Dudes! Upgrade help for budget gaming system, 3.5 years old

Hey all,

Built a system about 3-4 years ago and had a lot of help here! Now it's pooping out. To give you an idea of my usage, I graphic design, play games (this system let me play max payne 3 on full res which was sweet), and run my TV, music, and movies off the computer.

The System

Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

GIGABYTE GA-EP45-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard

SAPPHIRE 100245L Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card

OCZ GameXStream OCZ600GXSSLI 600W ATX12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply

Intel Core 2 Duo E7300 Wolfdale 2.66GHz LGA 775 Dual-Core Processor BX80571E7300

OCZ Reaper HPC 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ2RPR10664GK

Western Digital Caviar Black WD5001AALS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro Rev.2 92mm Fluid Dynamic CPU Cooler

The Problem
The system recently started heving problems booting up. It would start up for about 5 seconds, then turn off. Then repeat. This actually happened intermittently over the years, but usually after a power off/unplug for 1 minute, then plug back in, it would work. Now, sometimes it will boot up, and I hear the hard drive working, but no display. The video card's fan will be running half the time, and half the time when I boot it won't turn on at all and the red "thermal" light is on.

What I've done so far
1. Got a hold of an old video card, and tried booting up with that.

No change.

2. Checked all cables and plugs. Unplugged and replugged most cords int he mobo. Cleaned fans. Removed fan from video card, cleaned off flakey thermal paste, reapplied new thermal paste. Removed cooler for microprocessor. Cleaned and reapplied thermal paste. Broke one of the annoying clips which attach the cooler, but three still on so what the hell.

System worked! For about 3 days, then the same problem. No boot up.

3. Figured it might be my PSU. Bought a new PSU from best buy (can always return). Plugged in all components with new PSU.

No change.

So now I figure it's my mobo, which means I'm basically forced to upgrade due to new tech, right? I am poor; work in education at a non profit. But I could probably sell my wii and upgrade. I figure I could hold on to the radeon card, the hard drive, DVD drive, PSU (it's 600w afterall), and case. But I'm open to the opinions of ya'll here, since you are smarter than me.

Anyway, thanks for your time reading this and looking forward to hearing your ideas!
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More about dudes upgrade budget gaming system years
  1. I did take a look around, and there's nothing visibly wrong with any of the capacitors. I learned a lot from the link though. The exploded ones look fun!
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