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The $200 Upgrade

Is Your PC Ready for a System Update?
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Our simple upgrade consists of the dual core Athlon 64 X2 4200+ processor, which will give you a second processing core, and a new hard drive. Our selection is a Barracuda 7200.10 SATA at 500 GB, because it is very affordable at slightly above $100. The processor currently starts at approximately $100 as well.

If you feel that 250 GB is still enough, you can certainly drop the hard drive and only exchange the processor. This upgrade doesn't touch the graphics card, so you will still be running on the Radeon X850XT.

Going for this option makes sense for anyone who simply wants to keep working with her or his computer, until the time for an entirely new PC comes in the next 12 to 24 months. The dual core processor is particularly important for making the system more responsive, and to provide more performance for modern, multi-threaded applications.

The $350 Upgrade

In our $350 upgrade recommendation, we selected the same Athlon 64 X2 4200+ processor, because it provides the best bang for the buck for an older Socket 939 motherboard. We also stick to the 500 GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 hard drive, but add a GeForce 8600 GTS graphics card by Gigabyte. This particular model is based on Silent-Pipe 3 cooling, which works without any active fan. You should make sure that your computer is properly ventilated, or select another graphics card model that comes with active cooling. Any Radeon XD2600 card would be an equally suitable choice.

This upgrade option will give gamers a noticeable performance jump. The graphics card is a reasonable choice, and delivers both maximum visual quality as well as decent performance.

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