Graphics card for light gamer...

This Christmas I plan on getting my sister a graphics card for her HP machine (1-2 year old, HP Pavillion Media Center, AMD 4200X2, 2GB RAM, nothing flashy...). She likes to play the Sims 2 and has high expectations for the Sims 3. Money is not a problem for me; however, given the fact that my sister's computer is your standard, run of the mill OEM rig, I'm not sure about the power supply, cooling, etc.

Currently, her machine has nVidia's on-board 6150 graphics card and I'm thinking that a HD 4550 or a 9500 GT would be a reasonable improvement and not threaten the stability of her computer. What do you all think? Can I go higher? Any ideas?

Edit: She games at 1280x1024.
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More about graphics card light gamer
  1. If i were in your position i would get her the ATi Radeon 4670. Cheap solution and does not require an external power source. Should run everything on high without a problem
  2. I'd look at the 4670. Should be about as fast as a 9600gso/8800gs, but is made to not have to use an external power connector. May want to check the specs of the card vs the psu, but I think that card should be fine, maybe a small memory upgrade as well.
  3. +1
    to 9600gso/4670 those should run even on a crappy powersupply
  4. I agree on the HD4670, it has low power requirements, decent performance and you can buy one with a dual slot cooler that exhausts its hot air out the back of the case helping the cooling in a HP or Dell type system.
  5. I second the HD4670, mine's running things like Stalker, Prey, Bioshock, and Rainbow Six Vegas 2 at all high settings at 1440x900. No way it won't run Sims 3 maxed. And it runs perfectly nicely on a crap PSU.
  6. As far as 9600gso, I'm pretty sure those require the extra power connector, so probably would not run on a junky power supply.
  7. first check to make sure their is a pci-e on that board.
  8. 2 things u must factor: her monitor size (:D) and her POWER SUPPLY!!!!! imo this is damn important here i belive.

    from there if PSU can handdle a good gpu, get any low end ati (lol like there are any nowdays :D)

    ppl say here that those gpus should run on low PSU are wrong, 90% of cheap psu are barely enought for the components already installed, so make sure.

    and also i agree with MACER1 :D
  9. First check the capability / connection of the mobo.

    Even the GF9600GSO / HD4650/70 are overkill for her needs for both the type of game and resolution.

    The HD4650 doesn't require much power or a power connector, and neither does the GF9500GT, nor the HD4550. All are capable for those needs and both can be found for under $50 (the 9500GT for under $40 even), and they can be found with quite reliable and passive cooling.

    BTW, Since it's an OEM case you may also need to get a half-height or low profile card, and these solutions also have those options too, look for them if you find you need it (maybe check the HP's knowledgebase/forum and see what others did for that type of rig).
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