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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking at improving my PC's gaming performance, but to be honest, I'm not sure what I should be upgrading. Here are my PC's specs, what do you think I should be upgrading?:

Processor: AMD Athlon 64 3200+ (single core) 2.2ghz
Memory: 2gb DDR PC3200 400mhz
Storage: 180gb MAXTOR HDD - about 20gb free, and a spare 80gb one lying around
Graphics: Sapphire Radeon 9600 256 GPU (overclocked to 398mhz [core] and 222.75mhz [mem])

I have a limit of around £100, so I'm looking to be under this if possible.
 

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With a budget of £100 you won't be able to do a full upgrade of mobo, cpu, faster RAM and bigger hard drive. For gaming I would go for the graphics card first. Your CPU could be upgraded to a dual-core, but this would mean a new motherboard as well. Do you have PCI-e or AGP slots? Please post your mobo make/model if you need advice on a new graphics card.

Do you have the latest DirectX and drivers installed? Have you tried the Omega graphics driver for Radeon? This is a tweaked version of the official Catalyst driver aimed at gamers and can increase fps quite significantly.

Do you defrag regularly? Windows tends to slow down when the hard drive has less than 15% free space, so removing files that are not needed and defragging keeps things running smoothly.

Have you tried experimenting with the game settings? There are online tweak guides available for most games that tell you which settings are most suitable for your system, and they usually have some tweaks for the game's config file for extra performance.
 

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I defrag once a month. Yes, I'm running the Omega drivers. I'll try get hold of the mobo model. It has a single PCI-e slot though. What would be more critical? Upgrading my processor or my GPU?
 

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Upgrading just one component can be difficult as you get different advantages from different upgrades. Ideally you should do the CPU, mobo, PSU and graphics card at the same time to prevent bottlenecks. With a £100 limit, you won't be able to upgrade the CPU/mobo so the graphics card is the next best upgrade for gaming.

Example: Radeon X1950 Pro 512MB GDDR3 PCI-e £90 (580MHz core, 1400MHz memory, can easily be overclocked using ATI Tools)

Enter your full system specs into this power calculator, and add 30% to the total to allow for PSU inefficiency. Open your case and post back with the PSU make/model, total watts and amps for +12V to see if it's suitable for an upgrade.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
OK I did that PSU test, and before I did the test, I'm running below (262W, I have a 300W), but after you recommended I add 30%, I'm over... Looks like I need to add one of those to my shopping list... Is it worth spending a bit more on, say, a 600W power supply to allow for future expansion? Or just keep buying as I go along?
 

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