upgrade: CPU, RAM or Video Card?

I'm trying what to spend my limited $$ on for an upgrade, to get the most bang for my buck. Here's my current setup:
Asus A7N8X Deluxe
Athlon XP 1700+ @ 145mhz x 11 = 1595mhz
Thermalright SK-7 w/ 8cm Atlas fan
2x256mb Samsung PC3200 CAS3 (3-5-5-12) RAM Dual Channel
Visiontek Geforce3 Ti200 64mb, o/c 210/450
80GB Maxtor 7200rpm 8mb cache HD ATA133

I'm trying to decide b/w $125 for Athlon XP 2500+ (333mhz fsb) Barton, or $160 for ATI Radeon 9500 PRO oem, or $110 for 2x256mb OCZ PC2700 rev3.2 CAS2.

Seems the RAM won't be much use w/o the Barton CPU, so I'd have to do the CPU first. I'm thinking the Radeon would be my most beneficial upgrade, but it would only help games whereas the CPU and RAM would speed up everything, and I do only limited gaming anymore, mostly occassional BF1942. But I'm might lug my system to a few lan parties soon.

Thanks for your opinions guys,
5 answers Last reply
More about upgrade video card
  1. Firstly Run your ram sync so at 145Mhz it will be underclocked and you should be able to run it at much faster timings (e.g 2-2-2-5). Also, if that processor is a Tbred B, try and overclock it further, if it isnt dont worry because it is still plenty fast enough. The graphics card is your main bottleneck atm. I would spend the money on a R9500 Pro and then follow the RAM suggestion above - you wont get any perfor,ance from running it async so you might as well run it with fast timings at 145Mhz.

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  2. oo thats a tough one...

    honestly i cant tell you. upgrading your video card to a Radeon9500pro or TI4200 would give you a very noticeable framerate increase, but then so would getting another 256m of ram and/or a 2500+

    i guess you have to ask yourself : is this only for games.

    if it is then personally i would buy a video card, if not then i would get the 2500+ AND ram. but hey like i said personally this is kinda iffy for me, so take my post as mere suddgestions

    oh yeah, do what he said about your Tbird. if its a B version, overclock the hell outta that biotch! ;D
    some people are overclocking 1700+ Bs to like, 2.2ghz which is the equivilant of a 2800+ !! incredible cpu's really


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  3. Close one, but I think the 9500 PRO will gve you the bigger short-term boost, especially if you plan to use FSAA.

    The 9500 PRO is vastly superior to a GF3 if you use image quality features.
    The Athlon 2500+ is a nice speed bump, but that's all.

    Still, a 2500+ would be a great investment in the future when you can afford it...

    - Cleeve
  4. 9500 pro (or 9600 pro if you can't find the 95)
    and run that ram synchronously so you can get better timings

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  5. no phial, upgrading his ram would give him VERY little increase in performance, he already has 512mb. new ram could do faster timings, but its not gonna make that big a diff. the cpu would give him a nice increase, esp. when ocd, but not as much as a vid card.

    get a vid card, best you can/want to get, then upgrade cpu, then ram.

    Long live ATI.
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