Video card question 9600gso failing

Hello all and thanx in advance for any help.

i currently have a PNY 9600 gso 768mb card in my pc (modded emachines et1331g-07w) that i believe is starting to fail.
the only games i really play are WoW, Fallout 3 and New Vegas, and Bully (that's LITERALLY it). game play was really good at first
compared to my "old" card, HD 5450 512mb (i was going to use it as an HTPC but opted not to), but now i am getting slight artifacting. i had the card OC with EVGAs tool but put it back to stock and all is somewhat ok, but on to the real question.
I have a buddy that i WoW with and he swears by his GTX 550 TIs (2 sli) and recomends i get one. to me it seems like a souped up 8800gs or 9600gso, with gddr5 instead gddr3 ... basically, to me anyway. i am leaning more towards a 9800gt, gts 250, hd 3870, hd 4850 or something along those lines. what do you guys think is a decent card for around $100 to $150, the cheaper the better.
i got the 9600 gso at a steal, it burned out 3 PSUs of the previous owner but he was using 300w units. i have cooler master gx450 and no problems. like i said the cheaper the better, but video cards seem to have taken a confusing turn as of late, newer doesn't always mean better.

i forgot to mention the 9600gso idles at like 70c and around 75c/76c under load. also with EVGA precision i have to keep the fan on auto ... the software control causes the fan to run at 30% no matter what the temp. not sure that was important since i plan on replacing it anyway. and my pc specs are AMD Athlon II x2 220 (came with 1.6GHz 250u), 4GB ram, windows 7 home premium, 450w cooler master psu, 92mm rosewill case fan and controller, and a acer p215h 1920x1080 21.5" monitor. WoW is the only game i play at that res and i get about 100-170fps wilderness and between 60-30fps in Org. at medium settings.

that said i am really only looking to match that. i am not a hardcore computer gamer and play my 360 for most games. if they made WoW for the 360 or ps3 i would be i heaven, lol.
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  1. Best answer
    something that performs only 1% slower than the 550ti would be the 5770/6770 and its cheaper and uses less power. The gts250 is ok and would be a good upgrade from what you have, its on par with the gts450 and ati 5750 but lacks DX11 features.
  2. i was looking towards the gts250 actually, but i can't really seem to find any in stock anywhere. i may with the 5770/6770 as i can find those.
    like i said, i am not a big pc gamer and WoW is about all i really play. i think the DX11 in the ati/amd cards would help out WoW too as it can use it.
    thanks for your suggestions. i know about the high end cards but the inbetween stuff confusses the heck out of me.
  3. Best answer selected by SulumorDNA.
  4. well, i managed to find a Sparkle 512mb 9800gt to $22 brand new. i don't think i could have beat that price ANYWHERE.
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