Tuesday, May 8th 2007

Humongous Power Supplies and what you Really Need

Manufacturers are nowadays bound to their respective marketing gurus resulting in ridiculously exaggerated trends which the usual customer tends to overlook. Let us talk about power supplies for instance. With 1000 Watt power supplies available from many companies and 2000 Watt power supplies just around the corner one can come quickly to the conclusion that you really need that much power.
But you don't! Mostly every website out there who puts PC hardware states the electric power consumption or gives a rough figure about it. If you then add those numbers together for every component you have you might be surprised about the result. For Example, the guys from Legion Hardware put together a dead fast machine consisting of a quad-core Intel CPU, two GeForce 8800GTX cards, a feature-packed ASUS Striker Extreme motherboard and four 1GB DDR2 memory modules. Additionally the system had four Seagate 320GB hard drives and six 120mm case fans and let's not forget the water-cooling system. Now reckon what wattage the power supply they used to power that beast was rated at!
550 Watt - They took a Thermaltake Purepower 550w and it works like a charm for more than two months now.
Power supply output ratings are actually quite inaccurate and can be very misleading. This is why it is very important to purchase a trusted and respected brand name.
If you came this far I would suggest you reading that article, it's well written and outlines every aspect of what to have in mind when purchasing a decent power supply.Source: Legion Hardware
Add your own comment

45 Comments on Humongous Power Supplies and what you Really Need

#1
bigboi86
I always buy PSU's that supply more power than I need. It's not because I think my computer is going to use it.... I like to be future proof.

No telling what I'm going to put in my computer later on down the road. This is why I get quality power supplies 550watts+.

The last PSU I used was an Antec NeoHE 550, I think I'm going to buy one again. It has 3 12v rails, 18amps a peice for a total of 54amps on the 12v rail.

It's specs are really nice.
Posted on Reply
#3
Zubasa
ryboto said:
it's ridiculous that people assume they need that much power. Unless you're running quad sli, you're only going to consume 200-300 watts MAX, if you fully stress your system(cpu/gpu). Most users could get away with a 300-350W quality power supply, no sense in these 600W monsters.
The thing about power supplies is many of them are rated for their MAX output, not the continuous output. That 550 Watts is the continuous output you will need.
So a 600W Maximum output might not be enough.
Posted on Reply
#4
tkpenalty
Zubasa said:
The thing about power supplies is many of them are rated for their MAX output, not the continuous output. That 550 Watts is the continuous output you will need.
So a 600W Maximum output might not be enough.
QFT, some PSU was rated at 800W Max, but realistically 600W Continous, my one is 600W Continous and 700W max.
Posted on Reply
#5
ex_reven
2 Kilowatt powersupplies are incredibly necessary.
I mean, who doesnt cook steak with their usb cookers?

Now...whose was the medium rare?

I tend to stick to the Antec PSUs as they are fairly good build quality IMO, and ive never had PSU issues...
Posted on Reply
#6
OnBoard
XooM said:
Quality over quantity. Thats all it really comes down to. a six bajillion watt supply from generic inc., or a 480 watt supply from PCP&C?
Sometimes you get lucky. My PSU costed 28€ or 38$ and it's rock solid for over a half year now. It does run hot when gaming, but that's because the fan doesn't speed up, it's silent always. I'm sure I'm using nearly all that it has to give, but for that price it doesn't matter if it stops working tomorrow (have one new extra also :P). Oh and looks much more expensive with black chrome mirror surface.

http://img215.imageshack.us/img215/6479/psucc0.jpg
Posted on Reply
#7
XooM
d44ve said:
Awsome... thanks I picked one up.

I am kinda curious what my whole system uses..

226w TEC
2 water pumps
3 120mm Fans
1 200mm Fan
2 4" cold Cathode Tubes
OC'd e6600 to 3.5
8800 GTS
SATA HDD
IDE Light Scribe DVD-RW
any guesses?
I'm gonna bet 600watts, largely because of the TEC.

@Above: sometimes you do get lucky, but more often, you just get burned in the end... literally and figuratively. My friend prefers the cheap 20 dollar supplies himself; one blew out a cap, another outright caught on fire, his current one is still alive... for now. IMHO, they're a danger to one's safety. (these supplies were all over the course of a year)
Posted on Reply
#8
Mussels
Moderprator
Sasqui said:
Search for a product called "Kill A Watt" - I have it plugged into my puter right now (see specs). At full load, it draws 360 watts at the plug... at 75% efficiency, that's only about 300+w the puter is actuall drawing.
And the system in my sig (E6600 @ 3.4GHz, 8800GTX) uses 310W at full load - thats orthos loading the CPU, and 3DM06 on top.

Its all about efficiency and amperage, not watts.

My PSU has about 95% efficiency according to my meter, generics i've tried have been around 60% - so my system would draw upto 450W from a generic no name PSU, *IF* the rails held up under the load.

Amperage is the main one, it wont help if your systems main draw is on 12V, and 300W of your 430W PSU is on the 5V line - thats why the antec truepower (1.0) series got replaced so suddenly, as they had tons of 5V balls but very little 12V.

Oh and another good thing, having a 600W PSU in a 310W system just means the PSU runs nice and cool, and a hot day (australian summers... bad) wont cause it to overheat and die on me.
Posted on Reply
#9
WarEagleAU
Bird of Prey
As has been stated, its quality over quanity.

Enermax, PCP&C, Antec, Corsair, OCZ make some of the best most stable PSUs on the planet (Seasonic is included and FSP and Epower (Somewhat) as these are OEM builders too).

Im using a Cooler Master eXtreme power 600W and Im sure its not continuous 600w, but my continuous should be around 550 or so.
Posted on Reply
#11
XooM
WarEagleAU said:
As has been stated, its quality over quanity.

Enermax, PCP&C, Antec, Corsair, OCZ make some of the best most stable PSUs on the planet (Seasonic is included and FSP and Epower (Somewhat) as these are OEM builders too).

Im using a Cooler Master eXtreme power 600W and Im sure its not continuous 600w, but my continuous should be around 550 or so.
EPower is a mixed bag; the Tagan ones that they bought out are solid, dependable PSUs. the rest of their PSUs... who knows. FSP and Seasonic, on the other hand, kick ass :cool: using a S12-600 in my main and a smallish FSP (350 maybe?) in my HTPC
Posted on Reply
#12
Mussels
Moderprator
I seem to post a lot in this thread... the system i linked to above is running an FSP 200W PSU. FSP seem to be very high quality, but often ignored because they have low wattage rating - most people would choose a 450W generic over a 250-300W FSP, even tho the FSP's are very good PSU's.
Posted on Reply
#13
Tatty_One
Senior Moderator
At the end of the day it's as much about quality as quantity.
Posted on Reply
#14
Mussels
Moderprator
Tatty_One said:
At the end of the day it's as much about quality as quantity.
says the man with two PSU's, lol. Quantity indeed ;)
Posted on Reply
#15
Tatty_One
Senior Moderator
Mussels said:
says the man with two PSU's, lol. Quantity indeed ;)
LMAO.....yes for stability (and therfore quality!).:p
Posted on Reply
#16
p0lly
UH? bigboi86 - did you do the math before you bought you PS? How on earth is it possible to have 3 12v rails giving a total of 54amps (18 each) and be a 550 watt PS? The 12v rail alone consumes 648 watts (12x54)!

It is something like older PCI-ex boards - each slot will provide 16x but not when both are in use.
Posted on Reply
#17
Mussels
Moderprator
Yes thats correct - even if it says 4x18, that doesnt mean they can all do that at the same time. I think a rule i was told was if you load every rail, aim for about 70% for a good estimate of the combined amperage.
Posted on Reply
#18
Tatty_One
Senior Moderator
Mussels said:
Yes thats correct - even if it says 4x18, that doesnt mean they can all do that at the same time. I think a rule i was told was if you load every rail, aim for about 70% for a good estimate of the combined amperage.
Thats about right, a max of around 80% for the very BEST PSU's I think I read.
Posted on Reply
#19
p0lly
Are you talking about efficiency? If you're not - why would you have to estimate... the wattage breakdown is on the side of th PSU. If you are talking about efficiency - that only says how much power needs to be taken from the wall to achieve the stated wattage. A 550 watt PSU is a 550 watt no matter how you cut it (barring some clever marketing of course) - the 70% or 80% rating only tells you how much AC power is needed from the wall to deliver 550 watts of DC power to your PC (70% = 785 watts, 80% = 687).
Posted on Reply
#20
Tatty_One
Senior Moderator
I was talking about efficiency, dont know about anyone else.
Posted on Reply
Add your own comment