What Happens If Power Supply Is Not Enough for a Graphics Card?

Much like any other component of your PC, the graphics card, too, requires certain wattage. Deny it and you’ll see some symptoms shooting out. Your system might not even start or it may shut down without giving you a heads up. But that’s only scratching the surface of it, here’s what happens if power supply is not enough for a graphics card:

  • Graphics will display at the lowest settings.
  • Error messages when you want to play a graphically intensive game.
  • Display flickering.
  • Wrong colors. 
  • BSOD when you’re working. 
  • Boot-related problems. 

What Happens If Power Supply Is Too Weak for Graphics Cards?

Let’s not call it weak but insufficient. When that happens, you could expect any of the aforementioned errors. Let’s talk about them in detail. 

1. Dropping Graphics Quality 

You may ask yourself what went wrong with the graphics when you had set them at their highest? If that has been sudden over the past few days, you may want to check if the card is receiving the right wattage. You obviously cannot rule out the limits of your game when you’re playing a game. However, when you know it played a certain game at a high fps before and it doesn’t now, there could be a problem. 

2. Unfounded Error Messages During Games

Not just games but also graphically-intensive software could return error messages that tell you there’s something wrong with the GPU. the rendering power of your card may have slowed down or diminished because it’s not receiving enough power. This happens when the need of the software or game exceeds that of the rendering power of the GPU. Normally, it is a matter of the limitations of the card but low wattage could play a role too. 

3. Flickering Display 

Since the GPU has a lot to do with the display, you may experience a downgrade there, too. Lines, dots, or any other irregularities become commonplace when the GPU is having a hard time supporting the display graphics. In some cases, this effect may not arise at all because the displays in those laptops are controlled by the integrated graphics card rather than the dedicated one. Still, if your screen flickers abnormally after you’ve installed the new card, then it’s time to check the PCI x16 and how many pins you’ve installed. 

4. Wrong Colors 

An underpowered GPU will produce the wrong colors during gameplay. You’d clearly see textured graphics or hues that are not native to the game. 

5. Blue Screen of Death 

That’s not uncommon. The dreaded Blue Screen of Death may be because of a number of reasons, one being a faulty or underpowered GPU. When you’re troubleshooting the reasons for this, consider checking the power you’ve supplied to the card. Doing this becomes mandatory when you’ve installed the card recently.

The 5 signs above indicate a less severe problem with the GPU even if it arises from a low wattage. But things could get serious and you may experience problems in the boot. The PC may not even turn on at all.

How Do I Know If My Power Supply Is Enough for A Graphics Card?

If your power supply is enough for your card, it won’t exhibit the signs mentioned above and vice versa. To know if your PSU is enough before installing it, follow these steps:

Step 1: Remove the case of your PC. 

Step 2: Find the PCI x16 slot. Right next to it or around it somewhere, you’d see how much wattage it would supply to your card. 

Step 3: Now find out the requirements of your card from the manufacturer or the box it came with. 

Step 4: Normally, a GPU requires 75 watts and that’s what the PCI x16 slot offers. If the card is power-hungry like that of RTX 3090, you may wanna hook in multiple 6- or 8-pin power connectors to meet the needs of 800W. 

Step 5: After fulfilling the requirements, make sure you double-check the performance of the card by running tests upon tests. 

What Happens If Power Supply Is Not Enough For a Graphics Card – Conclusion 

When the power supply isn’t enough for the card, it will render colors differently, the display may flicker, you may get the Blue Screen of Death, error messages, or the graphics of a game may downgrade on its own. Worst yet, your PC may not even start. 

Lisa Antonio
Lisa enjoys technology & has built many laptops and enjoys tinkering with technology!