A myriad of confusing options


May 13, 2007
Hey guys, I've been a THG reader for years now but only joined the forums today. Anyway, I have several questions about upgrading my PC, hope you guys can help :D

I built my computer around Sept 2003. It's got a 2.8P4 w/HT, Abit IS7 865PE motherboard (AGP), 2x512 DDR 3200 (i think), 9800 pro, 350W PSU, and 120gig western digital harddrive. As you can see, it was a decent midrange system back then, but now is getting pretty slow...to the point where I can barely run current games at the lowest settings. So I was thinking about upgrading, but I'm on a really tight budget. I have a max budget of $500-600 to upgrade, so building a new comp is unlikely. Hopefully, with the upgrade, it can last another 1-2 years with medium settings in most games. My monitor resolution is 1280 x 1024 and I don't really care about AA settings and such, having gotten used to jagged edges.

My main question is can the IS7 865PE motherboard accept a Core 2 Duo? I did some research on this but different sites had different info. If the motherboard can accept a Core 2, can it also be overclocked? I have my eyes on the 4300 which seems to overclock well. However, will my slow 3200 ram have problems with this setup?

If the motherboard can't accept a Core 2, can it at least accept a Pentium D? They offer less performance but should be ok for a while. And in this case, will my ram hold things back? I dont think the ram can be overclocked much, and it seems the 865PE only supports DDR400.

In either case, do I need to upgrade my ram to overclock?

The other half of the budget I guess will go to a 1950XT, a better psu, and cooling if needed. Someone suggested that I should just scrap most of my computer and get a cheap motherboard, a 4400, 2gig ram, and a 320mb GTS. Would you guys recommend that? And if so, what cheap motherboard/CPU/PSU would allow me to overclock the most?

Thanks a bunch for reading this! Hope someone can help.


Oct 14, 2006


Jan 31, 2006
On a tight budget an AMD AM2 would be worth looking at given how inexpensive they are. If you haven't done so, check out the recent build article on tomshardware