Your GPU or graphics card is an important piece of hardware for your system, be it a PC or a laptop. A graphics card is responsible for providing your system with graphics processing power so your PC can play video games, run graphic design and video editing apps, and house more than just one monitor.
The GPU is also the most power hungry component in your entire system, so it comes as no surprise that you need a good power supply with the wattage to match the GPU’s power requirements.
But what happens if power supply is not enough for graphics card? And what kind of power supply unit are you supposed to get for GPUs that need more power?
We’ll answer those questions and more in this article.
What Happens If Your GPU Does Not Get Enough Power?
Your computer’s power supply is responsible for providing power for the different PC hardware in your system. Your motherboard, hard drives, graphics cards, and more are powered by the power supply unit.
Your GPU will have the highest power consumption amongst the other pieces of hardware, so what happens when the GPU doesn’t get enough power?
Well, you’ll face one of these many issues:
- System instability or the system randomly shuts down or reboots itself
- Your FPS on video games will stutter
- BSOD or Blue Screen of Death
- Damaged Graphics Cards
- Fried power cables
- Worst case scenario: you system catches on fire.
When there’s insufficient power to your graphics card, or any of your PC hardware, you won’t have a fully functional unit. You’ll have hardware problems to deal with, and
How Do You Know If Your Power Supply Is Enough For Your Graphics Card?
A lot of first-time PC builders make the mistake of just purchasing any type of power supply. They think that all power supply units are one and the same, and that they all do the same job, which is supplying power to the entire system.
What they don’t know is that their choice of power supply unit relies on what kind of GPU they’re using. If they’re using anything above an Nvidia RTX 3060 or its Radeon counterparts, they’ll need at least a 550w power supply.
To determine how many watts your graphics card needs, you just go to the manufacturer’s website or the packaging. You’ll be able to see the power requirements of the GPU easily. Power consumption is measured in Watts, so that’s what you’ll be looking for.
Once you have the information, you’ll be able to determine how much wattage you need from your power supply. What you need to do here is to make sure that the system gets enough power from the PSU. For example, there are reports that users experience PC shut down when they’re using an RTX 3060 graphics card with a 550w PSU. This is probably because at any given time the power spikes to above 500w, the PSU powers down.
Another thing to consider here is your power cables and its connectors. If your graphics card has a 6-pin or 8-pin connector, then your PSU needs to have the same thing. Some graphics cards are able to connect directly to the motherboard. They don’t need to be plugged in to the PSU to get their power. But the high-end graphics cards like the RTX series will need to connect to the power supply directly.
Now, you’ll also need to check the PSU’s electric voltage and current. This is the amount of electricity that a PSU can generate, distribute, and regulate. Take note, your PSU needs to provide enough power to all of the hardware in the PC.
If your PSU can barely provide power, then your GPU won’t be functioning properly. The golden rule is that your power supply should have a higher wattage than what’s written on the graphics cards. If your GPU needs 550w, you’re going to want to go for an 800w PSU.
How Do You Determine If Your PSU is Fried or Problematic?
Assuming that your PSU does not look like the one in the photo above, how do you know that your PSU is problematic or has insufficient power?
If your power supply unit is fried, then you’ll have symptoms such as the PC randomly freezing or shutting down, a BSOD or blue screen of death, and even damages to the other components. System instability will always be the number one indicator of a problematic power supply. If you recently upgraded everything else but the PSU and your PC does all of these things and more, then you’ll need to upgrade your PSU.
In worst cases, damaged components caused by a faulty PSU will not start when turned on. That, in itself, is an indicator that there’s something wrong with the system itself and not just the PSU. Driver errors, FPS stuttering, and random system shutdowns will happen when other components are damaged.
You’ll probably want to replace these damaged components as soon as you can. You don’t want to use these components, even if the damage is minimal.
How Do You Deal With Insufficient Power Supply?
Whether you have a semi modular power supply or a full modular one, insufficient power is no joke. If your PSU is becoming more of a hassle and the performance is sub par, then you might want to consider these:
Upgrade to a New PSU
If you’ve recently upgraded to a new GPU, you might also want to consider upgrading your PSU. The reason being is that if your PSU is old, it might be efficient enough in powering the GPU and other parts.
Some people try to upgrade both the GPU and PSU altogether, so they’re guaranteed that the new GPU gets full power when running demanding games and more.
Overclocking can increase power consumption and generate more heat in the process. When your GPU has been overclocked and you’re feeling some stuttering here and there, your PSU isn’t capable of powering through that.
We suggest that you underclock until such time you get yourself a new PSU.
The Wrap Up
An efficient PSU will always power your GPU and other components properly. How much power you need from your PSU will depend on what your GPU is. You’ll need to double check with your GPU manufacturers and the model itself to find out what the wattage requirement is for the GPU.