Question: Mid Wattage Vid Card w/ Low Wattage PSU

I purchased a computer assuming I could install my own Vid Card. However, I found that it was built with only a 300W PSU. I want to install a PNY XLR8 GeForce 9800 GT, but this states its requires a 400W PSU. I have an HP P6270z with an AMD Phenom 2 (x4)820 Processor (2.8 GHz). 4 Gigs DDR3 RAM. Running Windows 7 (64) pro. Only one optical drive (DVD, not BluRay). Currently using integrated graphics. Little else is connected to the power supply. Is it possible to connect this GPU (it receives its power from the mobo) without causing damage? Or do I truly need to upgrade the PSU? Many thanks
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  1. Hi mayaboy,

    A 9800GT would be right on the line of what would be considered safe, and would depend on the quality of your power supply.

    There are some newer cards that would offer similar performance while using less power. I think a 5670, or the ddr5 version of the GT 240 would be a good choices for you.

    Power usage:


    Read the entire article I just linked from here:,2533.html

    2 notes:
    *Upgrading the PSU is always a good option if you are considering it. It will make your whole system more energy efficient, quieter, more stable etc. I have a corsair 400cx ($39 after MIR) and its is fantastic.
    * The 8800GT in the graph above is the same as the 9800GT you are considering. (9800 was a rebadge) However yours appears to be an "energy efficient version" so I guess its slightly less--but we have no way of knowing.
  2. THANKS!! Great info.

    Follow-up question: What would be the negative side effect of installing a GPU that was too much for the PSU (and when the GPU's power is routed through the MOBO)? Would it risk damaging any components besides the PSU?
  3. The most likely option is that it would just shut down or get hot and not run well--However, there is an increased risk of the power supply burning up and potentially damaging your other components. Its not a great risk... but it does happen.

    Getting a new power supply is the better option if you aren't really tight on funds. Corsair, Antec, OCZ, and Seasonic are the best quality brands.

    I have a Corsair 400cx($39 after MIR on newegg)-- it runs silently, is more than 80% energy efficient, and blows cool air out of the back of my case. Also, since its such a high quality brand the amperage on the 12v rail is even enough to run all of the cards that ask for 450 or 500w power supplies.
  4. Oh, I'm tight on funds. But even the remote possiblity of frying another portion of my system is a much more expensive option than buying a new PSU!

    Thanks for the advice. I've looked into a few low-cost alternatives, including Corsair and Thermaltake, and you seem to have picked a good one with the Corsair 400cx. There are cheaper ones on the market, but I don't want a blow-out with a newly built PC.

    Thanks again!
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