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Question about power supply and graphics cards

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July 18, 2008 3:43:33 PM

I recently ordered a new computer from Dell. It is a Dell Inspiron 530:

Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 @ 2.4 GHz
4gb DDR2 memory (4 sticks)
Intel Integrated graphics
500gb Serial ATA Hard Drive (7200RPM) w/DataBurst Cache
Integrated 7.1 Channel Audio
LITEON 350W PSU


I was planning on buying a new graphics card for this computer anyway, so I chose the integrated graphics. This is really my first educated experience of shopping for a video card. I have a PCI-e x16 slot, so at first I had a 8600GT in mind. I found this one:

http://www.buy.com/prod/geforce-8600-gt-oc-pcie-512mb-c...


I wish I could shoot for an 8800, but I was spooked by the PSU requirements by many products and/or people that have recommended things on forums. I read on another forum that someone with a 350 watt power supply could run a 9600GT. I was shocked when I read this, because I know the recommended wattage for a 9600GT is 425W.

The last straw was when I tried a power supply calculator that I found with google. I "think" I inserted the correct parts including an 8600GT card, and the recommended wattage was 238.

I understand the wattage is not the most important part. It is the voltage and quality of PSU, and also the other hardware in a case that could use up some some power.

I am terribly confused, and I just want to buy a nice graphics card. After using google as tutor for a week of searching, any help is GREATLY appreciated :)  .
July 18, 2008 4:02:36 PM

Your Inspiron should be coming with a LiteOn 375W power supply. Try the 8800 GT if it has problems upgrade the PSU. A good resource for replacement dell PSUs is to go to PC Power&Cooling's site and have a look at their dell models.

Cooling may be an issue too. Maybe get a dual slot card that puts heat outside the case instead of an 8800gt that moves it around inside the case.


a c 191 U Graphics card
a c 121 ) Power supply
July 18, 2008 4:08:45 PM

The amperage on the +12v rail(s) determines what GPU you can run. You should have no trouble with an 8600GT.
Using the PSU calculator at http://www.extreme.outervision.com/PSUEngine, I get 269W for a 9600GT, but again it will depend on the amperage available on the +12V rail(s).
Related resources
July 18, 2008 4:12:22 PM

The PSU says on it: DC Output 350w

I really wasn't planning on buying a new PSU, and I have also heard that it is not an option with Dells, due to wiring and such.

I would be fine with the 8600GT that I mentioned earlier, but I'm starting to doubt my ability to run a video card at all. Thanks for your help.
a c 191 U Graphics card
a c 121 ) Power supply
July 18, 2008 4:16:10 PM

You will have no trouble with an 8600GT on a 350W PSU. Although not certain, I believe Dell standardized their wiring after catching all kinds of hell in past years. In any case, it should be possible to reference pin diagrams to find out.
July 18, 2008 4:17:27 PM

Onus said:
The amperage on the +12v rail(s) determines what GPU you can run. You should have no trouble with an 8600GT.
Using the PSU calculator at http://www.extreme.outervision.com/PSUEngine, I get 269W for a 9600GT, but again it will depend on the amperage available on the +12V rail(s).



So if it says:

+12V, ---- / 12A Max

then that means i can safely run a 8600GT without damaging my card, mobo, or anything else?

Could I possibly run a 8800GT? I've heard they are much better than 8600GT, and slightly better than the 9600GT.

Thank you very much for your reply! :) 
a b ) Power supply
July 18, 2008 4:24:51 PM

umm well if you go to www.newegg.com they have some beastly prices on this stuff. depening on your monitors size will influence the videocard you want to buy, if you have a 17-19inch then a 8600gt will be okay but not very good, i would recommend 8800gt. Also on newegg, you can a 8800gts 640mb like I do for i think $120 or something and a 8800gts 640mb is a VERY VERY nice card. Howvere you will need a 400watt powersupply. newegg also sells powersupplys for good prices, I got a nice OCZ quality 500watt power supply for a very good price also.
a b U Graphics card
July 18, 2008 4:28:49 PM

Look at the label on the power supply inside the computer. Tell us what is says. In particular we are concerned about the amperage on the 12v rail.
350W could have 18 amps or 22amps for example. Depends on the manufacturer.
July 18, 2008 4:40:15 PM

evongugg said:
Look at the label on the power supply inside the computer. Tell us what is says. In particular we are concerned about the amperage on the 12v rail.
350W could have 18 amps or 22amps for example. Depends on the manufacturer.



It says:

INPUT: 100-127V~ /10A 50-60 Hz

OUTPUT: +5V ===/ 18A MAX. +12VA ===/ 12A MAX. +12VB===/ 18A MAX.

MAXIMUM CONTINUOUS TOTAL DC OUTPUT POWER WILL NOT EXCEED 350W.

THE MAXIMUM CONTINUOUS COMBINED OUTPUT POWER (5V & 3.3V EXCLUDING THE 5V AUXILIARY OUTPUT)IS 160W.

THE MAXIMUM CONTINUOUS COMBINED OUTPUT POWER (12VA & 12VB) IS 300W.




That is all I could read in english.
July 18, 2008 5:07:43 PM

Like someone stated already...Your monitor size would be a factor also...and how much were you planning on spending on a graphics card? A power supply? Any time constraints on when you are wanting to purchase?

If your power supply isn't custom and can be easily changed I would say get something that last's a bit. I do not think you would be happy with an 8600 GT if you play any games at all excluding web games. =)

Also I'm pretty sure the video card price war is not completely done and price's should continue their downward trend. I would personally suggest a 9800gtx or an ATI 4850 (though I'm not sure ATI has released official drivers yet). Also, once the 9800gtx+ is on the shelf I think the regular 9800gtx will get even cheaper...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Of course if those are above the price range something a little cheaper is...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
(I think this 8800 gs should do better than an 8600 GT)

or

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
(8600 GTS - a little better than an 8600 GT)

or

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
(8800 GTS 512...it's like the older brother of the 9800gtx though not quite as fast - similar in price but with the rebate its definitely cheaper)

...and as people already pointed out 8800 GT 512 cards are a great choice to. I think there is some great deals on the 1GB versions to if you can find them.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
a c 191 U Graphics card
a c 121 ) Power supply
July 18, 2008 5:13:11 PM

Ok, you have 25A available on the combined 12V rails (300W/12V). Technically that may be enough for an 8800GT, but barely, and I don't think worth the risk. A 9600GT should be fine though. Compared to integrated video, even the 8600GT is a huge improvement.
What games do you want to play, and at what resolution?
July 18, 2008 5:14:21 PM

I will not be upgrading my PSU, but I was wondering if it could support 8800gt(s). I would like to get a 512mb 8800GT.

My only constraint+worry is my PSU.
July 18, 2008 5:17:42 PM

Onus said:
Ok, you have 25A available on the combined 12V rails (300W/12V). Technically that may be enough for an 8800GT, but barely, and I don't think worth the risk. A 9600GT should be fine though. Compared to integrated video, even the 8600GT is a huge improvement.
What games do you want to play, and at what resolution?



I am using an old monitor, I'm used to using 1240 x 800, or sometimes 1280 x 1240. I just upgraded from a 6 year old computer and I haven't purchased any games in years. I would ultimately like to be able to run Call of Duty 4, and hopefully even Crysis. Of course, I would like to be able to run anything in between.
a c 191 U Graphics card
a c 121 ) Power supply
July 18, 2008 5:20:32 PM

Well, nothing really runs Crysis well on high settings. At 1280x1024, I think a 9600GT will be playable.
July 18, 2008 5:26:47 PM

Onus said:
Well, nothing really runs Crysis well on high settings. At 1280x1024, I think a 9600GT will be playable.



So although the recommended wattage is 425, I should be able to run a 9600GT on my system?

Thank you very much for the assistance, this is extremely helpful to me.


as far as 9600GT goes, I would buy:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

as far as 8600GT goes, I would buy:
http://www.buy.com/prod/geforce-8600-gt-oc-pcie-512mb-c...

July 18, 2008 5:32:46 PM

I misread the part about the power supply - I thought you stated that you were getting one. Does your standard power supply have a 6-pin PCIe-x connector that I believe is required for even a 9600 GT?

Just something you might want to check before hand.

Some cards like the 8600 GTS I sent you a link to come with the necessary adapter if you do not have this connector.
July 18, 2008 5:35:39 PM

thegh0st said:
I misread the part about the power supply - I thought you stated that you were getting one. Does your standard power supply have a 6-pin PCIe-x connector that I believe is required for even a 9600 GT?

Just something you might want to check before hand.



I'm pretty sure it does. There is a cord coming from the PSU that is tucked into a free drive bay. The end of it has a plug with 6 little port/holes in it.
July 18, 2008 5:43:28 PM

I just gotta ask...you paid all that money for a quad and 4 gigs and settled for that weak power suppy, why ? If you game heavily that 8600 will get old fast btw.
July 18, 2008 5:55:06 PM

royalcrown said:
I just gotta ask...you paid all that money for a quad and 4 gigs and settled for that weak power suppy, why ? If you game heavily that 8600 will get old fast btw.


I have to second this. Pretty much what I was saying previously. =) You have the makings of a very good system but an 8600 GT would be a serious bottleneck for gaming adventures. Personally I think even the 9600 GT is kind of weak for the system but a 9600 GT is gobs better than an 8600 GT. A 9600 GT is a good card for what I would call a "light/medium game player".

This is coming from someone who has a hard time settling when it comes to graphics cards...Waiting for this video card war dust to settle is terrible!!! :bounce:  :whistle:  :pt1cable: 
July 18, 2008 5:55:48 PM

royalcrown said:
I just gotta ask...you paid all that money for a quad and 4 gigs and settled for that weak power suppy, why ? If you game heavily that 8600 will get old fast btw.



The power supply was not customizable. I suppose I could get one of those dedicated graphics card power supplies, but those cost 80 bucks alone.
July 18, 2008 6:25:34 PM

OMG I shudder to thing of anything but a PCPower PSU.
July 18, 2008 6:40:32 PM

Do some research...you could always try something like this...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

that's pretty dang cheap...and there is plenty of power supplies under 80 bucks that should run an 8800 GT 512 or even let you make a stepup in graphics card decision.

Unless you're a "settler" it usually isn't as simple as buy this and go (of course there is exceptions like people who have built their own systems and compensated for room to grow) This is one of the reason's the majority of prebought systems aren't what some of them used to be.
a b U Graphics card
July 18, 2008 6:41:53 PM

Quote:
That site says that 8800GT 512mb (which is what I wanted) runs on a load of 277 watts. Does that mean I can use it?


I recalculated with your system in mind and I conclude you can safely run it.
July 18, 2008 6:44:59 PM

9600 GT is more than fine if ur monitor is 19' or less...i run all games (except crysis) at max settings at native res with 9600.

i dont think u will hav a problem with wattage of ur PSU if u add a 9600GT; however with 12A on 12V rail, i dont think its enough......9600GT needs 25A on 12v and a 8800GT needs 27A or something lik that......

if ur into games i recommend u get a 9600gt or a 3870 at the very least and then add a 450W PSU with 28A

NOTE: I COULD BE RONG: 277W is the require wattage, u have to consider PSU efficiency. most top rated psu is 80% Efficiency. with 80% Efficiency, u need atleast 346W PSU. thats to close to what u have (assuming ur PSU is 80% effecient) and dont forget about the 28A on ur 12v rail
a c 191 U Graphics card
a c 121 ) Power supply
July 18, 2008 6:45:20 PM

I was having a grand time playing Guild Wars and UT2004 on a 7600GT. The 8600GT is a little better. I think you will be satisfied with the performance of a 9600GT. I've tried to look on some manufacturer pages for requirements. Your PSU comes up 1A short for the one you've chosen, but manufacturers tend to be a little conservative knowing how many crap PSUs are out there. I think you can handle this card.
July 18, 2008 6:46:54 PM

I have Guild Wars. It runs at 150-300FPS maxed out settings @ 1680x1050 on my E4600 + 8800GT 512 setup. Frame rates vary so much but I've never seen then below 130FPS.

8800GT can run on a 22A, but it's recommended 26A.
July 18, 2008 7:08:18 PM

I could run Guildwars on my old PC very nicely. I don't care much for the game anymore, but I'd assume this computer would blow it away on its current configuration.



And believe me, if I knew I could replace the PSU, I would. I thought buying a graphics card would be a breeze. All I knew I need was 512mb. Now there's GDDR2, GDDR3, clock speed, and not to mention my dilemma with PSU.

My first graphics card was a 128mb Xtasy Radeon AGP card that I got at BestBuy. This has proven so much harder and so much more frustrating than that was.


I don't want to buy a card that doesn't work with my system, especially one that destroys my system. I've been talked out of an 8800GT already, and a 9600GT sounds to me to be a close call.


I'm going to do some research on Dell Inspiron 530 PSUs. I want to see what other people are saying about them.

There really isn't a rush for this, but I have been searching for a while and really want to start gaming.
July 18, 2008 7:58:45 PM

pcgamer12 said:
I have Guild Wars. It runs at 150-300FPS maxed out settings @ 1680x1050 on my E4600 + 8800GT 512 setup. Frame rates vary so much but I've never seen then below 130FPS.


I've get that or more FPS in Guild Wars. A certain spot in the guild hall I can hit 600 something (been a while since I checked).

If you have never seen below 130 FPS in Guild Wars you have never seen Mad King Thorn in a FULL low district in Lion's Arch! =P :D 
July 18, 2008 8:15:28 PM

Ok, I've just learned that the PSU on the Dell Inspiron 530 is replaceable. They even have a manual on the website for doing so.

I am going to take the advice of everyone that helped me here today, and upgrade my PSU so that I have a happy future with my computer, rather than a limited one.

Now I need a cheap PSU that fits, and is of good wattage. I DO NOT plan on ever doing SLI or Crossfire (I don't have enough ports :)  ). I do not overclock, I do not care to.

I'm thinking of getting a 500W PSU, or higher, given the price is reasonable.



Also, some of you have mentioned that the graphics card war is going on, and prices are going down. I figure I might as well wait for the cheaper prices.
July 18, 2008 8:51:17 PM

i dont want to spend much on a psu, maybe 40 bucks?
July 18, 2008 8:56:50 PM

that isnt the right type for my comp. Mine would need to look like this one:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


also, will the switch in the back fit with my comp? the PSU wont fit up into my case if the switch is bulging it away from where the screws should be securing it.


there is no switch, or hole for a switch to come through on my psu/case.
July 18, 2008 9:00:48 PM

Sounds like you have a good plan there. Now what's your price range on power supplies? ;) 

Definitely make a step up in the graphics to...I'd say go for the 8800 GTS 512 I linked earlier...Or if you're up for spending more the 9800gtx or ATI 4870 (though I still do not know about the driver situation)

Back to power supplies...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
(this one is a good price but I'm not sure about the brand - might see if other posters have an opinion about it)

or

hmmm can't really find and "or" without knowing the price range. I'd say Antec, Corsair, or Kingwin Inc. seem to be pretty good brand name power supplies. Also be sure whatever power supply you get has the connectors you need for what you have now in your computer and the graphics card you set your sights on.
July 18, 2008 9:06:39 PM

that one is incompatible with my case. It has to look like the one i posted earlier. Minus that on/off switch I think
July 18, 2008 9:08:05 PM

Ah ha! I'm late to the party. Musta been typing when you posted the budget. Gonna have to do some searching for 40 bucks. Of course there is that one I posted earlier you mentioned.

I'm confused on your case. It is not open in the back where the power supply is? I can't imagine it is covered as that would block any air flow through the power supply. Most all power supplies should have a standard screw/mounting pattern that would allow for a manual switch on the back or not.
a c 191 U Graphics card
a c 121 ) Power supply
July 18, 2008 9:11:38 PM

It is an old list, but you can start here: http://www.tomswiki.com/page/Tiered+PSU+Listings?t=anon.
If it is listed, choose one from tier-3 or better. If it isn't (e.g. is newer than the list, like an Antec Earthwatts), choose one whose manufacturer has nothing lower than tier-3. Corsair would be great. With a budget of $50, check out FSP; one of the Antec Earthwatts models is typically at a reduced price. Right now, the 430W model at http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... is $65 - $30 MIR. That's a good PSU for $35. I've used this and the slightly bigger 500W model.
July 18, 2008 9:17:04 PM

Is this the back of your computer?

http://i18.ebayimg.com/01/i/000/e9/f5/3114_1.JPG

If so I don't think a manual button on a power supply should be a problem. So far the best picture I can find of what is supposed to be the back of one of those Dells.

July 18, 2008 9:19:44 PM

thegh0st said:
Is this the back of your computer?

http://i18.ebayimg.com/01/i/000/e9/f5/3114_1.JPG

If so I don't think a manual button on a power supply should be a problem. So far the best picture I can find of what is supposed to be the back of one of those Dells.



yes that is. it doesn't seem like there would be any room for a power switch though.
July 18, 2008 9:31:27 PM

Ok if that is your computer backside...

It does not really matter which side the fan is on or how the main power connector/plug is turned one way or another. Probably the best way to get an idea of this is to undo the 4 screw holding your current power supply in ...make sure to unplug your computer first!!!...and just slide it forward a bit. Maybe that will help you visualize better.

What you are seeing on the back now will all come out with the power supply you have (it actually is part of that power supply - its backside so to speak). When you put another power supply in the back will look like whatever power supply you replace it with. The main thing is that the 4 mounting screws line up. The most difficult thing will be plugging everything back in and making sure you did not forget a connector somewhere.
a c 191 U Graphics card
a c 121 ) Power supply
July 18, 2008 9:43:24 PM

That PSU would work, yes. The Earthwatts 430W I linked is more efficient, but you have to play the rebate game to get it for the same price.
July 18, 2008 9:44:23 PM

Onus said:
Ok, you have 25A available on the combined 12V rails (300W/12V).


:hello:  jtt283, mind if ask how calculated he has 25A available? This is just for my own curiosity. I haven't looked this deep into power supplies and this got me to wondering how many amps my current power supply has. I must be looking at specifications incorrectly because it seems like my own power supply shouldn't be enough for my video card.

I even looked on Antec's site.

Usually just make sure it has the watts and connectors I need.

Thanks!
July 18, 2008 9:50:12 PM

willx24x said:
do you think this would be capable of running an 8800gt?


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

it has all the connectors that I would need, not sure about the amps/voltage though.



If you're going to wait on the video card pricing war a bit you might want to consider stepping up the video card. I believe I read it here that nVidia is planning on phasing the 8800 GT 512's out. Depending on how long you wait and if you can find it an 8800 GTS 512 should be just as cheap and give you some more bang for your buck. That's my thought anyways.
July 18, 2008 10:02:49 PM

I can definitely wait on the graphics card. I do however, want to get a usable PSU asap.

When the oppurtunity arises, I want to be able to buy the graphics card I want, not "the only one available to me."

I think I will just go with this one, as the plug is on the correct side, and it should be able to fit, and its cheap.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
a c 191 U Graphics card
a c 121 ) Power supply
July 18, 2008 10:05:54 PM

thegh0st said:
:hello:  jtt283, mind if ask how calculated he has 25A available?



NP. He said the label reads "THE MAXIMUM CONTINUOUS COMBINED OUTPUT POWER (12VA & 12VB) IS 300W."

Power in Watts is Voltage * Amps; or, 300W / 12V = 25A.

You'll notice that this maximum is NOT merely the sum of the amperages of the individual rails, in this case "OUTPUT: +5V ===/ 18A MAX. +12VA ===/ 12A MAX. +12VB===/ 18A MAX. "

...which would be 30A. This is typical of most multi-rail PSUs. I had a Mushkin, for example, that allowed a max of 20A from each of two 12V rails, but a combined maximum of only 28A.

July 18, 2008 11:37:04 PM

I would like to thank everyone who responded to this thread. You have made this decision so much easier for me. I opted to get the 8600GT, because that suits my needs perfectly for right now. In the future, I am sure that I will upgrade my PSU and graphics card, and I will take all the knowledge from this thread with me.

Thank you so much, it means a lot.
a c 191 U Graphics card
a c 121 ) Power supply
July 19, 2008 3:13:22 AM

Happy to help. Have fun.
July 25, 2008 10:53:00 PM

Nice thread. Helpful Info. I have a related question.

I have an older system, play games, and was using a 7300GT card with reasonable results on some older DX9 games, Oblivion, Medieval Total War II, and Civilization IV.

The other day, my 7300GT hit a BSOD and I pulled the card and now have my previous older 6600 card.

I would like to upgrade from my 7300GT to the next, even minor incremental improvement for something around $50.

My Dell Dimension E510 has a stock PSU. When I looked at the specs it said 305W.


I am using a 17 Monitor and Pentium IV CPU.

It seems to me that one needs to watch out for buying a card that needs more power than is available and overheating.

I'm just interested in any small incremental upgrade from my 7300GT without exceeding my other specs.

If somebody has a good suggestion I would be appreciative! Thanks in advance!!!







!