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Thread: Upgrade PSU?

  1. #1

    Question Upgrade PSU?

    I just bought an Nvidia GeForce FX 5200 PCI graphics card for my computer and under it's requirements, it states that I need to have a 250v power supply.

    My computer does have a 250v psu but some have told me that I would need to upgrade my psu (power supply unit) because of this graphics card. I've tried those online power calculators but none of them seem to be accurate. Any ideas or suggestions? Do I really need to uprade or am I fine with the psu I have right now? Here is my system info:

    Processor Intel Pentium 4, 3000 MHz w/ HT technology
    Motherboard Dell Computer Corp. 0N6381
    Video Intel(R) 82865G Graphics Controller
    Memory 766 MB
    Disk Drives C:\ NTFS 34522 MB
    E:\ FAT32 78140 MB
    CD/DVD Drives _NEC DVD+RW ND-3100AD (48X)
    Operating System Windows XP 5.1.2600 SP2
    Floppy Drive
    Creative SoundBlaster Live! 24-bit PCI card
    Modem PCI card
    Microsoft Wireless Desktop Pro reciever

    I think those are all of the internal and external components that require power drawn from my system. Any help and suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I don't mind buying a new psu, I just fear that installing a new one could cause complications such as not having enough connectors to connect all of my devices, etc.

  2. #2
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    Welcome to the PC Guide forums! Hope you get all the help you need! (And maby help others along the way)


    Well, I would upgrade to at least a 400 watt PSU, this allows for all the power needed and if you upgrade (an extra HD for example) there is no need to upgrade the PSU again.
    mIkE

    AMDX2 4200+
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    Koolance watercooled: CPU, VPU, RAM, HD, NB

  3. #3
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    How many fans are you running?

    http://www.firingsquad.com/guides/power_supply/
    Lighten up! --- A merry heart does good like a medicine. (Proverbs 17:22)

  4. #4

    Not sure.

    Oh gosh, I'm really not sure. Here's a general pic I found on google. http://www.billigdrucker.de/images/h...-3000_back.jpg

  5. #5
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    I would encourage you to read the "firingsquad" article I linked to above. It will help you to determine whether your system is marginal or not for your current supply.

    How old is your system? Have you ever looked "under the hood" to see how many fans you have? If your system is a year old you could be in need of some house cleaning. Dust collects on your heatsink, fans, and other motherboard components. The dust build up can create problems.

    You'll need to have a peek anyway since you will be installing your new graphics card...
    Lighten up! --- A merry heart does good like a medicine. (Proverbs 17:22)

  6. #6
    Do I need to base my psu upgrade on the number of fans? It will be a yeard old come September and I actually cleaned it several weeks ago when I installed my sound card.

    I just really hoped that I could use my GeForce FX5200 without having to upgrade my psu. Thank you for the link, it's a little confusing but I'll read it until I get it. lol

  7. #7
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    Do I need to base my psu upgrade on the number of fans?
    As you will see from the article, the majority of power supplys used to concentrate power to the 5 volt rail/supply line...today's computers put a heavy drain on the 12 volt rail. Your fans are all 12 volt as are a number of other components including today's processors.

    The rails in a power supply are pretty much pre-fixed. In other words, they cannot change and allocate power where it may be needed. If you're drawing more heavily on the 12 volt rail than it can handle, you could experience freeze-ups...

    If you have any questions as you go through the article, please don't hesitate to ask here in the forum...
    Lighten up! --- A merry heart does good like a medicine. (Proverbs 17:22)

  8. #8
    I now understand how power consumption can be distributed between those three rails but it's hard for me to place my graphics card in there and calculate from there. I apologize for my ignorance but the article seems to focus on the processor and from the information, I have interpretted it as this: "If my graphics card runs on the same rail or rails as my processor and motherboard, I might run into trouble." Is this the sort of thing I should be using the tables within the article to conclude?

  9. #9
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    250W is a marginal power supply even for just the basics. But again, it depends on how the power is distributed based on your systems needs. Yes, you could run into trouble if there's not much "wiggle room" between what you current power supply has to offer and what you actually need.

    I would work my way through the article and do the calculations and then look at your power supply. It will tell you how the 250W is divvied up between the rails.
    Lighten up! --- A merry heart does good like a medicine. (Proverbs 17:22)

  10. #10
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    Woah! Woah! Everyone stop right now! There are several red flags here that have gone unnoticed!

    First of all, this system is a Dell! They don't always have PSU's with standard wiring! A standard off-the-shelf ATX PSU may not work with a Dell system, so don't even shop for a new PSU until you've checked on this!

    Secondly, unlike the unscrupulous PSU makers out there, Dell PSU's are marked with sustained wattage, not max wattage. If it says 250W on it, then that means it can go higher but it will output 250W of continuous power. Since that vid card requires a PSU that can output 250W of continuous power, you don't need to upgrade. There's already some "wiggle room" with what you have and what the vid card requires.

    Thirdly, the power draw from a vid card goes like this: +3.3V rail is stressed over the expansion slot provided by the mobo, and any extra power required by a vid card through a direct PSU molex connector will be drawn from the +5V and/or +12V rails (depending on the generation and the vid card manufacturer). The extra power drawn by the high-end vid cards is relatively insignificant because of the fact that if you can afford one of those, you won't be skimping on the PSU, will you?

  11. #11
    THANK YOU! That "direct psu molex connector" part kind of scared me. The card I will install (Nvidia GeForce FX 5200 PCI) I believe does not require it to be connected directly to the psu like high-ended cards. I could be wrong; but I the only add ons that I have in place other than the originally installed components is an additional stick of 512mb (I already have 256mb that came installed w/ my comp) and a Sound Blaster Live! 24-bit card so adding this card which I am told uses about 40 watts shouldn't require me to upgrade my psu, right?

    Thank you in advances for all of your guy's help!

  12. #12
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    Nah, the FX5200 isn't nearly power-hungry enough to require a connection to the PSU. And I think your system will be just fine the way it is. Dell usually designs its systems to be relatively non-upgradable beyond what the PSU can handle. For instance, there aren't enough drive bays to max-out the PSU on hard drives and putting in a high-end vid card would overheat your system well before the PSU starts complaining!

  13. #13
    That's sad and good at the same time I guess. I couldn't settle for much more because I only have the old pci slots but this should be a great improvement over integrated graphics. Thank you for all your help, I am in your debt. Not only have you saved me money and the stress with installing a new psu but you have giving me peace! lol If you ever need anything please let me know!

  14. #14
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    Is it ok to buy a PSU with 550W even if at the time your system isnt going to use it all?
    When Life Speeds By, Downshift!

  15. #15
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    Sure, drawing less power just puts less demand on the power supply.
    Lighten up! --- A merry heart does good like a medicine. (Proverbs 17:22)

  16. #16

    Card Maker?

    Can anyone identify the card maker?

    I've searched and searched but couldn't find anyone else selling the 5200 with that box that has some sort of elf or warrior girl on it. Here's a link to it: http://img398.imageshack.us/img398/3...ifx52005ad.jpg

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moses86
    Can anyone identify the card maker?

    I've searched and searched but couldn't find anyone else selling the 5200 with that box that has some sort of elf or warrior girl on it. Here's a link to it: http://img398.imageshack.us/img398/3...ifx52005ad.jpg
    You might try looking on the PCB of the card itself. Sometimes the manufacturer will print their logo or name on the card. It may be small and hard to read, so a magnifying glass might help.
    "To be conscious that you are ignorant of the facts is a great step to knowledge." - Benjamin Disraeli

    www.pcmarketinggroup.net

  18. #18
    Yes, I guess I'll have to do that. I wanted to know who the maker was before I actually recieved it but I guess I have no choice. I just hope it works! xD

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