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Best Graphics Card for a Lower Power Machine

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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November 17, 2011 9:12:21 AM

Hello everyone.

I am looking to purchase THE best video card I can get for the lower power of my PSU.

My current power supply is 330W Max and 380 Peak. Unfortunately, upgrading my PSU would be difficult because of the lack of computer repair stores in my area and I lack the knowledge of doing so myself. I don't really have a "max" amount of money I'm looking to spend, I just want the best that my PC has the ability of powering. I am including a picture of my power supply to give you guys more information on it. I will be using this graphics card for games such as SWTOR and WoW. My current card runs WoW just fine, but unfortunately SWTOR is A LOT more graphic intensive and my current Radeon HD 4550 card can barely handle it.

Thank you all in advance!

a b U Graphics card
November 17, 2011 9:40:02 AM

You have 15 amps on the +12V rail so that's the most you'll be able to use for a video card. Find a card as close to but without going over 180 watts under maximum load and that's the best you'll be able to do. However, seeing the label closely, I can see that 216 watts is the maximum. You should always have some extra padding on that, about 75 or so, meaning that, instead of 180, it's actually 140 watts. If the PSU is old (a few years), then the limit is even lower. You won't be able to get much with 120 to 140 watts for a video card, but there are still some decent options around like the HD 6770, 6790, or GeForce 550 Ti or 560. Check power usage sites for video cards to see how much the card itself draws. The extra "padding" comes from the CPU, hard disks, and other such things.
November 17, 2011 8:36:53 PM

ulillillia said:
You have 15 amps on the +12V rail so that's the most you'll be able to use for a video card. Find a card as close to but without going over 180 watts under maximum load and that's the best you'll be able to do. However, seeing the label closely, I can see that 216 watts is the maximum. You should always have some extra padding on that, about 75 or so, meaning that, instead of 180, it's actually 140 watts. If the PSU is old (a few years), then the limit is even lower. You won't be able to get much with 120 to 140 watts for a video card, but there are still some decent options around like the HD 6770, 6790, or GeForce 550 Ti or 560. Check power usage sites for video cards to see how much the card itself draws. The extra "padding" comes from the CPU, hard disks, and other such things.


I took a look at the GTX 550 Ti and at the bottom of the specifications page it says "Maximum Graphics Card Power (W) 116W." That's the specification I'm looking for correct? If so, this one should be able to work with my PSU right? I apologize for the bombardment of questions, I'm kind of new at this lol
!