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Please recommend a GPU for WoW on a 300w PSU?

I am looking for a new video card to play WoW on ultra settings with 1680X1050 resolution. I'd also like to be able to play some of the more recent video games (Skyrim, Portal 2, etc) at decent settings. Here are my specs:

Dell Inspiron 580, Intel Core i3-550 (4mb cache, 3.2 ghz)
6gb DDR3 SDRAM

I am a newb when it comes to this stuff. I read that my dell model has a 300w PSU. I've been reading that some video cards recommend 400+w, but that they will run on a 300w. I have read this for cards like the Radeon HD 5670 and the HD 6670. I've scanned previous posts, and there are conflicting reports about using these cards with a 300w (some say no problem b/c the card doesn't approach 300w, others say you have to upgrade the PSU).

Can anyone confirm/deny that these cards will run on my system, and if either would suit my needs? Also, is there a better card that might also work on my system?

And I would rather not upgrade the PSU since I'm a light gamer and I don't want to invest too much into this venture. I will upgrade it though if that's my only option.

Thanks
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  1. Hi,

    It is definitely recommended that you not plan what hardware you can run with a given PSU. You should go the other way around, in reality.

    Here is a good PSU calculator: http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jsp

    A great PSU will be $40-$80, depending where you go & how patient you are. It is important to remember that you need to consider the power on the 12v rail.


    Some PSU's:
    http://www.svc.com/ocz700gxssli-b.html
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007657%204801&IsNodeId=1&name=Mail-in%20Rebate
  2. a 9500gt

    an 8600gs
  3. a Radeon HD 5670(please note this is not a beast of a card, but fairly power efficient) should not take more then about 60 watts in very hardcore gaming. Your cpu is no power hog either.

    That said, you should see how many amps your power supply can provide on the 12 volt rail.

    If the power supply lists multi rails, do not just add them, look for a combined 12 volt rail power.

    Here is a giant list of video cards and how much power they take at different states(idle load ect)
    http://forums.atomicmpc.com.au/index.php?showtopic=264
  4. I wouldnt recommend much on a dell stock power supply. Ive seen more dell power supplies fail than a regular aftermarket power supply. Its like a ticking time bomb because they use crap power supplies
  5. I would definitely recommend the 5670, since it will most certainly run on a 300W generic power supply (or I just screwed alot of people over by telling them it would). At the current moment, it stands as the best GPU to run on that power supply at that price point.
  6. Deemo13 said:
    I would definitely recommend the 5670, since it will most certainly run on a 300W generic power supply (or I just screwed alot of people over by telling them it would). At the current moment, it stands as the best GPU to run on that power supply at that price point.

    With a good 300 watt, you are more then right. Personally am a little more brave(its not even brave, its all calculated and comes well under 300 watts) with a 5770 on a 300 watt :). Not that i recommend it to people.
  7. Thanks for the responses. I'm a bit of a newb, so bear with me here.

    Juniper - I went to the website. If I understand it correctly, I input my parameters and the video card I'm thinking of buying. If the recommended wattage is below 300, the card should be fine? How accurate do the parameters have to be, b/c I'm sure I inputted some wrong (e.g. I have 6gb ram but no idea how many sticks, reg or high rpm sata, etc.).

    Nuke - I'm afraid I don't understand the amps and rails. I looked at the website, and if I'm reading the chart right, then both the 5670 and 6670 are coming in way under 300w.

    Maxio - I've read several posters in this forum who say they trust dell power supplies more than 3rd party. I'm not saying you're wrong, but I certainly don't know who's right.

    Deemo - I hope you're right about the 5670. Do you know if it will play wow on max settings?

    Thanks guys
  8. confusedinlv said:
    Thanks for the responses. I'm a bit of a newb, so bear with me here.

    Juniper - I went to the website. If I understand it correctly, I input my parameters and the video card I'm thinking of buying. If the recommended wattage is below 300, the card should be fine? How accurate do the parameters have to be, b/c I'm sure I inputted some wrong (e.g. I have 6gb ram but no idea how many sticks, reg or high rpm sata, etc.).

    Nuke - I'm afraid I don't understand the amps and rails. I looked at the website, and if I'm reading the chart right, then both the 5670 and 6670 are coming in way under 300w.

    Maxio - I've read several posters in this forum who say they trust dell power supplies more than 3rd party. I'm not saying you're wrong, but I certainly don't know who's right.

    Deemo - I hope you're right about the 5670. Do you know if it will play wow on max settings?

    Thanks guys


    I am going to attempt to explain amps and rails to you (bear with me)

    Take an average 300W power supply. Think of a rail as a power line. Certain things use certain sized power lines. There are a few different rails that I can't remember, I believe 3.3v, 5v, etc. Making something like a 300W PSU is just the addition of the power on the rails. If the 3.3v rail has 100W, the 5v rail has 100W, and the 12v rail (the graphics card one) has 100W, then the power supply would be 300W.

    A graphics card will use the power from the 12v power line, and therefore to power a very high end card, one will need alot of amps on a 12v rail to power it. Most of the time, we assume that on a 300W PSU, there are not very many amps on the 12V rail.

    Going to what was said above, Dell power supplies are not great by any means, but I will agree they are of much better quality than those of HP and other computer brands.

    If the 5670 does not play WoW on the highest settings, it will do it close to high, or might bog down in fights with many units or whatever (have never played WoW, bear with me).
  9. Wow, DellUser where are you ?

    A lot of people here who know what they are talking about say Dell psu's are pretty good.

    There are a lot of Dell pc's being sold, specially at offices so it's not surpricing there are more failing Dell's than others imo.

    You can run a 6670 on a Dell 300W. ( not knowing from my own experience but i trust the veterans, addicts and experts here enough to repeat what they say )
  10. Deemo,

    Thx for the explanation. How do I know the watts that my 12v will use? Is it on the power supply itself?

    Also, are there any stronger cards over the 5670 that you would feel safe with a 300w?
  11. The 5670 (or the 6670 - they are the same I believe) is the strongest card you can run on a 300 watt power supply.
  12. Best answer
    confusedinlv said:
    Deemo,

    Thx for the explanation. How do I know the watts that my 12v will use? Is it on the power supply itself?

    Also, are there any stronger cards over the 5670 that you would feel safe with a 300w?


    The 5670 is the strongest I would recommend on a 300W PSU. Sure, you could run something higher, but don't say you got the idea from me when it blows up. I won't recommend something higher despite it being able to work since I would not like to be held accountable for someone's house catching fire.

    On the side of the PSU there is a label. It will show how many amp there are on a 12v rail. most of the time, if you want, you can ask around here and say "will this run on that" and most of the time the very nice people here on Tom's will help you through the process of choosing something to fit your needs and wants.

    For example, a Nvidia 9800GT, one of the most popular cards of all time, uses close to 18-20 amps on the 12v rail. If you have more than 20 or so, you should be fine (correct me if I'm wrong, I'm open to learning). The label is pretty obvious on the side, and most of the time it is readable for the computer noob.
  13. I went with the 5670. Thanks for all the help.
  14. Best answer selected by confusedinlv.
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