Best upgrade with monitor for $400

By ¼ of a hotdog · 35 replies
Mar 25, 2009
  1. I have been given $400 for an upgrade but I want to make sure I’m getting the best parts for the money. Unlike when I built this rig and didn’t know what I was doing.

    Required parts
    Power supply
    Graphics card (the 4830 looks great for the price)
    CPU (I want to get and amd callisto when they come out. So any idea when they will come out?)
    Monitor (I’m willing to settle for a 19 or 20 inch monitor)

    Things I want but might be able to do without
    RAM (Because even though it’s all supposed to be Wintec ampx half is from aeneon with an ampx heat spreader on it!)
    CPU heatsink (what would be the cheapest I could get away with

    All of my system specs should be on my profile and I have updated my bios for an am2+ or am3 CPU.
    I can probably go a little bit over $400

    Would these be good or could I do better
    Graphics card:
    Ram :
    CPU: AMD callisto if possible.
    PSU: I really don’t know what to get.
    Monitor: I am really not sure about this ether but I think these seem nice.,N82E16824160034,N82E16824009127&bop=And

    Any idea of when in Q2 the callisto will come out and if it will really be under $100?
    Should I wait for the callisto or should I get a 7750 kumma instead?
    If not how much of a performance difference would I see with the kumma?
    Would the graphics card be compatible to use my Accelero s1 rev2?
    Is there anything else I need?

    Current system specs
    OS: Vista 64bit home basic
    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-M57SLI-S4 rev 2.0
    PSU: hec orion hp585d 585w it was only $20 so it’s probably not to great
    Sound card: Audigy se
    Ram: 2gb of aeneon ddr2 800 with wintec ampx heat spreaders and 2gb of actual wintec ampx ddr2 800.
    CPU: amd athlon 5600+ Windsor 2.8ghz x2 2mb l2cache
    Graphics card: 8600gt its xfx if it matters.
    Case: thermal take armor jr
  2. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,036   +2,558

    This Gskill is on sale for the time being. It will run fine a 800Mhz
    If you decide it'll do the job, better grab it quick.

    It will also POST and run fine at 1066Mhz. I'm using it with an E7300 / P45 rig.

    The OCZ memory looks like a good choice also. It depends what OS you're going to use. If 32 Bit XP, I'd go with the 2GB kits though.

    The choice of a monitor is not as difficult as it used. I'm sort of the opinion that they're all pretty good and they're all pretty much the same. Shoot for $130.00 to $150.00 for a 20".

    Personally I very strongly advise against either a 19" or 20" in wide screen! They're too short. A 19" won't even display an 8 X 10" photo full height, in portrait orientation.
    22" is the sweet spot and one should set you back $150.00 to $190.00. I had two 19" wide screens, sold one, returned the other. My total time of ownership for both, about 3 weeks..
  3. ¼ of a hotdog

    ¼ of a hotdog TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 188


    That made me realize I never put down that my OS was 64bit on my profile so thanks and i will ad my current specs to the post.

    Thanks for the advice about the monitors. Would a 4830 be able to handle this and is it any good?
  4. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    For gaming, the graphics card will, by far, give you the most performance per dollar, however, you might need a new powersupply. The 4830 you posted and the OCZ RAM is good, but RAM won't give you as noticable a difference.

    Your CPU and cooler is probably fine.

    The The ASUS VW192T+ 19" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor - Retail looks good at 19" and $120, but TBH I don't know much about monitors.
  5. redk

    redk TS Rookie Posts: 91

  6. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    Unfortunately, the Callisto CPUs are due in May. Your Windsor is a pretty decent chip though, and will easily hit 3GHz+ with a decent CPU cooler like the Xigmatek HDT-S1283. You can get an X3 710 or the X3 720 BE now if you want though, and they are fantastic performers for the price.

    As for the other parts, these are what I suggest:
  7. ¼ of a hotdog

    ¼ of a hotdog TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 188

    So I have 2 gigs of Aeneon and 2 gigs of actual Wintec and I cannot run it in dual channel. Since we’re on the subject would dual channel be worth the extra money? thanks for the help!

    Well at least now i know when they are cumming out now. I'm glad to hear my CPU is alright! I had always though that it would be terrible for overclocking. Would it be better to get the cooler or dual channel ram Though?

    Thanks everyone!!!
  8. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    I do not see the need for new RAM, but I recommend the cooler since it will also be compatible with any CPU you use down the road.

    Also, you may want to consider keeping your current 8600GT for use as a PhysX card.
  9. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,036   +2,558

    I've never heard of "Synaps" monitors. I suspect if you had the UL Labs #, it's likely Funai Electronics. At least Funai is a good guess.They make everybody's house brand stuff.

    I'm stickin' to my guns here, and I still think a 22" is way more satisfying than anything smaller. Unless you're going to watch movies a standard 19" has more screen >>area<< than a 19" WS. A decent graphics card will put up great FPS numbers at that size, just something to think about.

    For low priced monitors Hanns-G seems really well accepted. This is this years model of their 22" WS. The specs indicate a wider viewing angle (170 H, 170 V), than last year's product. Being a cynic, to me that means they're just lying harder, But maybe it will do that, who knows? Anyway, lotsa' people buy these, and they seem quite happy with them.

    Rage would know better than I about whether the video card you have in mind will be adequate @ 1680 x 1050. My best guess is yes, and you also might be able to run @ 1440 X 900 if your FPS slow too much at the higher rez. Here again, ask Rage.

    I have good news and bad news. The recent crop of (everybody's) monitors all have TN panels. That's the biggest reason why the prices have fallen so dramatically. I guess you could say that they're all pretty much low end. The good news is, that you still might be able to find an MVA panel, assuming you have $400.00 or so to spend for the monitor alone. Look for the 178 X 178 viewing angle, it's a dead giveaway for MVA.
  10. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    1680x1050 will not be a problem for the HD 4850. At 1440x900, you can expect to turn on AA and still get smooth performance. The HD 4830 will take a noticeable hit at the higher resolutions, but performance at lower ones like 1440x900 will more or less be close to the HD 4850 most of the time.
  11. klepto12

    klepto12 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,115   +9

    try this monitor
    ram if you really want to upgrade yours-
    video card-
    the reason for the 9800gtx+ is the rebate and they get slightly better fps in games not to mention they overclock better than 4850s do. the total is a little over $369 thats without shipping. also i would not change the cpu you have for the 7750 its not really worth it like rage said just overclock it and call it a day.
  12. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,036   +2,558

  13. Whiffen

    Whiffen TS Rookie Posts: 235

    I like my Samsung SyncMaster 2253BW.

    You can find that 22" 2ms (GTG) 8000:1 monitor for about 200$

    Then a card like a 4830, 4850 sounds good but you would probably need a new PSU.
  14. ¼ of a hotdog

    ¼ of a hotdog TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 188

    Is this monitor any good its only $150 after a promo code.

    Should i get the 4850 and the antec power supply rage suggested?

    Or should i get the 9800 gtx+ klepto suggested and the bfg tech power supply redk suggested?

    The amperage looks a little better on the bfg tech and it has 2 pcie connectors but it does not say 80 plus certified and it’s oem.

    How difficult would it be to replace the stock heatsinks on those cards with my accelero s1??
  15. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,036   +2,558

  16. redk

    redk TS Rookie Posts: 91

    It's an okay screen, my ex had one, and it looks fine and all, it's just not that bright. The Samsung and LG's are a lot better, but they're also more expensive.
  17. Technochicken

    Technochicken TechSpot Paladin Posts: 729

  18. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    Well I would go with the Antec powersupply no matter what, and in my opinion, the 4850 or 4830 is better. Though i would go with the Saphire card out of personal preference and price.
  19. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,036   +2,558

  20. klepto12

    klepto12 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,115   +9

    i still stand behind the video card i suggested its and xfx which has the best warranty in the business and with the rebate its cheaper than the 4850 and performs better just pick up the 9800 and a good psu and you should be good. also samsung in my opinion makes the best monitors hands down.
  21. Technochicken

    Technochicken TechSpot Paladin Posts: 729

    Sorry about that, I seem to have misread the price tag. :eek:
  22. ¼ of a hotdog

    ¼ of a hotdog TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 188

    Ok I think I will go with the 9800gtx+ then unless someone can bring up a reason to get the 4850 instead.

    Do I need a power supply with 2 6 pin connectors or would the 2 4 pin to 1 6 pin adaptor the card comes with work? The page says the card needs at least 450 watts but is that antec power supply efficient enough to make up for it?

    Current upgrade list
    graphics card:
    CPU cooler:
    psu:I still need help with that though I think the 550 watt bfg tech one looks good but I don't know much about power supplies.
  23. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    The 4850 is really beneficial if you have an Intel chipset supporting Crossfire. Also, driver support for it is far better than from NVIDIA, who have already replaced the 9800GTX+ with their "new" GTS 250, which is actually the same card with more VRAM on it.

    However, since you have an SLI motherboard, an NVIDIA card would give you the opportunity to go dual-card later.

    But I would suggest going for an Antec Earthwatts EA500 or the BFG LS-550 instead of the GS-550, which is a lower-end PSU (compared to the others; it is still better than a LOT of the PSUs out there) I do not recommend for a gaming system.
  24. klepto12

    klepto12 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,115   +9

    why not spend an extra $20 and get the samsung monitor it will be worth the extra money because its a better monitor.
  25. ¼ of a hotdog

    ¼ of a hotdog TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 188

    Umm I'm really confused about the cards but I guess I’ll go with the 4850 because they decided to change the 9800gtx+'s price last night. Now the xfx 9800gtx+ is more expensive than their gts250!

    I think I will go with the BFG LS550 because it has a $20 mail in rebate.

    How noticeable would the difference be and the acer its $40 cheaper than the Samsung after a promo code.
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