Upgrade advice for mid budget gaming rig

Approximate Purchase Date: by next month

Budget Range: $300 to $400

System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming: civ5, bioshock, farcry 2, fallout 3 and NV, Mass Effect

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg

Country: California US

Parts Preferences: by brand or type AMD parts preferred!

Overclocking: Whatever the "Auto tune" button can do for me!!!

Monitor Resolution: 1920 x 1080

Current build: AMD phenom II 955 quad clocked to 3.68, Asus M5 A87 motherboard, Coolermaster CM690 II Case,
MSI R5770 hawk ATI, Asus VE248 Monitor, Hyper 212 Plus cooler, CX 500 power supply, WD caviar blue 750gb

On most of the FPS games I have been playing my system does ok, but on CIV5 (which I have been pouring an insane amount of time playing recently) my pc lags really bad and occasionally I get ghost images stuck on the screen. I know this is from a lot of hard drive activity on that game but I wonder how much is because I am running too big of a monitor for my graphics card setup.

I have some money to upgrade but I am not sure whether to upgrade to an SSD or a better graphics card? I screwed up and bought a mobo with only one x16 slot! So I am not sure if my power supply can run like a 6850 card? I plan on playing more strategy games too.

Thanks guys! Please let me know if I left anything out.
7 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about upgrade advice budget gaming
  1. The extra hard drive activity is usually related to insufficient RAM. When the RAM runs out, it has to start using the virtual memory on the hard drive. The video card is a couple generations old, it could stand an upgrade. Yes, the power supply will handle it.

    I'd consider something like a 6870, it doesn't cost much more than a 6850 and you could afford a small SSD as well, and maybe some memory. I don't think you mentioned how much RAM you currently have.
  2. Oh Yeah, sorry... Kingston ddr3 1600 4 mg (2x2)
  3. Definately in need of a graphics card update, at least. I agree that a 6870 would be about right, then ram.
  4. nubuilder99 said:
    Oh Yeah, sorry... Kingston ddr3 1600 4 mg (2x2)

    Yea, that would explain your hard drive activity. Get 2 more of those and stick em in.
  5. Will I get more out of the extra ram or will I notice If I get two sticks of four at a faster rate? Is it worth the extra dough to get faster ram?
  6. Best answer
    The extra ram as I mentioned will reduce the amount or reliance your system has to place on the harddrive. No you won't see an advantage over faster RAM. Just get another pair of what you already have and you should be fine. Theres no advantage to having higher capacity sticks.

    Its easy to max out 4GB these days.. but 8GB you have to work hard at it.
  7. Best answer selected by nubuilder99.
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