I have an NVidia 9800 GT I have $200 budget for a new graphics card. The reason I am looking to get another one is since I have had this one I get graphic glitches on occasion like rainbow screen, white squares that look like tiny stars. I have updated the drivers and it still happens. I am thinking the power consumption on this card on the very high settings and possible thermal issues is the cause so i want to get another card that draws directly from the PSU instead of through the MB PCIe slot. I would prefer to stay with the NVidia line. Any suggestions
The site Tom's Hardware has a wright up on STO and Graphic Card Performance... The article is getting a little old, but it still provides a nice break-down of price vs. performance vs. resolution of the current generation graphic cards available...
Tthis game does run quite well on most 9800 series NVidia cards.
I can run this game on a networked secondary system that uses a MSI 9800GT with 1gb of DDR2 with the latest Nvidia drivers. No problems at all.
Not knowing which specific namebrand card you have now, nor the drivers you are using, I couldn't say whether or not your card could be the issue. Many of the 9800 series do draw power from the PCI interface; some, like most of the 9800GTXs, have that external power coupling from the PSU. But, unless you have a lower rated PSU (<500w), power supplied to the card is normally not the issue here.
The graphic issues you describe are more usually related to driver problems, not "overheating" or "power" problems. Make sure that when you update your graphic drivers that you completely erase any and all previous versions. Do a Google search on how to do this as there are many reliable guides, including from NVidia itself.
That being said, if you are just looking to upgrade, any of the NVidia series 275 or above is more than enough power to run this game and can be easily be bought for less than $200.
Try using www.pricewatch.com for shopping various online outlets.