May 11, 2009
A couple of years ago, I built a computer that I've been pretty happy with. It has 4 gigs of RAM, a 3.2 processor and a 1 GB vidio card. (Exact stats attached to the end of the post). I've subsequently added a 60 GB SSD to improve boot time/everyday computing tasks.

Bearing in mind that I use this computer for gaming/media consumption, what would the most cost-effective upgrade path be? Thanks for any advice.

Exact Stats

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-MA790XT-UD4P AM3 DDR3 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard

Video Card: HIS Hightech H489F1GP Radeon HD 4890 1GB 256-bit PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card

RAM: Patriot Viper 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model PVS34G1600LLKN

Optical Drive: Sony Optiarc 24X DVD/CD Rewritable Drive Black SATA Model AD-7240S-0B - OEM

Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive - OEM

Solid State Hard Drive: OCZ Vertex Turbo OCZSSD2-1VTXT60G 2.5

Processor: AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor Model HDZ955FBGIBOX

Power Supply: Corsair CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7

Case: COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case


Your most obvious upgrade option is a new graphics card if the PC is being used for gaming. You have a solid PSU and 650w will support anything up to GTX 580 or ATI 6970.

A few popular card choices, depending on budget of course, include: 6870, 6950, GTX 560Ti, 6970.

Following a GPU upgrade, your next path really is an AM3+ motherboard along with a new CPU (probably BullDozer). However at the present time is fairly unnecessary since your 955 will already provide good gaming performance and wont bottleneck your GPU. If you ever decide to purchase a new motherboard and CPU, a switch to Intel could be done here if required as well. Its yet unknown which company will provide the best performance with Ivybridge and BullDozer in the not-so-distant future.

Another 4GB RAM might also be a worthwhile upgrade, especially as RAM is very reasonably priced these days.



Feb 27, 2011