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Author Topic: Graphics cards and insufficient power
Penny
Deck the Malls


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I'm pretty clueless about computer hardware and would appreciate some advice from someone who isn't.

I have a very cheap PC and am trying to put a decent graphics card into it. My problem is that the card (an Nvidia Geforce 6200LE) requires a 350W power supply and mine is only 300W. I decided to give it a try and it seems to be working without problems, but it's left me feeling a bit nervous.

What are the ramifications of a card not getting all of the power it requires? Could the fan run too slowly and gradually overheat the GPU? Could the machine randomly crash? Something worse?

Posts: 340 | From: Redmond, WA | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
James G.
Xboxing Day


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An insufficient power supply will tend to lead to system instability more than anything else. Its unlikely to cause significant damage. To be honest, the 6200LE is quite a simple card and shouldn't draw too much power.

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Posts: 1302 | From: Edinburgh, UK (Currently Nr. Swindon, UK) | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Singing in the Drizzle
Jingle Bell Hock


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Did you plug the power into the back of the video card?

If you did not. There will be no problem with power supply, but the card will not run at 100% functionality. Something will not work or work as fast.

If it is plugged in then you may draw to much power from the supply. This will cause brown outs and system lockup and other problems, but can't think of any damage to the motherboard from this. More likly to damage the power supply from over heating.

The best thing to do is buy a new power supply. I have seen a few 350W power supplies for under $20 now.

Posts: 597 | From: Bellingham, WA | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
TrekkerScout
Deck the Malls


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A computer power supply is just a glorified transformer. Unless the power supply has a power limiter (unlikely for a cheap PC), the power supply will crank out as much power as the system wants. Forcing it to run at a level higher than its power rating for an extended period of time will eventually cause it to fail by overheating. On the plus side, it is rare for a graphics card to draw maximum power for extended periods unless it is being used for graphics heavy gaming.

If your graphics card is drawing too much power, the power supply will fail. The power supply may have a thermal switch that will automatically cut off power when it detects overheating. The PC will shut down instantly and you will lose any unsaved information. Once the system cools back down, the thermal switch should reset allowing you to restart the computer. Repeated shutdowns or the lack of a thermal switch will eventually cause the power supply itself to fail. Depending on how and when it fails will determine exactly how much damage it will cause to your PC. If you're lucky, you will only need to replace the power supply. It is possible that you'll end up having to replace some nearby components that are currently being subjected to higher than normal temperatures or will be subjected to damage resulting from a catastophic failure (power supply exploding or catching fire).

Posts: 306 | From: Tacoma, WA | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Not_Done_Living
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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Actually.. it wil lall depend on what else your powersupply is powering.

there is now way the video card is drawing 350W EVER (if it did your PS wouldn't be providing power to anything else.)

It's probably just a random number used by the Grapics card manufacturer to fill up space.


so if you have an all integrated motherboard (sound network all on board) and the video is the only component that is drawing from a slot.. i wouldn't worry about it at all.

Posts: 62 | From: Markham, Ontario, Canada | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Singing in the Drizzle
Jingle Bell Hock


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Everything I have read about Nvidia Geforce 6200LE cards suggest a 300W power supply or better. There is no auxiliary power in put, so it only draws from the board. Unlike the video card i'm looking at getting. For full functionality you need a clean 36 amp line from the +500W power supply.
Posts: 597 | From: Bellingham, WA | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Penny
Deck the Malls


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Thanks very much for the answers. To answer the questions raised - there's no separate power connection for the graphics card, it draws its power through the PCI-Express connector. As for other components, I also have a PCI network card and a PCI wireless network card connected, but the sound is on-board.
Posts: 340 | From: Redmond, WA | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
   

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