I've got an HP Pavillion P6560, with an AMD Radeon HD 5450 (1gb). I want to be able to play games like Skyrim on high, but obviously, it's not going to work on a non-gaming card like mine. Therefore I'm looking for a relatively low budget solution to this. I've got three PCI express x1 gates, and one PCI express x16. The HD 5450 that's currently installed is not soldered in place.
Would it be better to just get two cheap (40$) graphics cards and install them alongside the hd 5450? Or should I go for a whole new card altogether? To be perfectly frank, I don't really want to get past the 120$ mark, so it might prove to be a challenge finding a suitable combination/replacement.
Could you post your specs here, to help us give you an appropriate suggestion? Specifically:
PSU capacity, and availability of power cables?
Your PCI-Express x1 slots are of no use for installing graphics cards, they're only good for other expansion cards (sound, video capture, etc.) So, its only your PCI-Express x16 slot that can take a graphics card. And that will mean yanking out your HD 5450 card. As you've rightly said, the HD 5450 is more oriented towards HTPC use, and not appropriate for intensive gaming (like Skyrim).
The reason I ask for CPU is, we'll need to ensure that the card we recommend matches up to your CPU - its not make or break compatibility, but there's no point recommending a powerful card if your CPU will be a bottleneck (or vice versa). Having said that, your budget of $120 means that the risk of this occurring is slim.
The reason I ask for PSU capacity is, the 5450 is a very power conscious card. However, gaming cards will easily be rated for 150W or more, which means they will require 1 or more 6 pin or 8 pin 12v connectors. You need to ensure your PSU will be able to support this wattage, and it should have the connectors free (based on the card you choose). Otherwise, you're looking at a PSU upgrade.
Can you tell what PSU and CPU you have? I also don't know why you want to use x1 slot for GPU? I think you mean you only have x1 left because x16 was used by your old GPU. x1 are NOT for GPU so they are not compatible. If you are having x1 only left and your x16 used by your Old GPU as I think, I think you should get Radeon 6770 priced at ~$120 and completely replace your GPU. Why I chose 6770 is because it has a great price/performance. Hope this helps. After I got the information needed maybe I will give you further help.