Hi all. I'm trying to decide whether or not to upgrade my video card for better quality and reliability in current BioWare games and for Civ V when it's released. I'm okay -- just okay, not particularly happy -- with the graphic quality I already have, but my current card has been quirky since shortly after I got it. It often shows a ton of little green squares all over the screen, which the ATI Catalyst software fixes 50-75% of the time; when it doesn't, it locks up entirely and I have to reboot. If I can get a new card within budget that will last me a long time (3+ years), both in terms of being good enough to run future games and not dying on me, then I'd like to upgrade.
I saw the deal that newegg.com is currently running on Sapphire's Radeon HD 4850, and it seems like a steal. I'm a little wary, though, since it seems a lot of people have had the card die on them within a few months, and I'd really rather not have to deal with RMAing and such. That's the only card I've been thinking about so far, but I'm open to other suggestions. My specs and such follow; while I'm guessing that upgrading the video card will make a significant difference in games, let me know if you think something else will be a bottleneck.
APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Now if I go with the card I'm considering, otherwise willing to wait till fall or later.
BUDGET RANGE: $75-$100 After Rebates
USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming - Mass Effect 1 & 2, Dragon Age: Origins, Civilization V (when it comes out)
CURRENT GPU AND POWER SUPPLY:
GPU: GECUBE HV195PG3-E3 (R) Radeon X1950PRO 512MB
PSU: SILVERSTONE ST50EF-Plus 500W
OTHER RELEVANT SYSTEM SPECS:
CPU: AMD Athlon X2 BE-2400 Brisbane 2.3GHz Socket AM2
MoBo: GIGABYTE GA-M61P-S3 AM2
RAM: GeIL 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)
OS: Windows XP
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com, but open to suggestions
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: U.S.A.