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Power supply / video card question


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My friend is lending me his EVGA 8800 GTS (320 MB version) and I have a Dell Dimension 8400. My question is, how can I tell if my power supply can handle it. I'm really lazy, and they didn't mark it on the side where the case opens. I'm really not in the mood to unscrew it (wow..I really am lazy.) Is there any way to tell if my PC could handle the card? I don't want to have to burn it out and have to get a replacement.


My System Specs:

Pentium 4 @ 3.4 gHz

2 GBs Crucial Ballistix RAM DDR2-800 (Motherboard limited to 533 mHz)

2 DVD Drives (One read only, one RW)

250 GB HDD

Creative Soundworks Soundcard

Radeon x300 128 MB (NO external power needed)


There is a 6 pin connector from the power supply that will work with the GTS, but I'm worried about burning out the power supply.


Am I going to have to suck it up and unscrew it?





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Knowing the power rating of your power supply is necessary but just one step. You will also need to know how close to capacity your system box already is to the max rating of your P/S. If you have all your mother board slots full, you may not have much wiggle room.


Determing the power draw on your system can be difficult without specialize power meters, unless you have a UPS on your system. If so, the monitoring software should be able to tell you the current power load in watts. Of course this is with everything connected to the UPS, (printers, monitors, etc.) so you should disconnect everthing except the monitor and PC to get a correct reading for just the system box.


I woud say if the p/s rating is 20 % higher than the actual load, that would give you a good safety margin. You are only going from a 128Mb to a 320Mb card and you only need the power difference between the old card and the new.


My PC came with a 278 watt p/s and a nvidea GEForce4 MX-440 with 64MB memory and no external power. I upgraded the video card to an ATI Radeon X1300 Pro 256 Mb memory with external power and had no problems. I already had one empty slot and I also removed the modem card to decrease power requirements. My system specs are listed below and the system box is curently pulling 164 watts.

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