GRAPHICS CARDS HAVE quickly become the most power hungry device inside a PC and we haven’t seen a drop in the power demand of high-end graphics cards despite improved manufacturing capabilities. However, Fermi appears to be taking this to the next level, although this was sort of expected.
A 600W power supply might not sound like much to most of those that have a high-end PC these days, but this isn’t really the concern in this case. The problem is that some years ago, the ATX power supply specification was changed and the 12V rail was split into multiple rails and today we have power supplies with as many as six 12V rails. Why does this matter? Well, because each of those rails rarely surpass 22A each.
If you take a look at the picture above, you’ll notice the following text “with a minimum 12V current rating of 42A”. This means that those that have a PSU with split 12V rails won’t be able to run a Fermi card, no matter if it’s a 600W or a 1.21GW (ok, there are no such power supplies, but hey). There’s of course a solution to the problem, buy a new PSU with a single rail and there are several PSUs on the market that has a single 12V rail that will deliver 42A or more.
The problem is that most people have no idea what type of PSU you need, as they just buy one based on the rating, not how many 12V rails there are in it. The easy way to find out if you can run a Fermi card is to pop the side off your computer and look at the label on the PSU. If you can only see a single +12V rail that is rated at 42A or more, then you’re fine, otherwise you’re going to have to buy a new and fairly expensive PSU, as the single rail models are usually more expensive than the multiple rail models.
Expect to pay in the region of $80-90 for a suitable PSU on top of whatever price the Fermi cards will carry. So if you haven’t already budgeted for a new PSU to go with your Fermi card, then it’s time to do so now.S|A
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