Seeking a good gaming graphics card...

I'm a gamer and I gave up on Xbox 360s about a year ago after two bouts with the red eye of death and attempts to correct it. I've turned to PC gaming and I have to say I like it MUCH more.

Only problem is, I have a Gateway desktop PC with Intel GMA x4500.
I'm pretty decent with software, but I have little to no experience with hardware.

It's got the job done for the most part, playing on the lowest settings as possible in games like Mass Effect 2. I've been playing TES IV: Oblivion here recently and the graphics don't compare to ME2's, but I still get a ton of lag when I get into a skirmish.
Needless to say, It's time for an upgrade. I would like a card that can run ME1, ME2, and ME3, as well as Diablo 3, smoothly on moderate settings.

Not sure how this works, (didn't read the sticky), but here are the specs:

Gateway SX2801-01e model
Windows 7 64 bit
Intel Pentium processor E5500
Intel GMA x4500 graphics :cry:
6 GB DDR3 memory
Everything is stock, and I'm not sure what Power Supply I have.

I've been browsing Amazon for a reasonably priced one, and I keep getting drawn to the EVGA GeForce GTX 550 Ti 2Gb ($139 after rebate?).
I also spotted this one - SAPPHIRE AMD Radeon HD 6870 1GB GDDR5 PCIE Graphics Card

My price range is roughly up to $170.

Only problem is, this is the smallest tower I've ever owned or seen, and I've never opened it up before to see the innards. The AMD Radeon card is supposedly gigantic, according to reviewers on Amazon, and based on the pictures I saw of the GTX 550, it looks quite large as well.
I have little experience with hardware, so any help would be much appreciated!

(When I told the guys at GameStop that I was playing ME2 on a GMA x4500 they laughed in my face lol, that was the turning point for me)
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  1. Ok, I did a little Googling and my model comes with a 220W PSU... So I know I'm going to need a better one. Suggestions?
    Also, found out it has a PCI Express interface, but I still have to get a card that will fit in the tower.

    Found this, a complete list of the specs.
    It's a "Slim" model, and I think that might pose some problems.
  3. I seem to be answering all my own questions, but -
    Being a slim tower, I will need a Low Profile graphics card (most likely), and I found this one

    Asus ATI Radeon HD5450 Silence - 1 GB DDR3 VGA/DVI/HDMI Low Profile PCI-Express Video Card EAH5450 SILENT/DI/1GD3
    Only $38, but I'm definitely willing to pay more.

    Also, I will need to find a power supply that will fit my tiny box, I don't know how to necessarily word that in a search bar, so suggestions, please.
  4. Best answer
    Not to stop you from answering your own questions (lol), but there are much more viable options than the 5450 for this purpose. You MIGHT not need a new power supply, but I am not going to be concrete with anything just to be sure.

    There are a few options you could use depending on your pricerange. The best you could possibly get is this as I have found:

    note: I didn't look for that long, so it might not be the BEST, but still.

    This one is a tad slower, but its still pretty quick:

    This one is a bit slower than that, but cheaper and might not require a new PSU.

    Either way, what you are going to want to get is a "low profile bracket kit." It contains all of the possible brackets you could possibly want to fit the graphics card in a low profile situation.

    And GameStop people don't know jack when it comes to computers. Literally. I asked one of the GameStop people if I could play MW3 on a Radeon 6670, and he said no. Then I asked him if an 8800GT would handle it. He said yes. The 6670 roughly equals the 8800GT, and that's the last time I ever asked a GameStop guy about computers.
  5. Thanks for the reply, I was starting to think I might have to do this on my own lol.

    Because graphics cards blow my mind, I'll have to ask you. Does the amount of dedicated memory on the card necessarily make it better?

    HIS H645H2GD1 Radeon HD 6450 2GB (64bit) DDR3 Displayport DL DVI-D (HDCP) VGA PCIe x1 2.1 Low Profile Graphics Card

    Because I found ^ that one (2gb, but a 6450 as opposed to 6670, I have no idea what those numbers relate to). But I also read some other suggestions in the forum for low profile cards and I think they suggested the same one as you.
    So, my reasoning tells me that I should go with the 6670 1gb, like you suggested, maybe because it will use less power than the 2gb? Or run smoother? Idk... I'd just like to know the reason behind it.

    All I know is the more I googled my computer the more I learned how awful it is for gaming lol.

    Also. The current "graphics card" that I have, has an HDMI port that I use for clone display on my TV occasionally. The specs on the link that I posted before confused me but I think I have an extra available port. If I get the top card you suggested, will I still be able to use the HDMI port from the GMA x4500?
  6. Reading through an earlier thread, I saw a suggested power supply for a slim case, but the desktop was different than mine.

    SeaSonic SS-300TFX Bronze 300W TFX12V v2.3 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply - OEM

    The guy that suggested it had Googled and found out what type of PSU came stock with the PC, like the brand name I guess. Just wondering if this one could work with mine as well. (Only an 80W improvement, but the 80+ thing it boasts seems to be what people go for)
  7. The amount of memory on the card isn't the main deciding factor. What you should look at is the number of stream processors (and less so, the clock of those SPs). Notice that the 6670 has more SPs than the 6450. In general, this is a good comparison between cards on the same generation and manufacturer.
  8. Ahh, I do recall seeing something about clocks and SPs in the specs lol. Thanks for that, and I think I'm I going to go ahead and get the 6670. I found some reviews, and most of the people were in the same sad slim case situation as I am. The majority had very positive feedback and one guy said that his stock 250W PSU hadn't posed any problems. For now, I will order the card and wait for a reply on the Power Supply.
  9. Steam processors are kinda like....cylinders in a car motor. The more of them you have and the faster they are running, the faster the car is. There are other factors, but that's pretty much it. 6670 is a good choice, but I'm not COMPLETELY sure if it will. I'd say like 90% chance.

    This is one of the best power supplies you can get for the smaller form factor, and will run the 6670 for sure:
  10. Best answer selected by SeaverWhat.
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