5 Yr old system, can/should I upgrade? Or Replace?

Hello all! Looking for a little advise on what I should make for a game plan with my current pc. I built it around 5 years ago now, mabye more, cant remember now, lol. I currently play pretty much everything I want now, but at lowered res, and details, but thats only going to become a bigger issue as there are some more titles coming out that I would like to pick up. Playing Diablo 3 at med details on 1680x1050 on my 52 inch plasma currently, and experience some stutter when the screen is very populated and busy, other than that, it runs great! When I built it, i did it with upgrades in mind, and spent pretty decent money to get good parts, and its done me very well so far. This is what I have now:

MSI MS-7376 K9A2 Platinum Main board 790Fx chipset (raid onboard, hd audio, crossfire x support)
AMD Phenom X4 9850 Black Edition (currently not OC'd)
2x OCZ 2RPR10662G (4gb tot still at 400Mhz)
Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT (600mhz core, 900 mem)
Rosewill 400w PSU (had a nicer 500w, but a lightning storm killed it last month)

Im ready for a new hd, as mine is on its last leg, but since im at a cross roads with the whole system, im waiting to see what happens there before I get into the SSD/HD debate.

So my big question is, even tho all of this hardware is old, is it still something to build from? Swap out a newer or supported cpu, some zippier ram, and a graphics card, and away I go for another year or two? Or should I start from the ground up again? Funds are tight, and I dont need to do something this week. Mabye by novemberish I would like to have something done. So I dont need an exactly firm plan, just an idea of where to head.

My thoughts (or wishes, lol) Two ssd's on raid 0, big hd for media etc. New cpu and some zippier ram (if mb will take anupgrade at all) and some new graphics card (660 ti or something?)

Ill fill out the rest of the standard system/ upgrade advise template that was stickied, and Im excitedly waiting your responces!

Thanks guys!

Approximate Purchase Date: Would like to be finished by november sometime, dont need to have it by tomorrow, can buy parts as I go or see a deal etc.

Budget Range: If i upgrade sooner than later 300ish, if I cant spread it out, 6-700?

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, home entertainment center/file storage for other pc's, tablets, cameras etc. Then surfing the web.

Are you buying a monitor: No

Parts to Upgrade: Open to suggestions

Do you need to buy OS: On vista now, but dont need to switch yet.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg all the way, used it for many many years

Location: East coast (Maine)

Parts Preferences: Im an AMD cpu fan, and Nvidia graphics fan. Yes I know AMD owns ATI now, but Im still hung up on how absolutly horrible ATI's drivers were back in the rage and radeon age (late 90's to early 00's) and Im get a little nauseious thinking about buying ati again, lol!

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe

Your Monitor Resolution: 1980x1080 as I use a tv of some sort all the time, and down own a monitor at the moment.

Additional Comments:Dont want it to suck a huge ammount of power, as Mr. Power Co seems to like to up my bill as it is on a monthly basis.

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: See 1st paragraph
13 answers Last reply
More about system should upgrade replace
  1. replace, none of it is realy worth upgrading. 1st gen phenom processor, DDR2 ram, crappy PSU, barely adequate GPU. Nothing there is worth saving. Give that PC away to a family member and start over, fresh.
  2. I have a similar setup, and you can do pretty well on the immediate parts for an upgrade, then upgrade the rest when you get the cash. I'd say hop on a 965 BE, it's the highest that board will take, I have the same board, but I'm looking to replace the whole thing, but I'm looking at a 2500$ build so I'm saving right now, anyway, you can get a 965 BE for like 100$, give or take, and that's what you can sell it for on EBay. Because it's the highest you can go with that board (You need a new bios I believe, just update), maybe that chipset, I don't see demand decreasing soon on those particular processors. Upgrade the graphics to something midrange, not unbelievable, but midrange. You could probably fit a 7770, I'd aim more around the 660Ti mark, the better you can get the happier you'll be with it, also, you NEED to upgrade your PSU, all the good components want one, anyhow, upgrade the couple pieces now, then spend another 300 - 400 in 5 or 6 months and upgrade the rest. I agree with the previous poster, that it's not really worth saving anything from your old build. It works good for now, but compared to modern pieces, it leaves a lot to be desired, especially if you're planning a build around a faster card like the 660Ti.

    My build is a K9A2 Platinum, 4Gb Patriot Viper, 2x1Tb Hdd, 5770, 650w XFX, most of it I bought around the same timeframe you bought yours, when I got it the 4870 was king of the hill, and that's what it had, cat peed on it, bought the 5770 for 100$ on sale, and I've been really happy with the performance, even in diablo. SO, a new video card and PSU will go a long way, but your system is gonna bottleneck anything stellar.

  3. Replace if you can. Try building a system by shopping Newegg and posting it here. Here is what to expect.

    • Intel processors are better than AMD, but Intel cost more. The best one to get would be an Intel quad-core, but that will cost you around $200. AMD quad-core is half that price. Here is a gaming CPU chart. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-review-overclock,3106-5.html
    • Intel i5-3570K - $229.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116504
    • AMD FX-4100 - $100 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103996
    • AMD Phenom II X4 - $109 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103727

    • This will probably cost you $80 to $130. Pick everything else, then search for the appropriate motherboard based on your CPUs chipset.

    • 8GB of RAM should be just right. Lots of choices. Get 2 x 4GB DDR3 1600. Usually $40-$50
    • Corsair Vengeance - $44.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233186
    • Crucial Ballistix - $44.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148544
    • G.Skill Ripjaws - $45.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231314

    Hard drive
    • Get what will fit your budget
    • Mechanical HDD. Get what’s on sale and has good reviews. Best bang for your buck. Can you reuse any of your old drives?
    • SSD choices
    • Crucial, Sandisk, Samsung are some of the best choices.
    • 120-128GB are usually on sale for $80-$100
    • 240-256GB can be found for $160-$200 on sale.

    • If you plan on overclocking or doing SLI/Crossfire, you should get something over 750watt. Make sure the PSU that you select can handle your video cards – has enough 6 (or 8) pin adapters. Take a look at those Newegg reviews. If you don’t need to overclock or run multi-graphics, you should be ok with around 500w.

    • This is personal preference for you. Look for one that you like the look of. I'll throw a few inexpensive ones on here that I might consider buying.
    • Antec 300 - $54.99 + $2.99 shipping. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129042
    • NZXT - $39.99 + $7.99 shipping. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811146075
    • Rosewill - $49.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811147153

    Video Card (GPU)
    • Take a look at Nvidia GTX 560 or AMD 7770 - usually around $130 on sale. You can get cards for under $100 as well. If we are to keep to your budget of $600-700, you probably can’t get a 660 TI as that will consume half your budget, but maybe. You will need to see what all of your other components come in at. AMD(ATI) graphics cards drivers are a non-issue nowadays. Toms Hardware best graphics card for the money. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-card-review,3107.html

    DVD drive. Do you need Blu-Ray?
    • Find something cheap with good reviews. Usually under $20
    • LG - $17.99 + $4.99 shipping. You should be able to find something with free shipping. Not a lot of free shipping right now. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827136247
    • Asus - $19.99 +$4.99 shipping. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827135204

    *some of the prices may have changed since I first copied these links a few weeks ago, but they give you an idea. Look for sales. Newegg can be set to alert you if something on your wishlist goes on sale.
  4. If you want to save some cash your board supports Phenom II 965 or 960T both of which can overclock well to. Add a Radeon 6850-7850 and you can play all games on high-ultra.
  5. simon12 said:
    If you want to save some cash your board supports Phenom II 965 or 960T both of which can overclock well to. Add a Radeon 6850-7850 and you can play all games on high-ultra.

    the DDR2 ram would seriously limit the CPU performance I think.
  6. doing it piece meal

    first step:
    get some instant gratification and replace the PSU and GPU ($300)
    HD 7850 or 7870 - I know you said nVidia and I totally agree on their driver issue in the past, but they have got much better and the these to card are the best price/performance ratio.
    450-600 PSU from corsair, seasonic, XFX PC P&C, Silverstone, Antec (shop for best deals)

    Second Step: (will require OS ghost or re-install and Windows will need to authenticate again)
    GIGABYTE GA-B75M-D3H $70
    G.SKILL Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 $42
    whatever quad core i5 that is on sale 3450,2320,2300,2400,3550,3570,3330 $180-190
    whatever 5 egg rated 128gb SSD that is on sale (Crucial M4, Samsung 830, ADATA) (I lean toward reliability and stability rather super speed) $90-100
  7. Quote:
    the DDR2 ram would seriously limit the CPU performance I think.

    I had thought that too and was interested in upgrading my own system from ddr2 1066 to ddr3 1600. I swapped all my parts over from my motherboard to the new one (Asus Sabertooth 990FX) installed 24GB of 1600 DDR3 and noticed no difference at all in any game I tried (bf3, batman AC, crysis 2). Even my benchmark scores in 3dmark vantage and 11 didn't improve. Everything performed exactly the same. However, I did gain .1 (7.5 to 7.6 on memory) on the Windows performance index test.
  8. RAM speed makes very little difference in real life applications, I would be surprised if you get 2 FPS difference from your RAM to the fastest DDR3 you can get.
  9. To the OP. You have a few choices.

    1. OC your current CPU, get a CPU cooler (CM 212 assuming your case is big enough), add another 4GB of ram and a new video card and PSU and make it work for another 12 - 24 months. I haven't been able to get past 3.1Ghz on an original Phenom. 3 Ghz seems to be the sweet spot for those processors.

    Memory - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820104073 $59
    Kingston HyperX 2x2GB DDR2 1066 #KHX8500D2K2/4G

    CPU Cooler - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103065 $30 - $20 after rebate
    Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus

    VGA - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814131477 $119 - $110 after rebate
    PowerColor AX7770 1GBD5-DH Radeon HD 7770

    PSU - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139027 $60 - $40 after rebate
    Corsair Builder series CX500 V2 80 Plus certified

    Total $268 out of pocket - $229 after rebates.

    2. Buy a Phenom 2 X4 and OC it along with everything in option 1 with the exception of that video card and make it work for 24+ months.

    CPU - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103727 $110
    AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz

    4Ghz should be easily accomplished with this cpu.

    VGA #2 is only needed if you get a Phenom 2 X4.

    VGA #2 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814202004 $190 - $180 after rebate
    SAPPHIRE 100355-1GOCL Radeon HD 7850 1GB

    The great thing about options 1 and 2 is you can do it in steps. Video card and PSU would be number 1 followed by cpu cooler and OC then memory. Unless you are getting the processor then go with VGA #2.

    3. Build a completely new system and get 4 or 5 years out of it.
  10. Thanks for the reply guys!

    Really liking the psu and gpu idea, makes sence to me atleast. Is my board going to be a bottle neck for a newer gpu? Like a 660ti or 7850 or something? I know from overclocking in the past I could get about 866ish Mhz out of my front side bus, so there is a lil room there for improvement. I always seem to run into issues after that, and I think it was the processor that was giving me issues, so I might have to turn the multiplier down some and see if I can get a lil more out of it. That should take some of the sting of DDR2 out of it correct?

    On the processor issue, its tempting to do the newer phenom and run with it, but the older DDR2 memory, usb 2.0, and older pci-e 2.0 instead of 3.0 make me think that its very possible that a bottle neck from a newer gpu is possible, althought there should be some gain in performance. So what I might gain in cpu, might limit my future choices on new mb's and better cpus. As in, a new gpu and psu are upgrades that a new mb and ram will be able to harness to its fullest, but a cpu for this board, is only a half step forward, as it will potentially help this setup, but hinder my choices in my next mb and ddr etc. Or will that cpu not be a hinderance?
  11. I had almost the exact system you did, K9A2 board with a 9600 Agena core processor. It's a night and day difference between that and the i5 2500k I have now. You can upgrade the processor and gpu, but are still limited by the motherboad and ram speeds. I upgraded the processer to a 955BE and overclocked it. There was a little bit of a speed difference and I was still using the GTX260 I bought originally for it. I finally gave up and built a brand new pc rather than polishing a turd. I bought an AM3 mobo and 8 gigs of ram and put the upgraded parts in a "new" pc for my kids and started from scratch, reusing my case and PSU. Build a brand new PC and you'll be so much happier rather than trying to compromise.
  12. The difference between my Phenom 2 X4 @ 4.31Ghz and a 7770 and an I5 2500K at stock speeds with the same 7770 is less than 5 fps in bf3.

    USB 3.0 and PCIE 3.0 currently make no difference in gaming performance.

    If your Phenom can hit 3 Ghz it should be able to run a 7850 with little to no bottle-necking in most games. Any card faster than that and a 660ti/7870 may become bottle-necked. A Phenom 2 X4 at 4 Ghz+ should be fine with any single GPU solution.
  13. Silver Talon said:

    Rosewill 400w PSU (had a nicer 500w, but a lightning storm killed it last month)

    for $20-ish buy a surge protector, the would be a decent upgrade
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