Advice on Upgrading my old gaming rig

drharris

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May 22, 2009
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Ok, so probably 4-5 years ago or so, I built a gaming computer using some of the best products out there. Of course, now it's obsolete and worth next to nothing. I've since stopped excessive gaming and switched to Mac, but I want to break my system back out and at least get a few modern games on it, without breaking the bank. Only problem is I don't have a lot of money, and I've stopped paying attention to PC components the past 5 years. I started by wanting to upgrade the RAM, but since it's DDR1, I'm not sure that it will be the best investment.

If someone (or several) can give me advice on which components I should upgrade in which order, that would be great. I don't need anything extreme, just something that will play old RTS games, a few modern shooters, nothing too fancy. I just want it to run solid, have good upgrade-ability, and decent performance in gaming.

Current components:
Case: Thermaltake Tsunami Dream (liveable, as long as it will fit whatever new mobo I get)
PSU: Enermax EG701P-VE 600W (probably still usable for any modern basic system, right?)
Mobo: MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum
CPU: AMD Athlon 64 3500+ (socket 939)
Memory: Corsair 2x512MB (2-2-2-5 timing)
Video: eVGA NVidia GeForce 6800+ (AGP)
Storage: WD Raptor 70GB (10k rpm)
Sound: Creative Audigy2 Platinum Pro (likely still usable even though there are driver issues with modern Windows)
Peripherals: some tower cooler for cpu, dvd-rw, floppy, an extra case fan.

So, I'm thinking I'll need a new Mobo/CPU/RAM/cooler at a minimum. If the Mobo has good onboard video, I'll accept that, but will also go with a new graphics card. In fact, if the motherboard is good enough to hold me over a few months, even better; I can upgrade in smaller steps. I'm open to either AMD or Intel, but I'll be running Win7, which I hear Intel is better for (not sure if that's more FUD).

I think the case, psu, sound, peripherals, and storage are salvageable (I'll buy a second HD for more storage space, or break down an old external drive). The cheaper the better, but I'd rather pay a few extra bucks for something that will help me upgrade. I don't want another situation like this where s939 is obsolete so I have to start from scratch again.

TIA!
 

drharris

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May 22, 2009
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I should also mention, if there are components you think I should have to modernize my computer a bit more, I'm open to that too... things like HD capture cards to allow it to function as a DVR, blu-ray players, etc. Open to any suggestions; may not get it in the first upgrade iteration, but perhaps a few months from now.

Thanks again!
 

dokk2

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Jul 1, 2007
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Consider the following or at least as a starting point mobo ,,Gigabyte GA-MA-790FX-UD5P will take AM2,AM2+,,and AM3 cpu's,,works fine with DDR2 ram,as for the video well almost any card at $200.00 plus will do just fine,your choice..
I am not in any hurry to put win7 anywhere near my system,other than ms's directx,, there is no real reason,but then everybody will make their own choice as always
 
^ The Gigabyte GA-MA-790FX-UD5P is a good choice but is expensive too and he would have to buy the graphics card as it doesn't have onboard video...
So the better option would be the 790GX board as it has a powerful onboard video and is certainly more powerful than that 6800+ of yours...
But if you want a cheaper alternative, then the 780G mobos are also a very good option...

CPU -
Cheap yet powerful -
AMD Athlon 64 X2 7750

Costly and very powerful -
AMD Phenom II X3 720

Mobo -
Costly but powerful onboard graphics -
GIGABYTE GA-MA790GP-UD4H

Comparatively cheaper and has decent onboard graphics
ASRock A780GMH/128M
ASUS M3A78-EM

RAM - 2X2GB kit
 

drharris

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May 22, 2009
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So, are people seeing a noticeable difference with the triple cores? I'm guessing the theory is that since many modern apps are written for multiple cores, that the OS uses the 3rd core, leaving CPU time to applications? Does that play out well in reality?

I really like that GA-MA790GP-UD4H board... I could probably sell my sound card considering that onboard! The graphics looks solid, at least much better than my current card. I could always add a better card later. That X3 720 is probably in my budget range, as is the Gigabyte, plus a few gigs of RAM. I should be able to get it all for not much more than $300 and wind up with a pretty decent system.

How is the stock cooler on those Phenom IIs? Would I need a 3rd-party, or is it sufficient? (I will not be overclocking this system)

One more question... the Gigabyte specs say that it will support 1200MHz DDR2, but it depends on the CPU being used. How do you determine if the CPU will support that speed? Or is it saying that because the old AM2+ bus couldn't support those speeds, but AM3 will?
 
Yes you are correct...the current apps(most of them) and games use the additional cores better now...
And yes that board has 7.1Ch onboard sound and the onboaard graphics is very powerful...
As for the stock cooler, as you wont be overclocking, the stock would be suffice...But do apply aftermarket thermal paste to get better results...

And for your question about the DDR2 support, AM3 CPUs can support upto 1200 MHz speed and AM2+ CPUs can support upto DDR2 1066MHz speed...
So check the socket type of the CPU, and it will give you the info whether it is an AM3/ AM2+...
And the X3 73 is an AM3 CPU...