I have a system running AMD Phenom II X4 Quad Core 945 with 8GB DDR2 RAM, and a 1TB 7200rpm HDD. However, it only has Integrated ATI Radeon HD 3100 onboard graphics with DVI. I currently have it connected to a Dell 22" LCD monitor at 1920x1080 and extended to my 42" Panasonic plasma TV at 1280x720. Some video (especially when the camera moves) is not smooth (like Hulu for instance). It improves but is not perfect if I bring my Dell monitor down to 1280x720. Both operate at 60Hz refresh rate.
Do I need a new graphics card to improve performance? Would that fix my problem? If so, what card do you recommend with enough performance without overkill? Thanks, I'm an amateur at this.
I haven't had this problem, However I'd say it wouldn't hurt to upgrade your graphics card. If you can supply your motherboard, power supply, case, price range and location information we can go about finding a solution.
Also, What games do you play/want to play. This should help us finding the best graphics solution for you.
The power supply is an ATX 12V 300W. The system is a ZT Systems Affinity 7337Xa. I'm not sure about the motherboard information but maybe you know a way to find that out from the model number? I could find the information online. It's what I call a regular tower desktop case (not sure what it is technically called). I'm hoping for something less than $100, a card that is sufficient without going overboard. I'm in the Chattanooga, TN area.
I don't really play games much, except Civilization IV. The most I use my graphics card is my dual monitor setup (one monitor and one plasma TV) as a part home office PC and part HTPC.
Ok, straight of the bat your power supply isn't good enough, Your looking at 58~64.99 before rebate, 44.99 after rebate(an OCZ 550w Fatal1ty modular PSU)
Then for the graphics card, well. I'll sort it out, but I can easily see the recommendations going over $100.
Ok, Here is the 550w OCZ modular PSU, its 64.99 before rebate, 44.99 after.
Seeing what civilization IV required has let me come to believe you won't need anything above a 5670.
Here it is, It costs 79.99 before rebate or 64.99 after, It also comes with a free game tango down.
All up the cost of this upgrade would be 154.98 before rebates or 129.98 after rebates.
If however you REALLY needed to stick to your budget this sapphire 5450 should also work, its 40.78 before its $10 rebate
the 5670 is value for money IMO, and its not significantly over your price range after rebates.
a few edits later..... : You could also get a power color low power radeon 5450 for around the same price, then you would only need a 350/400w PSU, however with all the savings it would be detrimental to future upgrade, That 550w modular PSU will last for a good long while, and the 5670 should service your basic gaming needs for a few years to come, however I wouldn't ever expect spectacular graphics from it.
another edit: Also, just so you know, you don't need the 550w PSU from the start, it's a little overkill for a 5670/5450, however its modular which is good for cabling, and it will last a few years/upgrades.