What Graphics card should I upgrade to?

With a new system in the works, I can't afford a graphics card at the moment and I'm going to use the integrated Intel 4000 HD for a couple months until I can get afford a Video Card. Assuming I'm only spending around $150 on it, what would be best to upgrade to with a configuration like this:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($199.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: MSI Z77MA-G45 Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($89.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Patriot Intel Extreme Master, Limited Ed 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($37.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($54.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Apex PCV-588 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($19.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($17.89 @ Outlet PC)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $550.81
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

If any improvements can be made that keep it within the same price range of below $600, preferably something to make it cost less than what it already does. Reasoning behind the i5-3570k, not just for later gaming, is that the power consumption is significantly lower while under load and idle than comparable AMDs and I'm aiming for the "splurge a little now to save more later" approach. I was originally going to go with AMD for gaming, a crime, because I could get an all around more "cost effective" system, until I looked into the Power Consumption.

Games I plan on playing include, but are by no means limited to: TES5: Skyrim, TES3: Morrowind, Minecraft, Portal 1&2, ARMA II: Operation Arrowhead (DayZ), and Maybe Battlefield 3. Anything else will more than likely be an indie game. I'm not looking for the best card, just something that'll run these at a decent pace with about 40~70 FPS on Medium-High settings or better. For an idea of what I'm coming off of, Toshiba Satellite l505D-ES5025. She can chug along in DayZ at about 15FPS, Minecraft at about 45 when I'm not using my second monitor to play on, and Portal 2 played fairly well if I turned down a few settings to medium or low.

Again, any input would be much appreciated. If changes can be made, please share what can or should be done. I plan to OC at a late date, maybe a little bit after I purchase a discrete graphics card. And it'll probably be around February when I actually build the computer, so any future oriented insight is welcome as well.

P.S.: The closest Microcenter is about 200 miles away, so any savings from there would be outweighed by a 400 mile round trip.
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  1. you can get a better case

    fractal design core 1000 is a beautiful micro atx cse with similar price :)

    anyway, it is great build for not overclocking

    your PSU can handle 7850 at the most

    consider upgrading PSU to 550-600 watt for more improvement room
  2. Have you bought/built these parts yet? Because with $150 I can see a few things that can be improved on.
  3. AMD: I don't really plan on overclocking, not that confident in myself quite yet to go there. I'll look into both the case and another PSU, especially if I want a higher end card later on. But the two might come in tandem.

    manofchalk: I'm in the process of getting some now, with what I have. Just looking for a little outside input before I begin finalizing parts. I'm relatively adamant on the i5-3570K, but just about everything else is up in the air.

    EDIT: manofchalk: What would you suggest? I may be able to scrounge up a little bit extra, so improvements are fine with me. I'm just working on a tight budget right now. Which is why I am holding off on even a low end card.
  4. The easy places I can see to improve are the Case, PSU and HDD.
    Zalman Z9+. $60 ($10 rebate)
    XFX Core 550W, 80+ Bronze. $70 ($15 rebate)
    Seagate Barracuda 1TB 7200RPM. $80

    When you do overclock (the rig is capable of doing so) you will need aftermarket cooling. The Coolermaster Hyper 212 EVO is the go-to budget cooler.
    Coolermaster Hyper 212 EVO. $35 (it was $25 a week ago, weird).
  5. manofchalk: Main reason I have the Corsair 430W listed is because I can get it half off with the MIR rebate available. I was actually looking at the case, considering it for my build, but I figured what little I saved on it could be used for improvement elsewhere. As for the 1TB HDD, I don't need that much. Yes, I'll have several large games on there, but I barely scratch using 120GB on the one I have now, and that's including the OS. Honestly, that whats holding me back. Having to buy a new OS since I can't legally transfer Windows 7 over to a new Mobo.

    I say Mobo, because that's how Microsoft is defining a new computer when it comes to licensing under Windows 7.
  6. Though as Radeon pointed out, with that PSU you are going to be limited to a 7850 at most (since the CX430 only has a single 6+2pin connector). You will need a stronger supply if you want to get a stronger card than that.

    An AsRock Z77 Extreme4 would be a good board to get.
  7. Alright, thank you. I'll probably stick with the PSU I have picked out now, since it's only $20, and upgrade to 550-600 like Radeon had suggested. Alas, I'll probably have to say no to the board. As much as I'd like to get it, there isn't much I can do. Thank you for the input, it's given me an idea of the path I need to go down for the future of the build. I appreciate it very much.
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