I am running almost 2000 watts, no caps, no problems. My last car was an '01 jetta with about 3k watts, no caps, no extra batteries, no problems. The car before that, a '97 neon with roughly 4500 watts, no cap, no extra batteries, no problems (except for dimming lights). I have only burnt up 1 alternator in the past 6 years, mainly due to crappy design (Chrysler), and I have never used an upgraded alternator. The key is having proper size wiring THROUGHOUT the system. Make sure you are using at least 4 ga. from the alt. to the batt., and I typically don't do anything smaller that 2 ga. from batt. to trunk. Upgrade all your grounds to the largest size you can afford, it is the biggest difference you can make. Last thing is to check for corrosion at all wire termination points. If you see corrosion, the wire should probably be replaced since corrosion will creep into the length of the wire.