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I have a Dell XPS 8300 with i7-2600 and 16GB RAM. It has a Radeon 6450. It also has an amazing (as in, incredible) 125 Watt power supply. Somehow, it runs.

Recently, I wanted to work with video from my Panasonic TM900, which can output 1920 x 1080 at 60p. It has about 25 mbits per second. I installed Vegas, which seems powerful but difficult for me to quickly learn. Vegas told me that my CPU was fast enough, but my card may be inadequate. It may be right.

When, as a test and just for the heck of it, i double click on the .mts file produced by the TM900, Windows media player loads and runs, and the video I see has slowdowns and speedups, and it looks a little "foggy" (by which I mean some areas appear compressed, and others sharp). This is very much unlike the video I see when I shoot video with my Panasonic GH2 still/video camera at its top unhacked capability of 1920 x 1080 30p, which looks much better.

So, I thought to ugrade the video card from the 6450 to a Radeon 6870, or 6850, or 6770. I thought this might help with the video issues I am having. However, the power supply recommendations for the 6870 by the manufacturer is 500 Watt (even for the 6450 it recommends 400 watt). Dell, God bless their little hearts, shipped this unit with a 125 Watt power supply.

Can I upgrade? Second, will this deal with the video issue? Thank you.

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closed as too localized by Sathya Jan 3 '13 at 16:39

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From the looks, that's a small to mid-tower computer. The good news is a 500-800W power supply should fit. And they aren't too expensive.

You'll definitely need a bigger PSU to handle the bigger card. Dell builds a machine that has a specific and knowable power draw, so they target the PSU to that expected power draw amount. It's cheaper, and it allows them to claim the computer is greener or more energy efficient. So long as the power supply space isn't blocked by any other OEM manufacturer components, you should be OK.

Whether or not it will deal with the video issue is unknown. Your other components appear to be up to the task. The 2600 is a really, really good CPU, and 16GB RAM should be sufficient. I assume you're probably running integrated/onboard graphics, which are in no way suitable for video editing. But there's not real way to be sure until you try a new card.

For that reason, make sure to purchase from someplace you can return it to if it turns out there are other problems with the system.

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Thanks for the quick answer. I would have to have a computer shop do it locally here in NY, as I am not good with replacing power supplies. I guess there are two issues. First, the computer manages to run the 6450 on only the 125W PSU. So if the 6870 requires another 100W, would that really tip the balance? Second, do the issues I am having sound like they relate to the video card? – Bob551 Dec 21 '11 at 18:07
Excellent idea. That also will allow you and them to test and make sure that was really the issue prior to ending the service. – music2myear Dec 21 '11 at 18:08

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