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7870... and a 6-year old PSU

I'm currently using an old gaming rig from 2007. Q6600, 6GB DDR2 RAM, and 8800GT. I'm entertaining the idea of upgrading the GPU to a 7870. My main worry is the power supply.

My PSU is an AcBel 607W from 2007. According to the manufacturer specs, it has three +12v at 20A giving 480W. Is that enough to run a single 7870 card? If not, then then what kind of GPU upgrade would my PSU be able to handle?

I'd prefer not to upgrade the PSU itself. The computer is almost 6 years old, and I'd rather not sink any more money upgrading such an old rig.
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More about 7870 year
  1. I wouldnt trust it or use it for that matter. What would cost more a better power supply or the new system you will have buy/build when this power supply goes and damages the entire system
  2. In terms of wattage, you are absolutely fine, but I think it should only be a short term solution.

    It does have 3 +12V rails, but it's capped at a wattage as if it only has two 20A rails. This could mean a few things, but I'd be slightly concerned about how those rails are wired. The great thing about a single rail PSU is that you don't really need to worry about this.

    More significantly, PSUs don't last forever, a 6year old PSU if it's been used on a daily basis, is probably ready for the scrapheap.

    If you are hypothetically buying a new graphics card now and building a new PC later in the year, its probably fine.
    If you intend to use this setup for an extended period, get a quality PSU you can transfer into a new machine. A modern 550-600W PSU can run (more or less) any modern graphics card and gives you plenty of scope.
  3. bignastyid said:
    I wouldnt trust it or use it for that matter. What would cost more a better power supply or the new system you will have buy/build when this power supply goes and damages the entire system



    I don't think it makes sense to replace the PSU just because it's 6 years old. I mean... almost every other component in this computer is also 6 years old. If I were to replace components just because of its age, then I'd have to replace the entire computer.
  4. Where did I say to replace it just because it was old? All I said was I would trust or use it. Now being old is a factor as capacitors age over time(especially the cheap ones). I would replace this PSU because its old, and it wasn't very good even when it was new. It very well may run the new card but given the poor build quality and age of the unit there is a very good possibility of catastrophic failure due to the added power requirements of the new gpu, when this happens its very likely when the PSU fails some to all of the hardware attached to it can be damaged.
  5. Rammy said:
    If you are hypothetically buying a new graphics card now and building a new PC later in the year, its probably fine.

    If you intend to use this setup for an extended period, get a quality PSU you can transfer into a new machine. A modern 550-600W PSU can run (more or less) any modern graphics card and gives you plenty of scope.



    Therein lies my problem. I don't fancy building another gaming rig after this old one bites the dust. My next PC is going to be one of those low-power, low footprint affairs. A 600W PSU would not be something that carries over to my next computer.

    I'm offloading all my gaming needs to the next gen consoles, presumably in 1 or 2 yrs (if my computer even lasts that long). Until then, I was hoping a 7870 would tide me over. If a 7870 is iffy, I'm open to trying a 7850 or any lower power GPU that would work with my current rig.
  6. Components do age though. It depends hugely on how they are used of course, both in terms of time, usage and how well they are kept cool, but some components will wear more than others.
    CPUs for example will (more or less) last forever as long as everything supporting them works fine.
    PSUs are on the other end of the scale, in that they are likely to become less efficient and less consistent with their voltage regulation. Cheap power supplies often come with no warranty (other than statutory consumer rights in your country) and the highest quality ones tend to give a 5year warranty, occasionally 7. It's hardly an exact science, but if even high quality PSUs are offering 5year warranties, a cheap 6 year old PSU is not likely to be in fantastic shape.

    Your problem as I see it is that the data for your PSU is only valid when it was new, and that's assuming it was even remotely accurate to start with. 480W on 12V is more than enough for a HD7870, but nobody knows what your PSU is actually capable of these days. We can tell you that it should be absolutely fine, based on the numbers available, but not how well it will work in practice.
  7. Which Radeon HD 7870 graphics card brand and model are you planning on using?

    There is the newest edition that uses the AMD Tahiti LE GPU and then there is the original Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition that uses the AMD Pitcairn XT GPU.

    The Tahiti LE based cards consume more power (i.e. ~66 Watts more) than the Pitcairn XT based cards during gaming.
  8. bignastyid said:
    I would replace this PSU because its old, and it wasn't very good even when it was new. It very well may run the new card but given the poor build quality and age of the unit there is a very good possibility of catastrophic failure



    Maybe I have low standards, but I don't think the quality of my PSU is that terrible. For a few months, I even had this PSU running a 2900XT on an overlocked Q6600 with no issues whatsoever. If you recall, the 2900XT was a huge power draw back in the day.

    Anyway, this generic PSU has been running problem-free for 6 years now... so it can't be that bad. :D
  9. ko888 said:
    Which Radeon HD 7870 graphics card brand and model are you planning on using?

    There is the newest edition that uses the AMD Tahiti LE GPU and then there is the original Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition that uses the AMD Pitcairn XT GPU.

    The Tahiti LE based cards consume more power (i.e. ~66 Watts more) than the Pitcairn XT based cards during gaming.



    Hmmm... I wasnt aware of that. Thanks for letting me know. I won't push my luck with the Tahiti LE, that's for sure. :)
  10. Rammy said:
    480W on 12V is more than enough for a HD7870, but nobody knows what your PSU is actually capable of these days. We can tell you that it should be absolutely fine, based on the numbers available, but not how well it will work in practice.


    Thanks, that's really what I was trying to get a confirmation for.


    Rammy said:


    Your problem as I see it is that the data for your PSU is only valid when it was new, and that's assuming it was even remotely accurate to start with.


    I'm aware of that risk, and it's a risk I'm willing to take. I was just worried that the PSU claimed specs wasn't even up to snuff. I actually had this PSU running a 2900XT back in 2007. Unless I'm mistaken, the 2900XT might've been an even bigger power draw than the vanilla 7870 is now.
  11. Best answer
    For a system using a single AMD reference design Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition graphics card AMD specifies a minimum of a 500 Watt or greater system power supply. The power supply should also have a maximum combined +12 Volt continuous current rating of 28 Amps or greater and have at least two 6-pin PCI Express supplementary power connectors.

    Total Power Supply Wattage is NOT the crucial factor in power supply selection!!! Sufficient Total Combined Continuous Power/Current Available on the +12V Rail(s) rated at 45°C - 50°C ambient temperature, is the most critical factor.

    Overclocking of the CPU and/or GPU(s) will require an additional increase to the maximum combined +12 Volt continuous current ratings, recommended above, to meet the increase in power required for the overclock. The additional amount required will depend on the magnitude of the overclock being attempted.

    The AcBel Polytech R8 series 607 Watt (API5PC38) power supply unit, with its maximum combined +12 Volt continuous current rating of 40 Amps and with two (6+2)-pin PCI Express supplementary power connectors, is more than sufficient to power your system configuration with a single Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition graphics card.

    I don't think you're going to have any problem.

    The Radeon HD 2900 XT consumes around 35 Watts more than a Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition under a typical gaming load.
  12. Best answer selected by hauser6792.
  13. ko888 said:
    For a system using a single AMD reference design Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition graphics card AMD specifies a minimum of a 500 Watt or greater system power supply. The power supply should also have a maximum combined +12 Volt continuous current rating of 28 Amps or greater and have at least two 6-pin PCI Express supplementary power connectors.

    Total Power Supply Wattage is NOT the crucial factor in power supply selection!!! Sufficient Total Combined Continuous Power/Current Available on the +12V Rail(s) rated at 45°C - 50°C ambient temperature, is the most critical factor.

    Overclocking of the CPU and/or GPU(s) will require an additional increase to the maximum combined +12 Volt continuous current ratings, recommended above, to meet the increase in power required for the overclock. The additional amount required will depend on the magnitude of the overclock being attempted.

    The AcBel Polytech R8 series 607 Watt (API5PC38) power supply unit, with its maximum combined +12 Volt continuous current rating of 40 Amps and with two (6+2)-pin PCI Express supplementary power connectors, is more than sufficient to power your system configuration with a single Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition graphics card.

    I don't think you're going to have any problem.

    The Radeon HD 2900 XT consumes around 35 Watts more than a Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition under a typical gaming load.



    Wow, very informative. The 2900XT ran flawlessly on this PSU flawlessly back in '07. If it turns out this can't handle the 7870, it would only be because of its age. That's a reasonable risk I'm willing to take.

    Thanks to everyone for their help :)
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