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Want to upgrade video card - should I upgrade my PSU first?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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March 9, 2012 11:56:57 PM

Hello. So, I recently obtained a new computer - a Dell Inspiron 570 desktop computer.

It has an onboard video card - an ATI Radeon HD 4200. It's not the best. So, I wanted to purchase a low-power dedicated graphics card. I was looking at a Sapphire Radeon HD 6670. The computer's PSU's only 300W, but I did a power calculation on a website (Extreme Power Calculation, I think), and the result for the computer was around 177w idle and 222w under stress, though I might not have done it right... Since the card doesn't have a fan and only pulls power (max of 75w?) from the PCI-E connector, I thought that I would be alright. :??:  Any suggestions on how to proceed here? Any good quality lower-power graphics cards out there?

EDIT: I do know that the Sapphire recommends more wattage for the overall computer... What's the worse that could happen if I put a low-power card in my computer? It wouldn't blow it up or anything, right? :pt1cable: 

I'll probably also check the PSU itself to see its actual watt value as opposed to Dell's mention of it (hopefully it's more).

EDIT 2: I'm big on gaming and game design, but my previous card was a fairly old 256-MB NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX, which performed well (Portal 2 was fine on it). So, anything that's just a bit more powerful than that and pretty cheap would be fine, really.

EDIT 3: By the way, my monitor's max resolution (which is what I'm using) is 1360x768.

EDIT 4: Whoops, that wasn't the exact computer that I have. Changed the first link.
March 10, 2012 2:14:11 AM

Kind of a bump - I read a lot on different forums that the HD 6670 only draws 50-60w or so, which is good... I'm not trying to blow out my computer, though...
a c 175 U Graphics card
March 10, 2012 2:22:49 AM

Actually, you should be fine on putting 6670 with the rest of your specs in a 300W PSU, Sapphire is overrating 6670 and so AMD. 300W should be doing the job. Buying 6670 is better than old GTX and 6670 will be fine on your resolution
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March 10, 2012 8:38:29 AM

Good to hear. Another question - If the card's not getting enough power, could the card harm the PSU in any way, or would the card just fail? If this was a bad decision, would I be able to 'reverse' it by just taking out the card? Just want to make sure. ;) 

EDIT: I'm pretty comfortable around computers, usually. I just can't really afford to mess up this particular one, which is why I'm so cautious. :p 
a b U Graphics card
March 10, 2012 8:55:19 AM

SolarLune said:
Good to hear. Another question - If the card's not getting enough power, could the card harm the PSU in any way, or would the card just fail? If this was a bad decision, would I be able to 'reverse' it by just taking out the card? Just want to make sure. ;) 

EDIT: I'm pretty comfortable around computers, usually. I just can't really afford to mess up this particular one, which is why I'm so cautious. :p 


Can you find a model number for the power supply or look at the sticker and see how many amps are on each rail?

And yes, running a cheaper generic PSU at near full load for an extended period of time could result in a failure. In that event, the PSU could just die and need to be replaced. It can also die and take some other stuff with it. If you are that concerned about it. Get the Corsair CX430 V2, its like $25 after rebate.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
March 10, 2012 1:33:08 PM

Here's a photo of the PSU.



And this - the cords going back behind the PSU - looks standard, right? Not like something that I couldn't swap out myself? It doesn't look fused to the motherboard or anything.



Man, I really wish I didn't have to upgrade the PSU. Is it possible that I get a faulty PSU? What would happen in that case (just want to weigh my options)?

EDIT: I still have the NVIDIA GTX card (two of them, actually), so if I upgrade the PSU, I could use that, right? But the PSU would have to have the same connectors on it as currently, plus one for the card's 8-pin external power port...
a b U Graphics card
March 10, 2012 6:53:13 PM

The HD6670 should be fine being power by that Hipro. It is one of the more well-built OEM PSUs.

Out of curiousity, what Nvidia GTX cards do you have? I would probably stick with the HD6670 since you will likely be CPU bottlenecked in games with that dual core CPU.
March 11, 2012 6:16:49 AM

I have two of them - 256MB NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTXs, with an SLI chip between. Or is that not what you meant?

EDIT: But I can't use them both with my Dell's motherboard - it only has one real PCI-E slot for a video card (it actually has two, but they're facing opposite directions), so I'm guessing I can only use one, which is the black one.
a c 355 U Graphics card
March 11, 2012 6:50:09 AM

If you can afford $110 then the HD 7750 would be the best video card you can buy for a 300w PSU. It uses less power than the HD 6670.

http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/HD_7750/6.html

If you can't afford the HD 7750, then HD 6670 is your best choice.
March 11, 2012 7:11:19 AM

Don't have $110 on me right now, but I might soon. Maybe I'll wait until I've got some more cash to spend.

Also seems to me that watt requirement values are kind of useless - I mean, a card might say that it needs '450w', but that's for the whole system, not how much the card needs. I might have a system that's only 200w, but that could run the card, as opposed to a system that has 450w, but has 440w worth of stuff plugged in. :\
a b U Graphics card
March 11, 2012 7:38:52 AM

SolarLune said:
I have two of them - 256MB NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTXs, with an SLI chip between. Or is that not what you meant?

EDIT: But I can't use them both with my Dell's motherboard - it only has one real PCI-E slot for a video card (it actually has two, but they're facing opposite directions), so I'm guessing I can only use one, which is the black one.


The HD6670 is better than those old 7800 GTXs.
a c 84 U Graphics card
March 11, 2012 9:51:19 AM

yes the hd 6670 is better then that it will be fine with your 300w psu no need to worry.

edit:- if u can collect some money and get a hd 7750 which doesnt consumes that much power and performs better then hd 6670 and works like hd 6770 so that will be the better way to upgrade a graphic card.:) 
March 13, 2012 4:27:40 PM

Welp, I ended up going with the HD 7750. Got 2-day shipping from ShopRunner. Thanks for the advice, guys. Hope everything goes well, now. :) 
!