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How much PSU load is too much?

I am thinking of upgrading my GPU from a 6850 to a 7870 but was wondering if my current 550w psu is big enough to handle it, also on a related note how much % wise of a psus total wattage is the recommended max before it puts too much stain on it?
Specs
AMD Phenom II X4 955 BE
ASUS M5A97 AM3+
PowerColor AX6850 1GB Radeon HD 6850
Antec BP550 Plus 550W
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB DDR 1333
Seagate Barracuda 1TB 7200 RPM
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More about load much
  1. Best answer
    The HD 7870 will draw almost 15A on the +12V rail(s) and require 175W of power from the rail when it is maxed out. Looking at the specs of your Antec, it appears to have the capability in the wattage and amperage area. And it has the necessary 6 pin connectors. Try it and see how it performs. If you experience shut downs or re-boots gaming, it will be because the PSU can't maintain the voltage when the card is maxed out. But I have built several of those 550W Antecs with similar demanding cards and had no problem.
  2. Thanks, I only thought of whether my PSU could handle a more demanding card after I bought it but hopefully it will be just fine.
  3. Best answer selected by P12.
  4. Edit:
    I didn't mean to say "I have built several of those 550W Antecs..."
    I meant to say "I have built PCs with several of those 550W Antecs..."
    Just thought I'd clear that up.
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