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Upgrade Graphics Card with 250 Watt Power Supply

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
March 23, 2006 1:40:40 PM

I have a 2 year old HP a520n computer with a AMD 3200 and 512 Meg RAM. It has a integrated Nvidia geforce 440MX with 64 Meg of Ram shared.

I would like to upgrade to a better graphics card such as a 6600 GT but the computer only has a 250 wat power supply. I could replace the power supply with a bigger unit but I have heard horror stories about trying to fit a new PSU in a HP computer. Is there a better graphics card I can buy that does not require a bigger PSU that will signifigantly increase game play? I can play HL2 and COD 2 on the lowest settings now but it is a shame to spend that much on a game and not be able to crank it up. I don't want to risk blowing the computer up with a non compatible PSU. HP is no help with any recommendations.

March 23, 2006 2:14:14 PM

Your most likely heading for a Micro-ATX supply.
It is indeed hard to judge, becuase OEM's tend to "produce" there own form factors. This prevents upgrading from outside their company.

If you could find or borrow a MATX supply to test...that would be best.
March 23, 2006 2:43:17 PM

250W is quite low, my old pc(sonyvaio) had 360W and that was a bit low, to be honest i would go with a higher psu, there was a site link here in the psu section it was a sticky, to a site that had a power calculator which i used myselfe, im planning to build a new rig myselfe maby during summer and i was woried that my 480W (that im using now)would be insufficient for it. btw have You checked the manyfacturers power requirements sugestions? , also reading old reviews might help, some might have power consumption information(althou many older reviews did not deal much with that, as nowedays reviews do)

but just in my oppinion i think 250W would be rather inadequate, btw if You will be planning to get a new psu i would recomend gering a new more powerful one in the range of 500W or so and more,9 i think that for futureproofing a around a 520W or 540W would be ideal, unles u might be thinking of sli or crosfire in the future) because later on when you would like to upgrade the whole system , or build a new one u would be able to still use the old psu, so You wont need to spend the $$ for the same component again, and in some cases spending that 30/40 $$ (or more) more is recompensated in the long now im saying that (but lol when i was geting a case i got a tt xaser 3 regular, not the aluminum one which was i think only 30$ more, and now i regreat it .....that darn 50pounds+ the components is darn heavy to lift when i want to take it out from my desk)..... moral its beter not to skimp on some parts;) i know it ;)  lol learned from my own mistakes
Related resources
March 23, 2006 3:09:56 PM

The second sticky post in the "Power Supplies, PC Cases & Case Mods"
section links to some calculaotors which allow you to see how much room you have on your current power supply, and how large of a power supply that you would need for various situations. It also will give you an approximate wattage usage of the various graphics card which is somthing hard to find elsewhere. nVidia and ATI do not give you much on that, (though ATI is actually helpful if you email them).

I cut and pasted the links to the PSU calculators for your convience:
(you need script enabled for the second)

I am running a IBM workstation with a 185W PSU and with a Radeon 9550 According to these calcualotrs am running w/i 5W of the PSU capacity. In buying a PSU i would leave plenty of head room, and buy a quality unit.
To see my thread on this setup (a similar issue with even less power)a few months ago:
or more recently a PSU:
(As you can see I am not an expert)

Looking back now i would buy a decent PSU, and then buy a mid-ranged ($90-150) video card.

good luck.
March 23, 2006 11:11:27 PM

Thanks for the reply. Has anyone actully replaced a stock HP PSU with a higher powered one and if so what was it.

March 24, 2006 2:32:41 PM

Thanks for the reply. Has anyone actully replaced a stock HP PSU with a higher powered one and if so what was it.


I JUST put a new POWER SUPPLY in my tight, small COMPAQ PRESARIO case to run my new X800 GTO. It was a tight fight for sure, but it worked good, and the second fan is on the front, not the bottom, so your fan isnt directily running into metal... (at least it was a slight problem in my case)...

It's a 430watt model, and it has about a bajillion connectors I will never use.. BUT In case I want upgrade, and I will in the next year or so, it has a 20+4 connector so you can use either type of Mobo and it has the direct PCI-E connector... so its good to ahve and was only 40 bucks.

Oh and its MUCH quieter!

Here is a link. I bought the same on on ChiefValue, but I cannot recommend them right now:

heck there is even a rebate, for 10 bucks, that I didnt get.. making it even CHEAPER!