Looking at upgrading my graphics card, couple questions.

I have a 6770 in my prebuilt Dell XPS 8500 computer. This is OK for most games, but I'm looking to run Crysis when it comes out. I have looked at the 7870 and I have most of my questions answered but a few.

The computer only has a 460W power supply, and I ran my computers specs through numerous PSU calculators, and at max load on all components gave me a minimum PSU wattage of 410W and recommended of 450W. That being said, is it OK for me to upgrade?

Second, what do I actually have to do when replacing a graphics card? I know how to physically replace it, but what do I have to do about drivers, etc.?

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More about looking upgrading graphics card couple questions
  1. the PSU is quite fine. most all online calculators overestimate what is really needed to compensate for lower quality PSUs, such as ones that do not have a strong 12 volt rail.

    if you have been updating the drivers for your existing graphics card, you have nothing else to be concerned about.
  2. Thanks, the computer is < 1 year old so I assume that capacitor degradation is nothing to worry about.

    Would having an overclocked version of the card make a difference in required watts? I was looking at this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125418 I'm not sure if it's overclocked or not.

    Thanks for the help
  3. capacitors do not age chronologically as most people think; heat ages them. heat is caused by inefficiency; a 75% PSU will supply 75 watts for every 100 watts it draws fomr the wall, the other 25% (or watts in this case) is "lost" in heat.

    so therefore, better more efficient PSUs capacitors will last longer. keeping the idle above 20% and maximum under 80% is ideal and helps keeping the PSU from getting too hot.

    (sorry about the lecture)

    most non reference cards like what you are looking at, don't have too much of a difference in wattage. manufacturer raises the core speed without raising the voltages in most cases. a slight OC like that card will only need a slight more in power consumption. (~5 watts more)

    when folks get cards and raise the voltage to help increase the core clock, then the power consumption can increase substantially 10%-40% more (thats percent not watts; a lot more)
  4. The wattage of the psu is not as important as the amps it can deliver on the +12v leads.
    A pre built pc will often have a psu just strong enough to power the configuration you bought.

    In this case, if the psu has the two 6 pin connectors that a 7870 needs, you should be ok.
    If you will need to use molex to 6 pin adapters, I would be cautious.

    If you can look at the data plate, see if you can tell how many amps or (watts/12) the psu can deliver just on the combined +12v rails.
    Most of the time, you are looking at a 500w psu.
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