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Yet another Power Supply question...

RaggaholicRaggaholic Registered User
edited November 2006 in Help / Advice Forum
Ok, my gaming rig and my media rig need new power supplies (which they seem to always need). I decided to NOT go the el cheapo "Hey, look what Pricewatch has for $14" route this time and head over to Newegg. I see this Coolmax one for $30 and this Thermaltake one for $40. Now, I know these are some good brands despite the cheap price, but my concern is the power output.

Is 400w really that much output? I usually buy in the 550+ range just to be sure, but I've seen one of those "how much power" estimators and it had my gaming rig actually UNDER 300w (Athlon XP 3400, 1GB RAM, GeForce 6600 GT, MSI Neo4 board, single DVD drive). Are there any "dead on" estimators out there? Is my fear of this low wattage justified?

Raggaholic on


  • robaalrobaal Registered User
    edited November 2006
    3400+ XP? not 64?

    Anyway, the CPU most likely stays ~100W if it's an Athlon 64 then <90W , the 6600GT isn't very power hungry either, certainly <75W, probably less than 50W, so the other components would have to use >200W and that's rather hard to imagine.

    The sticker on the coolmax looks pretty impressive - it claims as much power on the +12V rails as a 450W FSP (348W vs 216W on the thermaltake). I think the most power-hungry components get their power from the +12V rail so it's most important.

    Just because a PSU claims to be "550W" doesn't mean it can really handle that much load the whole time - often it refers only to peak output which they can't operate with for long...
    Sometimes the specs on the sticker are just awful lies and the voltage won't be stable at high loads.

    Sparkle is supposedly a decent brand also - newegg has their 400W psu at $44. I'm just mentioning this becuase I haven't heard anything about coolmax PSUs

    robaal on
    "Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra when suddenly it flips over, pinning you underneath.
    At night, the ice weasels come."

  • RaggaholicRaggaholic Registered User
    edited November 2006
    robaal wrote:
    3400+ XP? not 64?
    Sorry, it's a Athlon 64 3400. I'm not sure why I typed XP (although I do have an Athlon XP machine).

    Any reputable estimating sites out there? I have a few other machines I need to know about as well (as I'm going to be buying mutliple power supplies).

    Raggaholic on
  • vonPoonBurGervonPoonBurGer Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    Raggaholic wrote:
    Any reputable estimating sites out there?
    That'll give you a pretty decent estimate of how much you need. Consider it a minimum threshold, and look for a power supply that's at least one jump above that (e.g. if it says you need ~300, get at least a 350 or a 380, if not more).

    vonPoonBurGer on
    Xbox Live:vonPoon | PSN: vonPoon | Steam: vonPoonBurGer
  • stigweardstigweard Registered User regular
    edited November 2006
    If your system isn't sli, chances are you don't even need a 300watt psu, provided it is high quality. The cheap brands aren't very efficient, and the more they are pushed, the less efficient they get. You can get a cheap 550w that ends up being only 50% efficient when the system is drawing 200 watts, meaning it is pulling 400w from the wall and disipating half of it as heat. Cheaper psus tend to have sub-standard components like capacitors that have a tendancy to leak.

    The problem is, you can get a psu that is rated for 80% and it can still be a pig. That is because when they rate them, they rate their highest efficiency at a specific load. There is a new std, partly marketing, called 80 plus that certifies that a psu will be 80% or better at 20,50,80,100% load. You can be pretty sure that a psu with that rating is going to run efficiently, cooler, and cost less to run.

    You will pay a premium for a psu rated 80plus, but chances are, you will save that much in power consumption in the first year over a cheap one. There are other considerations than power too. Configurability of the unit, like the ability to unplug unused cables, the length of the cables, cable management perfipherals, whether the cable is braided or twisted, etc... I picked up a nice Seasonic S12, but the second 12v line isn't long enough to reach the top of the motherboard because the psu sits at the bottom of the case in my P180. Now I have to hunt down an extension, and that is turning into a pain in the ass.

    The psu is the heart of the computer. It provides power to everything and it isn't an area that anyone should skimp on. A weak psu can cause all kinds of little, hard to diagnose problems without ever causing a full failure. Good brands, are Enermax, Thermaltake, Collermaster, Antec base line, OCZ. Better brands are Seasonic, Antec high end (manufactured by seasonic), Corsair (manufactured by seasonic), Silverstone, FSP Group.

    stigweard on
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