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Need advice, relatively cutting edge machine for gaming w/ low power consumption

Golbez

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#1
I will build a system and use it for 3-4 years, depending on advances in gaming/graphics technology and the like. My last system I've been using for about 5 years, played WoW pretty well w/ one video upgrade during its lifetime... I consider myself an enthusiast, but I really don't build much more than one system for myself. Something that had me bummed out was the prospect of building a new gaming rig that would consume heaps of power. I'm not a greenfreak, just a cheap, relatively poor, Republican actually :) The US could get by using less energy... do what I can right?

The tipping factor was reading about the power consumption of a GTX 280 vs. a 285 video card. This card, right now, looks like it's about ohhh $100 more than a 280. It consumes 40 some-odd less watts, pretty significant over ~4 years.

So I'll put together a new, efficient, gaming rig that doesn't use a great deal of power. Likely a GTX 285 video card, a Core i7 920 processor, some motherboard (not sure which), SATA hard drive... yadda yadda... but what size of power supply to go with? And how should one determine the quality from the specifications?

Being cheap. I used to build my machines with "free after rebate" or otherwise cheap power supplies. One time, it exploded :) Rather not that happen again.

I browsed a couple hardware forums lately suggesting (correct me if I'm wrong, I'm not one for memory) that the most efficiency came from 78-85% peak load on a power supply?? Does one end up losing power or affecting the life of a power supply if they under-utilize it? Should I just slam a 750watt PC Power and Cooling Silencer in there, that happens to be on sale now? Suppose that'd future proof me in case I needed to SLI another video card in there (and kinda render my power consumption point moot, lol).
 

Golbez

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#2
Edit: Was going to say one power supply was king over another in efficiency but... Antec, Enermax, Seasonic all seem to be about the same
 
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System Name Barb's Domain/Barb's Cruncher#2/Barb's Laptop
Processor i7 3930k@4.37ghz/i7 860 @ 3.3ghz/AMD E300
Motherboard ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition/Gigabyte P55-UD3R/Proprietary
Cooling Deep Cool Assassin/Corsair A50/stock
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Power Supply XFX 750W XXX edition/PC Power Cooling Turbo Cool 860
Software Windows 10 Pro 64 bit /Windows 7 Ult 64 bit/Windows 8.1 Pro
#3
I browsed a couple hardware forums lately suggesting (correct me if I'm wrong, I'm not one for memory) that the most efficiency came from 78-85% peak load on a power supply?? Does one end up losing power or affecting the life of a power supply if they under-utilize it? Should I just slam a 750watt PC Power and Cooling Silencer in there, that happens to be on sale now? Suppose that'd future proof me in case I needed to SLI another video card in there (and kinda render my power consumption point moot, lol).

Your gonna want a efficiency rating of atleast 80%. Seasonic make some of THE best PSU available today, Corsair and PC Power and Cooling PSUs are rebadged Seasonic PSUs. A Corsair or PC Power and Cooling 600 watt PSU will be enough for a single GTX280 or GTX285. The 750 watt PSU would be my recommendation for SLI GTX280 or GTX285 set up. You won't hurt anything but your wallet by having too much wattage(but only when you buy it, your system will only pull the wattage it needs to run)
 
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