I'm looking to upgrade my PC, but can't really justify spending a great deal. The hope is that a replacement motherboard and processor will enable me to play a lot more games than I can now, even if I won't be able to play new high-end games. For example, my current setup can't load up Space Marine or Orcs Must Die! at all. I'm hoping a new machine will open up to me most of the games that have been released over the last few years. *Ideally*, the resulting system would be relatively easy to upgrade further in the future (say, 5 years time) if I so wished.
My current setup (been running this for about 8 years I think):
Motherboard: ASUS A8N-E
Processor: AMD Athlon 3200+ 2ghz
GFX Card: NVIDEA GeForce 8600GT
RAM: 2GB (DDR I think)
PSU: 500W (W0093 TR2-500W)
Monitor: Lenovo 9419-HC2 (19inch, native 1280 x 1024)
I'm thinking about a new motherboard and processor. I was originally hoping to spend no more than £50, but after some looking around I'm thinking that £80-£90 is more likely. (Anything more than £150 is totally out of the question, and anything above £100 will need good justification.)
I've had mixed reports reading around: the Intel seems to perform better on benchmark tests, but some seem to suggest that the AMD would be better for gaming because it has an inbuilt graphics card. Is that right? I confess graphics cards in processors is new to me - does it replace, or work with, other graphics cards? Would I just chuck my NVIDEA out? Could I easily get a distinct and better card at a later date if I wanted to upgrade the computer further?
Then, regarding the motherboard: Again, some have built in graphics cards, so far as I can see, but I *think* there's not much benefit for me having one - is that right? My case is for an ATX board, but looking around, I see there are many more micro-ATX cards than ATX. Would I be better off going micro and replacing the case as well? (Either on total cost or performance. My current case otherwise doesn't need replacing.)
More generally, I can see a lot of motherboards in the £50-£60 range - I was hoping for cheaper, but can pay this amount if necessary. But I'm finding it hard to see what I ought to go for. Any suggestions? As I say above, ideally I'd get a card that would enable me to upgrade further (processor / GFX) in future if necessary.
Looking back over that, I suspect I might be hoping for too much. But any help is very much appreciated.