The computer I currently have has gone through a series of upgrades since I first purchased it back in 2003. The very first upgrade I made was to its RAM by adding a gig to its original 256MB. Next I added a video card since the Intel integrated graphics was so lousy, and eventually I added a cooling fan, a hard-drive for backup, a second monitor, etc.
Come January 2007 I plan on building a whole new computer from scratch, one that can take advantage of everything Windows Vista promises to deliver. In the meantime, however, I want to make some upgrades to my current system-- nothing extravagant since I'll be buying a whole new machine in seven months, but there are some things I'd like to do right away to make my current rig better.
Any advice and/or recommendations would be totally appreciated! By the way, check out my profile to see my current comp's stats.
1.) Hard drive. I currently have two 80gig drives, one that came with the machine (by Maxtor) and one I added about a year ago for backup (by WD). 80gigs isn't what it used to be and I'm thinking of chucking the Maxtor and replacing it with a SATA drive of some sort... something fast, quiet, and cool. Oh, and big, of course. I'd keep the WD drive to backup important data. The drive I'm looking at right now is a WD Caviar SE16 320GB (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16822136003
2.) Sound card. Here is where I need the most help. I know absolutely nothing about sound cards, and have never much cared about them, either. However, I've grown increasingly annoyed with my current integrated sound since it doesn't support digital surround sound (or so I've been told). I would like to upgrade my speakers but before I can I need a new sound card. I don't want anything too fancy, though-- just a decent card with a good price-point that can support surround sound. I have plenty of open PCI slots, so is there anything anyone out there can reccommend?
3.) Graphics card. I have a 4x/8x AGP port that's currently filled with an ATI Radeon 9600 card. The card is a huge improvement over the Intel Integrated Graphics that came on my mobo but I've finally decided that I need something better. Unfortunately there's no PCI express slot on my mobo, so I'm stuck with AGP. I'm currently looking at the ATI Radeon X800XT card (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814102492
). Basically I want a card that can support two monitors (duh) and play graphics-intensive games like Oblivion well. Any extra bells and whistles are fine, but I don't want to spend too much extra money on a card that delivers bleep I don't really need or want (like TV-tuning, etc).
Thanks again for taking the time to read this post... as I said before, any reccommendations or advice would be totally appreciated.