My computer it getting pretty old. I'm planning on building a new system shortly after Ivy Bridge comes out next year. My old system has served me well for pretty much whatever game I want to play on it for a while now even if High Settings aren't possible.
Lately, I've been playing BF3 and Skyrim. While I can still run them, I wouldn't mind upping the graphics settings from low.
I thought i might look for a temporary replacement card in the $100-$150 range to last me through the 4-5 months before I update the whole PC. I was hoping that there might be a sale online somewhere the day after Thanksgiving.
What cards should I be looking for that would provide a noticeable boost while being cheap enough?
I saw a 550Ti on sale at TigerDirect for $115
It's only 2 tiers above my GTS on the November list though.
The 8800 GTS has 624 gigaflops for its processing power. The 550 Ti only gets 691.2, about 10.8% faster. You, thus, won't get much of a noticeable improvement. For temporary purposes, you might go with something cheaper then go for something big like the 580 or something when ready (the 580 is 2.53 times as powerful as your current card).
However, knowing what PSU you have will help as well.
I would advise against buying something you intend to not use in the near future. One possibility is to buy a card you can sli or crossfire in 4-5 months instead of just wasting +$100. Another possibility is to just wait until you do a full upgrade. It's fine to upgrade in pieces, but don't upgrade a part immediately planning to replace it. Either save the money or use it towards a more expensive purchase.
I'd have to check it from home. I'm pretty sure its either 650w or 750w. I have about half the money for my upgrade already, so I can upgrade the PSU if i need to. I could technically get a 580 or something now and maybe SLI it when i build the new system, but since the build won't be until March or so, I figured I'd wait and see about the new wave of cards (6xx, HD 7xxx).
I was looking at GPUReview and it showed 416 GFlops for the 8800 GTS.
Can I test my card with something? Also, what % increase would be noticeable?