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Upgrading on a budget with an old motherboard

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May 2, 2012 5:14:20 AM

I am looking to play some newer games on some decent settings. I'm willing to pay about $250, but may go up to about $300. I currently have:

4GB RAM
GeForce 8600 GTS 512 MB
1440 x 900 resolution
AMD Athlon 64 x2 5200+ (2x 2.6GHz)
MSI K9N4 SLI-F Link!
Vista Home Basic 64 bit OEM

I can't do much about the processor, this motherboard doesn't support the Athon 64x2 6400+ or any AM2+ CPUs. The fastest it supports is a 6000+, which isn't much of an upgrade. If I buy a new motherboard, I'll have to buy a new copy of Windows, since I currently have an OEM, and a motherboard+CPU+Windows 7 would strain my budget.

Should I just put my money towards a nice graphics card? Is it hopeless to get any significant upgrade with $300? I've been driving myself crazy relearning all these terms and checking compability, and benchmarks, and prices, so I humbly throw myself upon your advice and thank you for the help!
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May 2, 2012 5:29:58 AM
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May 2, 2012 2:54:24 PM




  • Great budget build.

    2 suggestions (unfortunately none help with lower the price much):

    1. the GDDR5 version of that card is much faster for $10 more
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    2. a little better CPU in a combo G850 for same price.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
    or a little less CPU for -$10 in a combo will offset the better GPU
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

    both CPU's will make great little gamers.

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    May 2, 2012 3:58:08 PM

    Yeah any decent graphics card will be severely hindered by your slow cpu.

    Also any decent graphics card will likely require a new psu. You didn't mention what psu you have.

    Your looking at a new computer basically.
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    May 2, 2012 4:31:41 PM

    I think my PSU is 650W, or I went overboard and got the 1000W. It's been a while and the site I bought it from and have the bookmark from doesn't exist anymore, and I can't check right now, but I think it will be sufficient. I don't really need to upgrade my RAM, do I? I currently have DDR2, is DDR3 really worth it?

    Looking around, I found some good deals on the following, and would like to make sure they work together:

    AMD Athlon II X4 Quad-Core Processor 631 (2.6GHz) FM1 ($71)
    ASRock A55 PRO3 FM1 AMD A55 (Hudson D2) HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard ($75)
    Windows 7 Home Premium OEM ($87)
    HIS H675FS1G Radeon HD 6750 1GB 128-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card ($90)
    Total: $323

    Also, will that motherboard work with DDR2 RAM? Do I need to supply more information to even answer that? I have CPU-Z installed.
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    May 2, 2012 4:55:36 PM

    if you want to go the FM1 route that would be okay. Watch what you buy carefully. Don't know if that processor has on board video ( hybrid cpu ) or not. And if you buy the FM1 set up make sure you get DDR3 1866 memory. Fast memory is the key to those processors.

    Also, if you go that route you should look into cross firing with the onboard video........ make sure you select the proper card. NOT all amd video cards will make it work.

    Here are a couple of things I found in the short amount of time I have...... unfortunately your budget is a killer and does not include a video card. $203.

    mobo
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    memory
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    cpu
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    give me a little bit and I'll see if I can get a cheap FM1 set up together. Don't hold your breath though. The core components are one thing, getting a car ( $ ) is another.
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    May 2, 2012 5:11:26 PM

    I have some FM1 stuff. Didn't include a video card because I can't remember which 3 you can use. They are lower end cards.... 6 series.... and can run in cross fire with the on board video. It will give you a big advantage over what you have now...... but looking back you game at 1400x900 and you just might not need to add a video card................ don't know.

    Here's the stuff $220.

    mobo
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    memory
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    cpu
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    or alternative cpu
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    add $5 to the cost after dropping the first cpu....... personally I'd go for the second one
    Good Luck.
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    May 2, 2012 5:42:12 PM

    swifty_morgan said:
    I have some FM1 stuff. Didn't include a video card because I can't remember which 3 you can use. They are lower end cards.... 6 series.... and can run in cross fire with the on board video. It will give you a big advantage over what you have now...... but looking back you game at 1400x900 and you just might not need to add a video card................ don't know.

    Here's the stuff $220.

    mobo
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    memory
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    cpu
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    or alternative cpu
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    add $5 to the cost after dropping the first cpu....... personally I'd go for the second one
    Good Luck.



    you can't game on the built in graphics.... xfire doesn't improve FPS at low resolutions. you need a real video card to game with and the OP still needs an OS. so that would put the build way over budget.
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    May 2, 2012 6:03:54 PM

    Ok, I'm not married to the AMD, I just saw that it was about the same price as the Intel G630, but had a benchmark of 4358 compared to the Intel's 2586 here: http://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html

    It sounds like it would ultimately cost more, and restrict my video card options, though. So I guess I'll go with something more like Proximon suggested.

    Is a micro ATX board in an ATX case going to cause any issues? And is that (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...) motherboard going to require DDR3 RAM, as opposed to DDR2?
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    May 2, 2012 6:07:17 PM

    Pyral413 said:


    Also, will that motherboard work with DDR2 RAM? Do I need to supply more information to even answer that? I have CPU-Z installed.


    NO!

    the intel base G series system will be much faster than a the FM1 system for gaming in games that are more cpu intense. they lack a L3 cache.

    see this article from THG. other than this one bench mark all the CPU's in the article are pretty equal, so FM1 is not a bad choice
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-fx-pentium-a...

    Again, I recommend the GDDR5 version of the 6750 GPU
    HIS H675F1GD is will be probably 15 - 20% faster than the GDDR3 version
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    May 2, 2012 6:10:06 PM

    Pyral413 said:
    Ok, I'm not married to the AMD, I just saw that it was about the same price as the Intel G630, but had a benchmark of 4358 compared to the Intel's 2586 here: http://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html

    It sounds like it would ultimately cost more, and restrict my video card options, though. So I guess I'll go with something more like Proximon suggested.

    Is a micro ATX board in an ATX case going to cause any issues? And is that (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...) motherboard going to require DDR3 RAM, as opposed to DDR2?


    Requires DDR3 and usually case that support ATX also Support uATX.
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    May 2, 2012 8:23:04 PM

    To be clearer, DDR3 and DDR2 are not interchangeable. Different slots, different voltages. No modern upgradeable system will have DDR2 compatibility.

    The idea was to get you into an upgradeable system here. I have my doubts about A-series APUs going forward, but I'm comfortable with AM3+ or LGA 1155 for a year or two. I wish I could recommend an AMD build, but for gaming there's not much competition with Intel atm.
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    May 6, 2012 1:25:46 AM

    Like all upgrade projects, my budget has ballooned. Want to make sure the stuff I'm looking at will work together before I take the plunge:

    Intel Pentium G850 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)
    GIGABYTE GA-H61MA-D3V LGA 1155 Intel H61 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)
    Corsair 8 GB 1333mhz PC3-10666 240-pin Dual Channel DDR3 Memory Kit 8 Dual Channel Kit (http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-1333mhz-PC3-10666-240-pin...)
    Radeon HD 6700 (http://www.amazon.com/HIS-Radeon-Eyefinity-DisplayPort-...)
    Windows 7 home premium OEM

    Re-used parts from current computer:
    Hitachi Deskstar 7K160 HDS721616PLA380 (http://www.afterdawn.com/products/product_details.cfm/3...)
    Antec True Power Trio TP3-650 650W ATX12V (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)
    Westinghouse L1975NW Black 19" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)

    I'm quite excited to have a nice computer again, and thank you to everyone who has helped.
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    May 6, 2012 1:46:14 AM

    the more i look the more confusing this thread gets. why would you even think about a pentium ?

    the video card is great...... will work awesomely with the FM1 set up I posted before.

    The other guy is confusing the issue because the current Intel on board graphics SUCK but that does fit his mind set.

    Also, with the FM1 set up you might NOT need to buy a graphics card because the graphics ARE that good at your res and your requirements.

    The junk you posted isn't worth the money you are thinking of spending on it. ( processor-motherboard-ram )

    How's that for an opinion ?
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    May 6, 2012 6:00:31 AM

    You should be bit nervous about the old Antec TP3... it was not considered a good PSU. It should be OK for the time being, but don't rely on it too long.

    I think the parts are OK. You will find both the CPU and the GPU in our monthly gaming hardware guides, linked on the front page. You'll have lot's of room to upgrade the CPU for the next year or two, if you feel the need.
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