The catch about upgrading your video card is that your CPU and the rest of your parts have to keep up or you will be experiencing a bottleneck. The best thing to do is match up parts that you will be buying to your respective system.
The Gateway PC that you have is actually quite decent (for a non-custom built PC). This means there will be little to no bottleneck for you. Though, there is another factor that comes into play here: screen resolution. Depending on your screen resolution you may not need the latest and greatest card to suit your needs and budget.
If you're running a resolution of 1280x1024 or 1680x1050 I would recommend either a HD4870, HD5770 or GTX260 - since they are dirt cheap and will get the job done in current games quite easily.
If you're running a resolution of 1920x1080, 1920x1200 - Higher - you may want to go for the only card that makes sense at this current time: the HD5850. You will also be 'future-proofed' with DX11 and the extra performance, of course.
For me, running a resolution of 1920x1200 and a HD4870 1GB is just fine. I seem to be able to max just about every game out and maintain the near 60fps mark(minus AA/AF of course). I am quite satisfied with my HD4870 1GB. Also, the amount of RAM on the card will really help in higher resolutions.
The 4870 and 5770 can be had for as little as $120 while the 5850 is around $300 - something to keep in mind when purchasing. Let me know if that helps.
well thanks for the help metalweenis, i would probably think it over the next couple weeks to see if what i would get , either the GTX 260 or HD 4870. now another question would either of those card fit my gateway, Also i would imagine changing a vid card be easier than a psu?
gonna wait a couple weeks, maybe the prices will drop, if they dont i would probably going to lean towards the gtx 260 though i am going to research boths cards to be on the safe side.
The GTX 260 isnt a great deal at the moment with raised prices. The GTX is also an old, hot, power hungry card that runs direct x 10. An ATI 5770 is similar performance (maybe a tiny bit slower in some applications) at $150 and runs cool and efficiently with Direct X 11 because it is newer, better technology. If thats not powerful enough for you the upcoming 5830(soon) will be a good deal at around $200--it will also offer a newer, cooler, DX 11 technology to replace the aging 4890 card.
Also as an added note 1280 x 1040 isnt a really high resolution it wont really require a beast of a card-- as an example toms rates the 5770 as good enough for "Great 1920x1200 performance in most games" That said, going a little over what you need certainly cant hurt.
If you don't plan to upgrade your Monitor, and will game only at 1280x1024
then, 260/4870 are overkill for your resolution.
Those two along with 5770 are designed to perform at 1920x1200
Get a Radeon 5750 HD instead. You'll save some $40 and it will perform exceptionally at your resolution 1280x1024
If you are planning to buy a new monitor that'll be bigger than your current one, go for 5770 HD, forget 4870 and 260.
5750 is for $120-$130
5770 is for $160-$170
Both cards supports:
Shader Model 5.0
Any off these two will be good for more than couple of years
You can't go wrong with a 4870, 4890, 5750 or 5770 in this case. Keep in mind games are going to start running harder as time goes on so it's always good to be 'future-ready'. And if you plan on upgrading your monitor, you will need a more powerful card of course.