I bought an HP Pavilion p6624y desktop in November. My Alienware laptop was six years old and on its last leg, and I needed a machine that I could multitask on. For the price, I am very pleased with my PC's performance.
I recently unfroze my WoW account and began playing again. Of course, my stock hardware is delivering less-than-desirable results. Below are my specs:
AMD Athlon II 635 Quad Core @ 2.9 GHz
ATI Radeon HD 4200 (integrated)
Running Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (soon dualbooting with Ubuntu)
I want to upgrade my GPU and realize that I will need a new PSU as well. I would like to be able to run Ultra settings at 1920x1080 and use my 40" as a secondary monitor on HDMI. Ideally, I would like to choose from one of the $175-275 GPUs from this month's best list: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-car...
I have reviewed the Cataclysm performance guide on Tom's, but since I am working with a prebuilt system, I do not know how my hardware will limit me. I just don't want to spend money on a card and have its performance limited by other components (CPU). So, which GPU would the community recommend from the list, and what would be a good PSU to couple it with?
Since you're working with a pre-built you probably won't be Crossfire/SLI compatible. I'd look for a solid single card that is going to provide you with enough performance that you can crank wow to max settings at your resolution and be happy.
A GTX 470 ($260ish), HD 6870 ($210ish), or even an HD 5850 ($180ish) are all great options that are priced pretty appealingly right now. Any of those should give you great performance in WoW: Cataclysm at your res. As far as PSU, you could pick up a TX650w corsair unit for about 90 bucks on newegg. Or bump up to a TX750w for about $110 although that's probably overkill for a single card.