Current system: Gigabyte MA790X-UD4P AMD Athlon II X3 425 @ 3.4gHz 4GB (2x2GB) G.Skill PC2-8000 @ 1050mHz MSI Nvidia GTX260 SP216 @ 650mHz/1100mHz The system runs well enough in any games I play, but I can see it starting to age. These are a few of my concerns: - Having no SATAIII support on the MoBo is what has kept me from picking up an SSD (along with the steady decline in prices) but my WD 300GB Velociraptor RAID 0 keeps me satisfied. - Lacking the 4th core on my CPU, as well as the L3 cache, is starting to become noticeable during multi-tasking or high-stress situations. My MoBo is capable of unlocking the 4th core in my CPU, but I had nothing but instability when attempting to do so. - The overclocked 260 is still pretty powerful... I honestly have no complaints about it's capabilities aside the fact that it isn't a DX11 card - and I know I'm 'missing out' on some eyecandy in current games like Battlefield 3, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, Metro 2033, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and the upcoming MechWarrior Online. Taking all that into consideration I came up with 4 distinct upgrade 'packages' all conforming to the same budget. So here's what I had in mind... Option 1: Newegg currently has an ASRock 970 Extreme3 motherboard for $67.49 - plus I would need to pick up some DDR3 (being that my current MB only supports DDR2) - I decided on a set of 2x4GB CL8 PC3-12800 by Mushkin for $54.99. Having 8GB means I could use the proprietary ASRock XRam software to set up a RAM Drive. Also with this new motherboard I set myself up for future AM3+ CPUs and the option to pick up an SSD to make full use of the onboard SATAIII controller. The question is; is this the time to take a step toward 'future' upgrades? Or would I simply be better off waiting? Total: $122.48 Option 2: Bite the bullet and pick up an SSD + internal card for SATA III support. Choosing a reasonably priced mid-range SSD like the Mushkin Chronos 120GB @ Newegg for $92.99 and a Highpoint PCIe SATA III card for $18.99. That $18.99 is essentially a throw-away whenever I do decide to upgrade the MB, but for the time-being it would let me have a peace of mind installing my OS on the SSD and not worrying if today is the day my RAID fails. Total: $111.98 Option 3: As much as I'd like to spend the extra money to get a video card I know for certain will be a major upgrade over my 260... (I'm looking at you, 560TI) it's just not in the budget. So I could just... wait, or maybe watch eBay like a hawk until I'm able to pick up a used card under $150 or... avoid driving myself crazy and just look into all the flavors of GTX460 there are out there. In my initial searches for deals I've come across a few of the more impressive variants like SOC and FTW around $120... but without being ready to commit to a miniscule upgrade - one that admittingly wouldn't be for the long-term - I'm not so sure I'd be comfortable pricing one specifically. On the other hand, I know I could go with a 6850/6870 from AMD (losing the PhysX support) in the same price range, if not cheaper. Total: $100-120 Option 4: Tiger Direct has a sale on the AMD 965BE for $89.99 - I could jump on that in the next day or so, and start with a CPU that's +1 core, +6MB L3 on my current CPU.. then OC it the extra 400-600mHz. Alternatively, I have an option to buy a NIB AMD 960T for $95... which may or may not have the same OC potential + extra cores. More of a gamble - but also not strictly time-sensitive such as the case with the TD sale. Both of these come in well under the ~$125 budget, so I could spend the extra on some fancy new thermal paste and a pizza for benchmark day. Total: $90-95 So, what would you do?