with your current spec, why not add a discrete graphic card? onboard graphic is will not even do "adequate" graphic. A $100 AMD HD7770 will do wonder with your card, even more with higher budget graphic card
edit: your system (both old and new) are capable of running 64bit OS, though the old one will not be able to run it smoothly/not optimized. With 8GB of memory, you should run 64bit OS to take advantage of the memory above 3.2GB
the reason i was looking to upgrade was the old pc struggles to run newer audio programs like ableton live and sonar 10. as the main use for the pc is as a studio computer first and games second, i guess i can forgo graphic quality for a faster, more reliable system running smoothly on windows 7 64 bit to take advantage of the extra ram to load samples.
with the i5 or i7 systems and a different graphics card around the $100 mark, would i be any better of performance wise over the old rig?
compared with your old amd athlon 64 x2 6000+ rig, even an i3 system will give you better performance... so upgrade away
on a side note, have you considered adding ssd and more ram? 128gb ssd is about $100 and will do wonder on your boot time, and an additional 8gb (at around $50) might also help (disclaimer: i don't have any knowledge about audio software, so i just assume it will help having more ram to load samples onto it)
yeah music software streams samples of the hdd, but i have an old external 1tb drive plugged in via sata for all my samples and this is fine for my needs. maybe ill upgrade to ssd when the price comes down as sample libraries are massive, and i could only fit a few on the ssd before it was full.
well the newest programs i own all can operate with 64 bit OS and require a fair whack of grunt to work efficiently. how can i check?
ok so if i go the i7, thatd be it, or if i got the i5 i would have a few dollars to play with for a graphics card around the $100 mark. the shop i am buying the system also offers free psu upgrades when i buy a system with a gpu upgrade. any recommendations for a gpu at this price point?
Don't buy a mini case, buy at least a mid tower for better breathing of the components, and the best is if it has the psu installing on the bottom of the back. And as I said to everyone whose wants to buy a SSD: DON'T DO IT IF U DON'T HAVE THE MONEY TO REPLACE IT, becouse more than a upgrade is a luxury part, SO DON'T!
And I say is luxury becouse u have to replace it once a half year!