also just a heads up, I usually find the cheapest cards to come from EVGA so... let's just say they have a reputation for great customer service...
I have to second this. Their step-up program is amazing and basically works out to a free upgrade to the card that you just bought. It does take a bit of time, but it essentially means getting, say, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280 for the price of a GTX 260, and that is nothing to scoff at. The reason it works is generally because most of the cards they get back are unused (they have to be able to resell them, must include all the packaging, manuals, CDs, etc.), so they just go back into circulation after a short refurbishment and they make a profit from both of the sales, enough to justify the cost of giving out a more expensive card for free. It's quite clever, really, and keeps people coming back, as well as of course their insane warranty policies (you can basically do anything to the card except replace the heatsink and they will still take it back if it has issues). My next card will definitely be an EVGA.
not getting enough power is bad. When a PSU is insufficient, voltages will fluctuate wildly. It'll go too low at moments and the system might become unstable, or it will go too high at moments and the system will sustain damage.
BUT don't give credence to a cards minimum requirement, give credence to how much the card actually draws a long with the rest of your system. Also look at how high of a quality unit your PSU is.
Is there any way to see how many watts my system is receiving or something?
I think I might just take my card out for a while. Oblivion is running a little slower since the first time I ran it on ultra high. It's still very playable, better than that. But when I first ran it the card, I only memorized one time the game actually paused a bit being outside.
Could this be my power supply? It's not exactly heating up to a point where I can say, "wow, that's hot." though.
I'm on a 400W PSU and my system draws around 100W-150W more than yours. it's a high quality unit though and it can easily handle peak loads of 440W without issue. PSU ratings are bogus for the most part because no standards have been established. nVidia and ATi assume you're using a piece of crap for a power supply which is poorly rated and as such they use
So going over the watts that the PSU says it has on the tag isn't a bad thing for high quality ones?
as for what makes a power supply good. High quality circuit boards, good capacitors, good heatsinks, good fans, a fair number of things. Usually what it comes down to is this... how much does it cost? That doesn't mean there are cruddy units which are over priced, but usually you're going to end up shelling out more than 20-30% for a solid unit.
as for your PSU's quality, it's basically capable of putting out around 250-300W with decent stability. that's probably about where your system is at at peak power draw so you're probably OK for now. not great, OK. not bad, OK. This is based off of the fact that I can find it for around $20 online and...
Wait, so my system draws out around 300W or so? I'm guessing consistently going over that is a bad thing? So my unit won't last forever doing this? And by that, I mean that it won't last long? (because all PSUs die eventually).
The PSU has never really gotten THAT hot. But I couldn't stop but notice the lagging of Oblivion the more I played it. Just today, I was getting around 30 FPS on ultra high. There was hardly a stutter when I first put in the card.
BTW, what I exactly have on my PC:
2 hard drives(one 250 gig, secondary 80 gig)
3 gigs of ram
PCI wireless internet adapter
AMD 64 x2 4200+ 2.21 dual core
and the standard fans, which keep the thing surprisingly cool.
I'll probably buy that PSU in that link for a quick solution. Pretty cheap. But it only has 380W. But as I understand now, it's about exactly what I have on my PC that determines the watts it needs.
If my 350W PSU can handle this pretty decently, is 30 more watts really going to bring me what I need at peaks?
if you're too lazy to do research just go corsair. Their PSUs are very well prices and quality on them is in the 8.5-10 range which is great. their 400W unit would be OK if you're not planning on anything new, but if you want some headroom for the future the 550W unit would power pretty much anything you'd consider buying.
Alright, I'll look into that for a later solution in the summer.
this only checks gross consumption from the wall though. Remember PSUs aren't 100% efficient, so in this case your system is only using about 70% of the power on the meter and the PSU is using the other 30% or so...
that said a new PSU costs about as much as a killawatt does...
as for that unit only being 30 more watts...
it's not just total wattage that matters, in this case your system mostly draws power from the 12volt rails and the other rails are largely idle. it's possible to overload the 12V rail... there are some "600W" units that only allocate 10A on the 12V rail, while here are some 400W units which allocate 30A on the 12V rail. In a case like that, the 400W unit would prove superior(it'd also probably cost more too, say $50 instead of $20 for the piece of crud "600W" unit which would probably explode[literally] at 600W load.)
BTW, what I exactly have on my PC:
2 hard drives(one 250 gig, secondary 80 gig) around 20W
3 gigs of ram - around 20W
cd/dvd player - 10W
9600 GSO - 120W
PCI wireless internet adapter - 10W
AMD 64 x2 4200+ 2.21 dual core -90W
and the standard fans, which keep the thing surprisingly cool. - 5W
rough guestimates, but that's probably what the system pulls from each part at peak load.
System: Core i5 3570k @ 4.4Ghz// ASrock Pro4 // Crucial Ballistix 16GB DDR3-2133 // GTX 660Ti // Corsair 650Hx // Corsair H100 // Corsair Carbide 300r // Crucial M4 256GB SSD // WD Cavier 3TB HD
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