Can't figure out if I can upgrade my PSU

  Cmdr Vimes 12:03 19 Apr 08
Locked

Hi, this is my first posting here and I'd appreciate any help/advice you can give. I want to upgrade my graphics card and my current PC has only a 300W power supply, which isn't enough for a better card. I'm thinking of upgrading to a 500W PSU. I'm trying to figure out if the motherboard on my PC can handle the extra power, but I'm finding it very difficult to find this information.

I've got a Compaq presario AMD 64 3700+, 2.19GHz and 2GB RAM. The processor/chipset is the ATI Radeon Xpress 200.

Am I able to upgrade without blowing the motherboard? I appreciate any thoughts anyone has. Many thanks.

  DieSse 12:14 19 Apr 08

"I'm trying to figure out if the motherboard on my PC can handle the extra power"

You don't have to.

Your motherboard only takes as much power as it needs, no matter how high the capability of your PSU is.

  Fingees 12:26 19 Apr 08

All you have to do is make sure of the dimensions of the new power supply, so it will fit correctly into the case.

  Cmdr Vimes 12:32 19 Apr 08

OK that's great. Thanks very much indeed.

  Arnie 12:36 19 Apr 08

DieSse is correct.

Motherboards do not "handle the extra power".
A motherboard or any other electronic circuit will take from the power supply whatever current/power it needs.

What matters is that the power supply in your situation is compatible with the same plug/socket arrangements. If you take your old power supply to a component supplier, they will match up the physical characteristics of the old one with new one.
Size, plug/sockets and fan/case positioning arrangements etc.

Think of the following analogy:
You have a 230v a.c. mains supply capable of supplying 100 amps.
You won't blow a TV which only requires say 2 amps to run it. The TV will use only the current it requires and will dissipate the resultant wattage as heat.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 12:43 19 Apr 08

If renewing a PSU check:

1. The physical size of your PSU, some are hard to replace due to being a non standard size.
2. The amount of power need from the PSU don't skimp.
3 The correct connections for your equipment

1. Physical Dimensions

Besides the specs and form factors, the physical dimensions are also important factors in selecting a compatible power supply. Here is an outline of the physical dimensions of most standard power supplies:

# ATX: 6x3.5x5.5", HxWxD. Most common. Uses 4 mounting screws.
# Mini-ATX: 5x3.5x5", HxWxD. Rare size. Uses 4 mounting screws. Can be used in a regular ATX case, but often not the other way around.
# MicroATX: 5x3x4", HxWxD. Use 3 mounting screws. Not interchangeable with ATX or miniATX.
# Flex ATX: Even smaller than Micro ATX. Various sizes according to case specs; often not interchangeable.

Use the data above to determine if a particular power supply would fit your case.

The quality of a power supply can be estimated by its weight. While this is not a true scientific or thorough measurement of the power supply reliability, it is nevertheless a very simple and easy way for ordinary PC users to estimate and compare the quality of a power supply.

2. Power supply calculator click here

3. Correct connections
Some boards have 20 pin connectors others 24 pin
There is often a 4 pin plug required to power Intel CPUs
Molex D plugs for IDE HDD and CD/DVD drives
SATA power connections for latest HDDs and DVD drives.


Guide to changing PSU
click here
click here

  Arnie 13:09 19 Apr 08

"The quality of a power supply can be estimated by its weight. While this is not a true scientific or thorough measurement of the power supply reliability, it is nevertheless a very simple and easy way for ordinary PC users to estimate and compare the quality of a power supply."

Quite true FB. I have found most of the extra weight of a good quality PSU, is the result of lots of ferrite cores decoupling the various supply voltages.

The electrolytic capacitors will also be of good quality and rated to run at 105 degrees C.

There will also be overvolt-clamping protection to protect the motherboard should a PSU fault occur.

  Cmdr Vimes 13:57 19 Apr 08

Thank you everyone. Thanks for all the links.

I've taken the side panel off to look at the PSU and its an ATX. I'll just need to check all the connectors I need.

  Quiet Life 19:24 19 Apr 08

I have an HP w5470 D930 (2x3ghz) with 2gb ram, TV card ,two disc drives, two hardrives plus HP personal drive and an ATI 1300X 256 pcie graphics card. The PSU is the standard Liteon 300watt as fitted by HP and I have had no trouble since I bought the computer 2years ago. I was worried at the time as the spec. for the graphics card called for a 350watt min. psu. Unless you are fitting an extremecard that calls for considerable more power I would see how it goes with the existing PSU.

  Cmdr Vimes 12:59 20 Apr 08

Thanks for that.

I think with the relatively low costs of a decent psu I'd probably upgrade anyway. The spec for the graphics card I'm looking (Asus 8800GT 512MB) at is 400W. So I'd probably just want to upgrade all in one go.

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