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I put together a HTPC and it turns out, the integrated APU is not powerful enough to play Blu-Ray's or stream Netflix. I need to replace the entire motherboard/CPU (components are soldered together) or add dedicated video card.

I found a graphics card that I think will suit my needs but the minimum recommended PSU size is 300W. The PSU I'm using is 250W.

What kind of problems will I run in to with the graphics card if it's not getting enough power? The only other devices I have connected are a Blu-Ray drive and a 3.5" 7200 RPM SATA hard drive.

CPU/APU, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813138365

Memory, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231428

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do you mind telling what APU you are using? it's hard to believe that any but the slowest/oldest AMD APUs have any problems with playing back BluRay/Netflix. I would suspect some software configuration issue –  Alex P. Mar 17 '13 at 17:22
    
updated the post with links to the hardware in question –  rodey Mar 17 '13 at 17:25
    
Why not buy a low power graphics card - look for anything that has h.264 accelleration and is passively cooled. Provided it has hardware h264 acceleration (most new ones do) it will do playback fine. –  davidgo Mar 17 '13 at 20:32
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3 Answers 3

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What kind of problems will I run in to with the graphics card if it's not getting enough power?

Either:

  • It will not work (not boot) at all
  • It will not work stable,
  • Or it will seem stable untill you start to use it more intensely (e.g. when playing BR's).

The minimum recommended PSU size is

You can ignore that. Check how much power your current setup uses and how much power it has left. A PCIe card with no power connectors may draw up to 75 Watt. One with extra connector may draw up to 225 Watt ( 75 Watt via the PCIe connector, and 150 Watt via two 8-pins extra connectors ).

Which usually means that you need to check:

  1. How much power does the card need.
  2. How much do I have left? (Max supplied, minus what you already use).
  3. Is it the right type (a 250 Watt PSU usually supplies up to 200 Watt at +12 volt, and up to 50-ish Watt at other voltages (e.g. +3.3v, +5v, ...). Check those.
  4. Finally, check if the graphical card needs to be fed with 6-pins or 8-pins connectors. If it does, check if your PSU has the proper wires for this.
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AMD HD6310 (the GPU part of E350) should not have any issues with BluRay playback. There are used to be issues with Netflix HD playback though. Netflix uses Silverlight and older versions of it did not support hardware acceleration for HD6310. Have you tried to update to the latest version of drivers and Silverlight? This might fix the issues you are having.

If you still want to add a video card - there are plenty of options which combined with the rest of your system would fit the 250W limit that your PSU can provide

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I agree. I would try to get it working before buying new hardware. –  Louis Mar 17 '13 at 17:58
    
I've tried updating (to what I think are the latest) the drivers but nothing has worked. I've used Win 7 and Win 8, no luck on either. The best I've come to HD playback is through Internet Explorer and Youtube. Seriously, I have to use IE to get HD Flash. Chrome and Youtube and the HD playback will stutter. Can you provide a link to the latest drivers? –  rodey Mar 17 '13 at 19:45
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I'd suggest getting a better psu. Treat yourself to 7 or 800 watt psu and that should solve your current problems. If you can install a graphics card then you should be able to install a psu because they are no more difficult and a psu should be cheaper than a high performance graphics card that might be used in a gaming pc.

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