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Looking at upgrading my graphics card, couple questions.

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
October 12, 2012 9:04:02 PM

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.?

October 12, 2012 9:10:58 PM

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.
October 12, 2012 9:15:57 PM

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: I'm not sure if it's overclocked or not.

Thanks for the help
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October 13, 2012 12:35:29 AM

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)
October 13, 2012 1:20:41 AM

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.