Graphic Card Upgrade

Hello, my computer is about 4 years old and i've been wanting to upgrade the graphics card for awhile but was always concerned about the PSU.

I have a Hipro HP_W700W C3 that came with my Alienware PC. It's a 700W PSU which seems to have enough power to power most video cards but my issue is with understanding the importance of the 12v rails which i'm not sure is good enough for todays cards.

The PSU label reads as follows.
main output
3.3v 24A max
+5v 24A max
+12v1 16A (18max 10sec)
+12v2 16A (18max 10sec)
+12v3 16A (18max 10sec)
+12v4 16A (18max 10sec)

I am currently running an Nvidia Geforce 8600GTS from evga. Best I can tell is that the card requires +22A on the 12v rails, which looks like mine are only 16A which makes me wonder how my card even works or why Alienware would give me that PSU.

I haven't had any issues with the card or PSU. I'm just not sure if i'm understanding the PSU label correctly.

Anyways I was wondering if someone would be so kind as to tell me if my PSU would be compatible with a Radeon 6850?

After searching awhile I read someone claim that the 6850 requires 25A on the 12v rails, if that is accurate.

Thanks in advance.
7 answers Last reply
More about graphic card upgrade
  1. It is the combined for all rails that counts, manufacturers rating is for the total system! 16 amps equals 192 watts per rail, it should be sufficient to run the HD6850.
  2. you actually have a single rail that has been split 4x. you will have no issue running the ATI 6850
  3. So should I even be looking at the Amps on the 12v rails or is the 700w rating all I need to go by?

    What would be the max amps my PSU can provide? Add up all 4 rails for 64A? For the longest time I believed the 16A per rail was limiting my graphic card choices, so I was looking for a card that required low amps like the 6850.

    Does that mean that my PSU support a better card then the HD 6850?

    What I should have asked in my opening post was with money not a factor, what kind of limitation do I have in choosing a graphics card?

    Will my PSU be able to support an HD 5870 or Geforce 480?

    Can my PSU support dual Nvidia graphics cards? I can only do SLI with 680i MB btw.
  4. Your PSU is good enough to support two GTX 460 1GB cards in SLI..
  5. Your combined +12 volt power is 600watts=50 amps, so if a system with the card requires less than 50 amps according to manufacturers recommendation it will run it.
  6. Sweet, thanks so much for your help.

    I will put some thought into doing 2 GTX 460's in SLI, but I think i'll wait until the Radeon 6900's comeout and decide.
  7. Omgwtfbbqkitten said:
    I think i'll wait until the Radeon 6900's comeout and decide.

    Good call.. It might bring down current video card prices also..
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