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I recently purchased an XFX Radeon HD 6870 graphics card for my Dell Server Workstation, but when I brought it home and unpackaged it to put it into my computer, I noticed it required 2 6-pin dedicated connections to the power source.

The problem here is my computer only has one 6-pin connection (no 8-pin either, just a single 6-pin), which when plugged into the card will run the fan and everything but just won't pump out an image.

Normally I would go out and purchase a new power source and replace my existing one, but the way Dell designs their computers it's not possible to remove the power source from the enclosure.

Also, the installation instructions for the card say specifically NOT to use a splitter to change one 6-pin connection to 2 6-pin connections. I'm wondering if it wouldn't be possible to get a separate power source and use it to power just the graphics card; is this possible?

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I think I read somewhere you can fry the power connectors going from your mobo to your gfx card if it draws too much. Running it without adequate supplementary power might risk doing that? – Highly Irregular May 3 '12 at 6:13
yes, i suppose, but i don't think that's much of a big deal for me. i believe my power source is a 1200 watt – Shadow Frunchak May 3 '12 at 14:24
What I'm trying to say is that you put your mobo at risk if you don't use both the connectors going from the PSU to the gfx card, because then too much power may be drawn through the mobo. (Besides, it didn't work, but it's worth mentioning so others don't try it!) – Highly Irregular May 3 '12 at 19:01
oh, i see. thanks! – Shadow Frunchak May 4 '12 at 17:03
up vote 3 down vote accepted

You could always get a 4 pin to 6 pin converter like One of these. and take one of the extra 4 pin molex that are always left over, and make it into the 6 pin you need. You aren't splitting the existing 6 pin that way.

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that sounds like a good idea, i DO have a 4-pin connector after all! – Shadow Frunchak May 3 '12 at 14:23
This exact problem was the reason once I switched to modular power supply units I never looked back. – Bon Gart May 3 '12 at 18:17

Yes, it's possible. Dedicated power supplies for graphics cards exist, though they aren't cheap.

That said, graphics card manufacturers love to warn against adapting 2x 4-pin connectors to a 6-pin GPU power connector, but I've never encountered a problem with it. I'd consider giving that a try. Undervoltage isn't too terribly dangerous.

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I'd also suggest to use a splitter anyway: never had a problem with that while building several multi-gpu boxes. – aland May 2 '12 at 14:37
no, im not taking the risk of using a splitter – Shadow Frunchak May 4 '12 at 17:03
What's the danger? Overvoltage something and you can damage components, but undervoltage/wattage and the worst that can happen is a system hang. If that occurs, unplug, try again. Like @aland, I've never had a problem, even running a Radeon 6950 off of a 400W PSU with two molex-to-video-power dongles. – Zac B May 4 '12 at 18:02

A 4pin molex to 6pin pcie should do the job, although I would recommend a Dual molex to 6pin pcie as I've seen some XFX cards coming with them.

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A common problem with mainsteam systems is the lack of ability to upgrade them with "normal" hardware. Do you know the size of the power supply to start with? I am currently rocking this video card, not to much of a power hog but if your computer wasnt designed for a higher end gpu then they would not have put a big enough unit in it. Do you have a more specific model of tower? There is still a possibility that you can remove the power supply and upgrade.

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dell precision 670 server workstation (i know its a bit old but whatever, its really nice!). there are power sources online for this model, but only replacements of what i have. you see, the power supply is not just in the computer, but its the whole base of the computer, meaning unless someone where to design a more powerful power supply just for this one computer, there's nothing im able to do. – Shadow Frunchak May 3 '12 at 14:18
OHHH!! its the one with the power supply as the base! big pain in the butt, Sorry i dont have any other ideas with out looking at it, im not a fan or verbal hardware support. Just take note the 6970 needs at least a 450W PSU. Good Lukc – Luke Russell May 3 '12 at 17:09
thanks for the help! ;) – Shadow Frunchak May 4 '12 at 17:02

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