is credit card based).

    I think you are ready to retire your LGA 775 motherboard. You should be able to jump to a modern system for a $200 cpu, $100 mobo, $80 memory, $60 CPU cooler. but only if you can purchase online. This would be an extra $100 at worst buy...
  2. Unfortunately if your going to be in-store at best buy it really limits options. Since your still on a DDR2 platform it's defiantly recommended to upgrade your mobo to a higher socket and DDR3.

    I would go I5 2500k (socket 1155) on your choice of mobo. I prefer Asus, but Gigabite and ASRock are good choices as well.

    Best buy will stick you to PNY stuff which I have never liked.

    Aim for some 1600+ mhz ram.
  3. What games are you trying to play?

    Based on your specs a mobo / processor / ram update probably makes the most sense in terms of future-proofing your build.

    RAM is cheap and as long as you have enough of it, it generally won't tend to affect your in game performance. Any DDR3 module should do (maybe get 2x4GB).

    I'm seconding deadlockedworld's recommendation. Grab an i5-2500k on a Z68 mobo with 8GB of Ram. Get a solid Heat sink / fan and your system will be blazing. If you weren't limited to best buy you could even test out an SSD on your system for your OS / applications. Remove the pagefile / hibernate file and you are good for quite a few games!
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