Challenge: Low budget, Low power, small form HTPC graphics card

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: This week, preferably today or tomorrow
BUDGET RANGE: under $100 if we can (Before / After Rebates doesnt matter)

USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: home theatre, watching HD movies on a 6ft+ screen (720p projector)

CURRENT GPU AND POWER SUPPLY: On board graphics of the CPU (yes i know this is a bad idea) and 300W

AMD Athlon II X2 255 Regor 3.1GHz 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor ADX255OCGQBOX
Rosewill R379-M Black/ Silver 0.8mm SGCC Steel Slim MicroATX Computer Case with ATX12V Flex 300W Power Supply
Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST31000528AS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
approx 3-4 gb RAM



OVERCLOCKING: maybe if it helps but i never have and dont plan too
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Same as above

MONITOR RESOLUTION: in the neighborhood of 1920x1080 and 1920x1200 but not really sure, sorry

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I'm running my computer (via HDMI) through an audio receiver (for 5.1 surround sound) to my projector (over 6ft @ 720p). The onboard graphics handled everything until i tried to play a movie with a lot of CGI (Inception, Avatar, etc) and im sick of the pixelation and stuttering graphics.

I know im limited by my small form case and power supply, but i've been doing research for the last 6 hours and have no idea what to get. I dont even know what im looking at anymore. Please help guide me or make recommendations. Thank you!
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More about challenge budget power small form htpc graphics card
  1. A HD 5550 from AMD would be plenty for your needs.

    Mactronix :)
  2. Excellent recommendation by Christian - good card (for video but not gaming) from a better brand at a great price with a lifetime warranty.

    Note that the specs stipulate a minimum power requirement of 400w and you only have 300w. However I have seen reviews that show total power consumption with ths model of card at less than 200w for a simple system.

    This review will provide you a little more info about that model of card. Note that this version has the faster GDDR3 memory (compared to GDDR2 in the card linked above) and passive cooling.

    HOWEVER note that this is not a low profile card. Will a full size card fit in your case?

    For general guidance in upgrading non-gaming video cards, see:

    Other pages on defining system requirements and personal choices, video card reviews, brand and vendor selection, and installing video cards might also be helpful.
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