Dude, What About The PSU?

I had a loved one asking about a new computer for his son the other day.

It’s supposed to be a gaming machine, but nothing too strenuous.  I figured a lower-medium end video card like the ATI 4850 would be fine. 

Didn’t feel like building it, so I went looking around at the usual suspects and found out that the dudes at Dell didn’t want to sell me much of a video card with their lower-end models.  I wondered why and dug a bit more to find out why. 

Then I came across this Dell forum thread and got my answer.

Dude, most of those Dells don’t have much of a power supply:

530s: 250 watts
530:  300 watts
518:  300 watts
Studio Slim: 250 watts
Studio: 350 watts
XPS 420: 375 watts
XPS 430: 425 watts
Studio XPS: 360 watts
XPS 630: 750 watts
XPS 730: 1000 watts

Mind you, the fellow having a crisis with Crysis with his GTX 260 had one of the heftier 375-watters. 

Given that any current mainstream video card is going to chew up around 200 watts or more when pushed, even the 4850, we have a power problem here. 

Now I wouldn’t expect any of you to not take this into account when buying or building a system.  But there are those who are inexplicably allowed to buy computer without the approval of a guardian who might not be quite as meticulous on the details as we would be.  They might buy one of those lower-end Dells with a lower-end power supply, then think it would be a good idea to add a hot video card to their system.  So when they come to you when things aren’t working right, well, need I say anymore?

Actually, I do.  Before you replace the power supply, you might also want to do some extra research to see not only if the power supply has the necessary additional connectors mentioned in places like here, but also whether the Dell (or whomever) motherboard has the necessary connectors.


About Ed Stroligo 95 Articles
Ed Stroligo was one of the founders of Overclockers.com in 1998. He wrote hundreds of editorials analyzing the tech industry and computer hardware. After 10+ years of contributing, Ed retired from writing in 2009.

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