The answer to your initial question is:No, you do not require a card to be low profile to
fit in your fairly standard micro atx case. You may want to watch the length though.
Some more important questions may be "Will my power supply be enough for this or
that new card?" and "Will my cpu be a bottleneck to this or that new card?"
Pop off the side panel, take a gander at the label on the power supply, write down the
number of amps(A) on the +12v rail, and post it here. Also, please download for free,
install and run cpuz to find out specifics of your cpu(if you don't already know) and post
that information here as well
Looking at the photo you do not need a low profile card. Just make sure to measure how much room you have between the hard drive cage and the inside back of the case. Make sure the card you buy is a little shorter. Im guessing but you probably have 9.5" to 10" inches if its the same case in the photo.
I'm concerned that if you buy too powerful of a card it will bottleneck on your q8200.
Does your mobo bios support overclocking features like modifying cpu voltage, fsb speed,
and ram ratios? What speed ddr3 are your running(cpuz will tell you, free download)?
You should be able to lock the pcie bus and maybe memory speed too.
I guess the mobo needs to support faster memory too. With the right combo of faster
memory (ddr3 1600/pc3-12800) and a overclocking mobo you could push your cpu to
2.8ghz on the stock intel cooler.
Can you please tell us the brand of your 550w power supply and how many amps(A) are
on the +12v rail(that info should be clearly printed somewhere on the psu label)? It is
possible it may have 2 or more +12v rails with different or the same amps(& total +12v limit).
If we know your budget and preferred sites/shops for buying pc parts(based on your country,
state/province, and municipality) we can suggest where to buy what parts and give you the
best bang for your buck while also saving on taxes and shipping where possible.
You don't need a low profile graphics card. You have a very weak power supply, basically a 240 Watt unit, you'll need a new one if you want any card that is really capable of gaming. If you do go for a higher end card, you may want to measure the distance between the back of the case and the hard drive cage, some of the longer video cards may not fit in your case.
I would also recommend dusting out your system, your CPU cooler and graphics card are caked with dust, and that isn't going to help your temperatures.
Well, which graphics card do you have now? I googled your computer and it comes with integrated grpahics. You have a graphics card in there, so it would be good to know what you already have.
As for recommendations, how much money are you willing to spend in total for a new power supply and graphics card? Which games are you playing, and what resolution are you running those games? All that information will help in making a recommendation.
I cant tell what your current graphics card is from the photos but it does have a pretty wimpy form factor / heat sink so im sure its a lower end model. If I had to take a guess I would say it kind of looks like a ATI 4350.
I can tell that is the typical Chinese made cheapo 300 watt power supply that realistically is more like a 270 watt unit at 50c temps.
A 7850 is the most powerful graphics card I would put in this machine with this week of a PSU but a 7770 seems like a better fit.