Upgrading an old system - worth it?

So I have a A64 3200(754), 2 GB Ram, 6800 GT system I built almost three years ago. My current monitor maxes out at 1280x1024 resolution so it’s not like I need a beast to run new games, but this config couldn’t quite handle Bioshock so I went the 360 route. I was planning on building a new system this fall, but that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. So now I’m wondering if there is a reasonable upgrade to this thing given a budget of $500 or so.

What I’ve come up with is putting in a Radeon X1950 Pro, which is apparently the best AGP card out there. So that would cost about $160 on Newegg, but it would also require another $100 for a power supply upgrade (only running an Antec 380 right now, need at least a 450). So let’s say it’s $300 for both plus tax, which I can afford.

Another option is that the cheap AMD X2 systems are in the $500 range so maybe I should go that route. However, I’m worried about where AMD is going with multicore and right now it seems like Intel is the way to go. If I go this route I would have to come up with RAM, Power supply, motherboard, CPU, and video card as I could use my current case, etc.

Any advice?

I would have to say no, it isn’t worth it. Wait for Penryn or Nehalem, and a new wave of graphics cards and build yourself a Vista box.

If you already had a PCI express video card and a PSU that would work with a newer motherboard/PCIe/etc my answer would be different.


The cheapest I’m thinking for a decent speed increase for the money if you have to do it right now would be:

Gigabyte P35 non-SLI Motherboard $95
Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 $202
A-DATA 2GB RAM DDR2 800 $90
Nvidia 8800 GTS Overclocked 320MB $280
SeaSonic 700W 85% efficiency, modular cables, 120mm fan, 2x 6+2 PCIe PSU $200

Total: $867

Throw in a new HD optionally for $200 more (WD 750GB SATA2 16MB)

You could go cheaper on the PSU but that one works with newer video cards without adapters and you can add a boat-load of hard drives and fans if you wanted.

Start over man, I was in the same boat as you with a little slower processor and wound up getting a whole new system. In order to get a decent processor you’ll need a new mobo, and from there you’ve got SATA, DDR2, and PCI-E capabilities to take advanatge of the current hardware that’s pretty reasonably priced.

I price out an X2 based system and that makes it clear upgrading the current box makes no sense, but is the X2 a good direction? I could build a X2 4200+ based system for $400 based on Newegg.

No, I have an X2 4400+ and I wouldn’t recommend upgrading to something the same at all, especially not for 400 bones. My recommendation is to save up your money and buy later; your new system will last a lot longer and you will be a lot happier with the performance in Crysis.

I went to my local Fry’s and they are running a combo where you get a E6550 Core Duo with an ECS MB (633T-M2) for $80 off, so $200 for the combo. The MB supports Quad Core making it a good upgrade board, but Newegg has no customer comments on that model and other ECS boards have mixed comments. A 500W Antec power supply plus 2 gigs RAM plus a 7600 GT GPU and I’m still below $500.

Seems like it would run fine and give me plenty of flexibility to go quad core and a better GPU down the road.

What do you think?

I grabbed one of those combos a few months back (ECS MB + Core Duo) from Fry’s, plus a 500W power supply and 2gb of RAM, and I’ve not had a single problem with it. I’m running Bioshock, Vista32, Stalker, etc and I can count the number of crashes on one hand (most of them I blame on Stalker, to be honest).

I’ll never buy from Fry’s again (I did a price check after the fact and I could’ve gotten everything cheaper from Newegg) but I wanted to get the gear immediately so it was worth the extra money.

I checked the price when I got home and Newegg can’t come close. They’re individual prices are better but the combo is still $50 less at Fry’s. It’s damn tempting.

From what I’ve seen Fry’s will take practically anything back as a return. Even if Newegg does the same thing, that’s gotta be more hassle as long as you live reasonably close to Fry’s. So that’s at least one point in Fry’s favor.

If you’re looking for an interim upgrade, I would vote go with the X1950 Pro: it’s a significant improvement over the 6800GT; and your PS is most likely beefy enough to run it, as the X1950 Pro only consumes a little more power than the 6800GT does. [The “minimum wattage ratings” for video cards are guidelines, not set-in-stone requirements.]

Naturally, long-term you’re better off with a new system, but as you’ve discovered you’ll have to start from scratch. The X1950 Pro is a relatively cheap upgrade which will help you get by `til you can afford a brand-new system. You can check out some benchmarks here to see if it’s enough of a speed boost.