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Power supplies come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, and gamers will worry about having a low wattage power supply and if it can handle the graphics card.
How to know if the power supply isn’t enough for the graphics card? You may experience the Black Screen of Death, lagging YouTube videos, and games won’t run properly. A fried power supply may crash your graphics card, but that’s a good thing because you know it doesn’t work.
A graphic card is the most power-consuming computer unit, second only to the CPU. So, when there’s a power leakage, the GPU is the first to suffer. When that happens, the performance will drop significantly, and the display will act funny.
It’s most evident when you run a game or program that requires tons of graphics resources. You’ll start seeing error pop-ups, irregular graphic performance, degraded display. You’ll know that’s true when you add a new graphics card without changing the power supply to match.
The screen might start flashing, show dots and lines where they shouldn’t be, or blackout entirely. When the power supply isn’t enough for the graphics card, it can affect the whole system. In addition, the graphics card will fail to carry out its operation ordinarily.
First of all, you might need to check the graphics card box or official website for power specifications. Power consumption requirements are readily available when you’re looking in the right place. For example, you can visit the website of the graphics card’s brand and see the specifications section.
Usually, the power consumption is in Watts. So, you’ll see the number of Watt units necessary for the graphics card. That way, you can compare it to the specifications of the power supply you have.
When your graphics card comes with 6-pin or 8-pin power connectors, your power supply must match. Some graphics cards connect to the motherboard directly and get their power that way. However, high-end graphics cards connect to the power supply through these power connectors.
That’s why it’s best to get a power supply that supports 6-pin and 8-pin connectors from the get-go. Don’t wait until you update your GPU to upgrade your power supply. Again, you can check whether your power supply and graphics card support power connectors by checking out the manufacturer’s website.
Next, you need to inspect your power supply’s electric current and voltage. It’s the amount of electricity it can generate, regulate, and distribute. Remember, the power supply must support all the components in the computer.
If the power supply can barely power all the units, your graphics card won’t perform perfectly. Thus, you’ll experience degraded performance. Furthermore, the defective power supply can seriously damage the computer.
So, the power supply should have more wattage than mentioned on the graphics card package. That way, it can support the graphics card and the other units in the computer. Remember, wattage and current aren’t one and the same.
Sluggishness, freezing, crashes, blank screens are the common symptoms the fried power supply is damaging other components. The most obvious tell of power supply damage is system instability. Unless it’s a recent hardware upgrade, it’s most likely the power supply.
If you doubt your power supply’s ability to power your computer, you can always upgrade. You may also want to remove your computer piece by piece to check for malfunction. Preferably, you may want to attach the components to a different computer.
A damaged component won’t start, and it might damage the other computer as well. But you should get an idea of what’s wrong with your PC that way. Other than that, you can test on the computer and see if the computer will start.
Next, damaged components will usually show driver errors, degraded performance, and blackouts. When the damage is beyond repair, you’ll immediately know when the component stops working altogether. In that case, there won’t be error messages either.
When the power supply damages other components, you’ll need to replace it. And the damaged unit. Usually, power supplies have a fail-safe mechanism that powers off when something is wrong. Unfortunately, the fail-safe mechanism can get corrupted.
If that’s the case, there’s no telling which component got damaged in the process. And you’ll need to follow the steps of removing and adding the units one by one. Make sure to use a new power supply for the testing.
Another way to test the graphics card is by removing it and connecting the motherboard to the built-in graphics card. Usually, the motherboard will have a monitor plug outside the graphics card. If your computer turns on without the graphics card, then the graphics card might be damaged.
Do the same exercise with other cards. Of course, the fundamental functions won’t work regularly, but you’ll know where the problem is. If your computer won’t turn on at all, then the motherboard might be out of service.
The least you can do is salvage the undamaged components. Remove the hard disk, RAMs, and CPU, and hope for the best.
A computer without a power supply is like a human without a heart.
You can read more about the inner workings of a power supply in this in-depth power supply guide by Tom’s Hardware. And if you’re shopping for a power supply, Tom’s Hardware also offers a list of the best power supplies in 2021.
All in all, a defective power supply rarely corrupts other components. So, don’t worry about it. Most of the time, the power supply will shut down just a second before causing more damage.
At any rate, don’t depend on cheap power supplies. Most if not all power supplies are made in China. But high-quality power supplies have some imported components from Japan. You may need to do some research to find a reliable power supply, but it’ll be worth it.