I recently put together my first PC to be able to play the game Rift. It works great, but I have to run the game on the second to lowest settings, which sucks. I would love to be able to run it at least on High if not Ultra. Please help me find a new graphics card, somewhere in the range of $150.00 US. My current build is a G41-ESM2L Motherboard, Intel quad core processor, 550 Watt PSU, and a Radeon HD 4550 card. 4 GB RAM. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Assuming your power supply can actually provide 550 watts, hard to say without knowing what type it is, there are a number of options at that price point. Best bang for your buck right now would probably be the Radeon HD 5850, which is often selling for around 150 USD, as retailers are clearing out their old stock. I think the GTX 460 768MB also sits within your price range.
Either of these cards should be able to max out Rift, unless you are running a monitor at 2560x1600 or gaming across multiple monitors, in which case to max out games you would have to go beyond your price range.
If you are running a monitor at less than 1080p, the Radeon HD 5770 could probably handle your needs quite well, and would be cheaper than the two previously mentioned cards.
Supernova, thank you for your suggestions. They definitely got me on the right track. I ended up going a little over my budget and got the Radeon HD 6850. Easiest install ever...took a total of about 10 minutes, including driver installation. I am currently running Rift on ultra settings with around 60 fps. It's a totally different game. Considering how before, I was running on low settings with about 10-15 fps. I am a happy gamer for sure!
I was just going to say, if you are hoping to play at Ultra settings, don't listen to Supernova1138, but if that's your budget, then that's your budget. At least you went a bit better than his suggestions.
Most people see MMO and think they don't require power. Rift uses more power than most FPS games.