Looking to Upgrade - Need Help

I was looking during christmas to upgrade my PC but I decided to hold off a bit longer, I build this pc myself and before I made any leaps on upgrade parts I wanted to see what suggestions others might have in case there is something I overlooked. I am trying to stay as close to $200 as possible for upgrades, but I might be able to get a little wiggle room if I have to. Any ideas?

Current Rig
MOBO: ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe Wireless Edition AM2 NVIDIA nForce 590 SLI MCP ATX AMD Motherboard
CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 6400+ Windsor 3.2GHz Socket AM2 125W Dual-Core Processor ADX6400CZBOX
RAM: OCZ Reaper HPC Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel
GPU: nVidia GeForce GTX 260
10 answers Last reply
More about looking upgrade help
  1. I assume that your usage is for gaming.
    I suspect that a graphics card update would be best, but

    To help clarify your options, run these two tests:

    a) Run your games, but lower your resolution and eye candy.
    If your FPS increases, it indicates that your cpu is strong enough to drive a better graphics configuration.
    If your FPS stays the same, you are likely cpu limited.

    b) Limit your cpu, either by reducing the OC, or, in windows power management, limit the maximum cpu% to something like 50%.
    This will simulate what a lack of cpu power will do.


    Go to control panel/power options/change plan settings/change advanced power settings/processor power management/maximum processor state/
    set to 50% and see how you do.


    If your FPS drops significantly, it is an indicator that your cpu is the limiting factor, and a cpu upgrade is in order.

    It is possible that both tests are positive, indicating that you have a well balanced system, and both cpu and gpu need to be upgraded to get better gaming FPS.

    If you will upgrade your graphics card, I might suggest something like a GTX660. It will use your current driver, and the psu requirement is actually less than the GTX280.
    I would not upgrade to a lesser graphics card or you may be disappointed if you do not see a nice improvement.

    If you will update your cpu, then look at an i3-3220 and an inexpensive socket 1155 motherboard.
    Your DDR2 ram will need to become DDR3. The combo might be a bit more than $200.
    I would not go the amd upgrade route for gaming. The Intel cpu chips seem to be better at every price point today.

    Whatever, sell your old parts on e-bay tohelp defray the cost.
  2. Grossmond said:
    I was looking during christmas to upgrade my PC but I decided to hold off a bit longer, I build this pc myself and before I made any leaps on upgrade parts I wanted to see what suggestions others might have in case there is something I overlooked. I am trying to stay as close to $200 as possible for upgrades, but I might be able to get a little wiggle room if I have to. Any ideas?

    Current Rig
    MOBO: ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe Wireless Edition AM2 NVIDIA nForce 590 SLI MCP ATX AMD Motherboard
    CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 6400+ Windsor 3.2GHz Socket AM2 125W Dual-Core Processor ADX6400CZBOX
    RAM: OCZ Reaper HPC Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel
    GPU: nVidia GeForce GTX 260



    That is the exact motherboard and nearly the same CPU I had in my old build. I had the Athlon 64 5800+. Unfortunately, since that is an AM2 board, you really don't have many options on upgrading your CPU. You may be able to find an old phenom processor that's still AM2+, but I don't know that it would be worth the price. You'd probably need to get a new board/processor/ram for the money to be worth it.

    With that system, I would probably upgrade the GPU to a 560 Ti or maybe a GTX 660. The CPU is going to bottleneck those cards a bit, but you'll still see a nice improvement over the current GPU.

    After that, you're starting to look at needing a new system. Good luck!
  3. Thanks for the tips, I actually did not even think about doing that which is why I posted here. I am at work atm but I will make those tests when I get home. You are correct that this is primarily a gaming pc.

    I am curious though, mostly because I have done a poor job of keeping up with it, is the price point really good now with Intel vs AMD? I remember at one point even though the higher end Intel CPU's were getting better marks then AMD counter-parts that the price point of AMD made them a better option for cost concious shoppers.
  4. In the latest tom's best gaming cpu's for the money, there are no clear winners from amd, only one tie.
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-review-overclock,3106.html

    For more on budget<$200 gaming cpu's, read this article:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-fx-pentium-apu-benchmark,3120.html
  5. I see what you mean with all that, taking your suggestion on CPU which of these seems like a better choice $ for performance wise on Motherboard...

    ASRock Z75 Pro3 or ASRock Z77 Extreme4
  6. I would pick a Z77 based motherboard to leave open the possibility of installing a "K" suffix 2500K or 3570K either now or in the future.
    It should cost no more. Perhaps this ASRock Z77 Pro3 @$89 :
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157297
  7. Grossmond said:


    You linked to the Z75 motherboard, not the Z77 motherboard.
  8. You are correct, thankfully it is the Z77 that I actually have saved on NewEgg so at least I wasn't completely off my rocker in what I was looking at. Must have been clicking on the wrong tab when I was linking stuff. Just as a thought how would going this Intel route stack up to going with an AMD setup like...

    MOBO: ASUS M5A97 LE R2.0 AM3+ AMD 970 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
    CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ965FBGMBOX
    RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBRL

    I know I don't have any ram listed with the Intel options but I am sure finding some would be the easy part.
  9. Grossmond said:
    You are correct, thankfully it is the Z77 that I actually have saved on NewEgg so at least I wasn't completely off my rocker in what I was looking at. Must have been clicking on the wrong tab when I was linking stuff. Just as a thought how would going this Intel route stack up to going with an AMD setup like...

    MOBO: ASUS M5A97 LE R2.0 AM3+ AMD 970 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
    CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ965FBGMBOX
    RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBRL

    I know I don't have any ram listed with the Intel options but I am sure finding some would be the easy part.


    X4 965 is a bit old in the tooth, and not as effective as current intel chips.
    You might want to read this article:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-fx-pentium-apu-benchmark,3120.html

    With Intel, there is minimal value in real app performance from ram faster than 1600.(AMD performance depends on fast ram) I would look for a 8gb kit of 2 x 4gb DDR3 1600 low profile ram.
    Any of the major vendors are good. I have used G.skil, Patriot, Corsair, Kingston to name a few.
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