I always intended to drop a Radeon HD 6xxx series in for some moderate gaming, but then I realized that Radeon require's 400watt PSU's. Many online forums I've read have stated that Radeon greatly exaggerates its spec's, and that people in my situation are fine.
In addition, all the top PC brands (dell, hp, gateway) offer upgrades on graphics cards - to include that radeon 6xxx series), that require more power than the standard PSU is rated for. Why would they do this if it weren't safe?
My question is, should I just install a Radeon and hope nothing explodes? Or should I replace my PSU? (If so, how much would a 450ish Watt PSU cost, and where is a good place to buy?)
Something like the HD 7750 or HD 6670 would probably be OK but if you can afford to get a better PSU I would. It's not the wattage I'd worry about, just the general quality of the PSU in a prebuilt is usually pretty low.
When they offer upgraded graphics cards they will upgrade the PSU to match, notice how the PSU model is never (or very rarely) advertised.
Great info though, thanks. I did some more research..the Nvidia GeForce 440 only requires 300 watts, so I'm safe there. The Graphics hierarchy chart on this page lists the 440 just 4 spots below the one you mentioned, and just 2 spots below the Radeon 6570 that I had initially wanted. Not bad I guess! Esp when one considers how far down Intel integrated cards are...
With an i5 w/ 6 cache and Turbo, and 8 GB ram, I think a modest card like the Geforce 440 will do the trick.. I simply want to play World of Warcraft with decent fps and medium settings.. I assume my set up will accomplish this?
The GT 440 would probably be OK for WoW. If you can afford the HD 7750 I'd go for that though. I would imagine you would get medium settings and playable framerates on the GT 440 and ultra high settings with smooth framerates on the HD 7750. They both consume about the same amount of power.