So I see games like BF2040 and Crysis coming just around the corner and I look at my once mighty gaming rig and think: "Ah hell.. I need to upgrade.. AGAIN..". Below I will provide my current specs and perhaps someone can help me sort out some upgrade issues (questions to follow ) because its been a while since I researched this kind of info.
ATX Case (still in working order)
400 Watt ANTEC Truepower powersupply (newish)
AMD XP 3200+ Processor (actually a 2500 Barton overclocked)
ASUS A7N8X Ultra Motherboard
2x256 MB DDR Ram & 1 x 512 MB DDR Ram (total of 1GB runing in Dual Channel mode) running at CL2.5 OC'd.
ATI X850 PRO 256MB overclocked to be a X850 XTPE w/ slightly lower mem/core freequencies.
160GB WD 8MB IDE Hard Disk 7200RPM
LG CD/DVD 52X/16X Burner
Windows XP Pro
.. this thing runs BF2 on medium settings without any issues, NFS Most Wanted on high without issues.. etc. But i'm pretty sure Crysis and BF2040 will choke unless I run on ultra-low.
My questions are:
1) What can I keep when I go to the new system? Is there a good motherboard that will let me use my AGP card for a while and then allow me to switch over to a PCIE card when the time comes? I realise this would forfeit SLI options but I doubt I can afford 2 cards anyhow.
2) What is a cost effective but powerful Processor/Motherboard combo these days? When I set my system up the Barton 2500 was THE chip to get because of its overclockability. Anything similar now? Should I be looking at Dual core intel?
3) Can I keep my PC 3200 DDR memory? Its Kingston.. its pretty decent.
4) Is the standard ATX case still ok or do I need a newer format (I have forgotten the name offhand).
5) Do I need to switch to a Serial based hard disk or do the new motherboards still have IDE plugs as well?
What I would say is you should do a full upgrade. Now I know that this will be costly since you will have to get a new cpu motherboard and gpu but really there is no way around it unless you want to jip your self on one of the components. I would say that the new core 2 duo is one of the best buys out there. I my self dislike intel though and would get a 4200+ X2 since it is a good price to proformance. But if you are looking for the best I would go with the core 2 duo or wait (but waiting never really works unless you want to save up) for the 65nm processors. Now for the ram I would get the best 2gigs you can afford with low timings and 800mghz DDR2. The graphics card I would get the 7900gt right now since its the best bang for you buck. If you want to get the 7600gt thought thats a great buy with less power but still great bang for you buck but you might have to upgrade in a year or two if you want to play the games that will be coming out then where the 7900gt might last you longer but it is a 100 dollar price diffrice or so. So really its up to you but I have never seen any AGP and PCI express Motherboards around and really I don't think there would be any reason to make such a board unless you talking about a very small nitch market of upgrading.
Anyway I hope that helps you out a little bit. All in all an upgrade will cost you 700 to 1k if you want to play the new games with all the power the game will let you have.
As a side note Im personly waiting for the 65nm processor from AMD since I want to see what kinda battle will be happening between the nex gen processors and I have to wait for my taxes to upgrade anyway. My comp can still kinda run games that are newer but its getting really old and yours would take mine to the cleaners even before you upgrade.