Should I upgrade? Help me out! $2k budget...

bnason

n00b
Joined
Jan 26, 2004
Messages
44
So, I'm trying to decide if I should upgrade now. Been playing Age of Conan and my PC just isn't cutting it. I use my PC for 90% gaming, at 1920x1200.

This is what I have now, running XP:
CPU AMD x2 4400+
Mobo Abit a8n SLI
RAM DDR2 800 chips
PSU OCZ 600W Gamestream
GPU eVGA 7800GT
Crappy case and XP
24" Samsung LCD that I'll be keeping.

Big question for me is -- should I upgrade now, or hold off for 6-10 months for Nehalem? Thinking of plunking down for a new case, 1000w PSU, 750i board, DDR2, e8400, and a 9800GXT from eVGA ready to 'step-up' to the new gpus.

And keep in mind my concerns are all about increasing gaming performance. The big question is -- how much gaming performance am I gonna' get in dumping my x2 4400+ for an E8400? Cause that upgrade -- DDR2 / E8400 / 750i -- will cost me about $500, and probably be replaced by a Nehalem upgrade in 12 months. Simple question -- will that upgrade get me a boost of 25% or more in gaming performance? If so, it's worth it to me.

I see two scenarios that I can do now:

1) Upgrade PSU / Case / Video cards now. I need to do this because a 9800GTX barely clears my drives (1/4" clearance, literally), and my 600W PSU is getting close to it's limit on a dual SLI setup.

Then, upgrade Mobo / CPU / RAM in 12 months with Nehalem.

2) Upgrade everything now. I would do this and then upgrade to Nehalem next year if the gains I'll get over the next 12 months warrant it. While I hate the idea of wasting this money, at the same time, upgrading my CPU/RAM/MOBO to an e8400 setup will only cost ~$500 ($200 chip; $150 mobo; $100 RAM). The bulk of my $1500-$2000 upgrade is really coming from the case, CPU, video card, etc. -- stuff I really should bump up.

(3) Video cards -- wanna' get a 9800GTX from EVGA for the step-up program. Or, do I go with the cheaper 8800 series in case there ARE no new cards to step-up to, or if the 4870 rocks hard.

Is it certain that new nVidia cards are coming out in the next 3 months?

Any and all questions to give me some guidance on what my best "bang for the buck" here in upgrading my PC is appreciated! :)
 

leSLIe

Fisting is Too Mainstream for Me
Joined
Oct 18, 2004
Messages
13,925
yeah sticking with a 8800 and then step up to a the new geforce cards
 

tiraides

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jan 8, 2004
Messages
11,066
Yeah, it's certain that new video cards are coming -- they're expected to start arriving around mid-June.

Besides AoC, which games are you playing?

Is there a particular reason why you're looking towards Nehalem? How many years have you had your current rig for? You'll see a noticeable improvement with the E8400 (especially overclocked, which is real easy to do) compared to the X2 4800+... and, with proper upkeep, you could keep your new rig until the next "latest-and-greatest" chipset arrives in a few years.
 

bnason

n00b
Joined
Jan 26, 2004
Messages
44
Sorry -- just 2GB RAM in my current rig, plain old ddr1.

So it sounds like the consensus is...

1) Get the e8400 chip and worry about Nehalem next year
2) Get an 8800GT now to minimize my risks this summer, as I *DO* want the top-end vid. card available. I can either sell the 8800GT if ATI takes the performance crown, or step-up to the g2 cards from nVidia.

I can do all this for $1500 or so, I think...

Case: Coolermaster cm690 ($99)
PSU: Coolermaster RealPower PRO 1000w ($250) (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817171022)
Actually not sure on the PSU -- what's a good 1000w unit you'd all recommend?
CPU: Intel Core Duo e8400 ($195)
RAM: 4gb (2x2) ($100) -- not sure brand; probably Corsair Dominator
Mobo: Either a 750i board ($200) (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131232)
or
a P35 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128059) ($100)

What would y'all do on a mobo? Was thinking I'd like the SLI option for the future; the P35 board is a lot cheaper though, and given that I plan to dump it in 12 months for a Nehalem board, I dunno'

Sound: X-Fi board ($65)
Video Card: Spend $250 on an 8800GT; but plan on $400 for the next gen. cards
Vista 64: $200
 

lamboman

Gawd
Joined
Jul 17, 2007
Messages
598
You really don't need a 1000W power supply. There are no systems, or at least very few, that actually do. An HX520 is a decent choice, and I don't think that you will need SLI. Simply upgrade to a new card when it comes to that point. A P35 board would be a nice choice and a decent overclocker. The new Asus Xonar DX is a good card, but I don't have a clue how much they cost in the US. Do some reading up on that one.
 

tiraides

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jan 8, 2004
Messages
11,066
You won't be able to transfer the E8400 or the RAM over to a Nehalem build, so you have to decide on how much you want to (really spend) now. If this rig is really going to be a holdover rig, go with the GA-EP35-DS3L motherboard.

You'll see the most in-game improvements from a video card upgrade, but a new CPU/motherboard/RAM would also help matters considerably. For maximum performance, you may want to also overclock the E8400 to speeds above 3GHz (which is really easy to do, provided you get a good HSF that can handle the heat). If you go that route, you'll want DDR2 1000 RAM, which will aid you in overclocking the E8400 properly.

You can find the RC-690 case for less than NewEgg's prices. Equip it with Yate Loon fans, which sell at various places for $4-$6 per fan.

You also don't need a 1000W power supply for your proposed setup, though you may want a 600W-750W power supply (if you could find it for under $160) that you could transfer to your Nehalem build.

But again, why are you waiting for Nehalem?
 

Dangman

Ninja Editor SuperMod
Joined
Dec 15, 2005
Messages
46,062
Yeah like Tiraides has asked twice already. why Nehalem? It's not 100% guaranteed that Nehalem will be significantly faster than Intel's current C2D CPUs.

And I concur with everyone about the 1000W PSU: You don't need it. I recommend getting this 750W PSU instead:
Corsair 750TX 750W PSU - $99

It's definitely a major stepup from that GameXStream 600W PSU you have now in terms of quality.
 
Top