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Is this power supply going to kill my system?

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March 16, 2013 5:49:17 PM

My computer is an Athlon II x4 645 system (Biostar A785G3 Mobo) with a GTX 260 (65nm, stock clocks), 500gb Hard Drive, 4gb 1600mhz G.Skill RipJaws @ 1.5v, 3 fans (+1 for CPU). I'm using a 1280x1024 monitor and only have one DVD drive. Note that I do not overclock and my processor is cooled by an Arctic Freezer 64 and stays close to room temperature, so the fans never ramp up harshly or anything.

I am using an Antec Earthwatts 380w power supply. Under Furmark+Prime95, my system uses just under 280w (measured from the outlet, not the PSU itself). The processor is undervolted to 1.2375v and barely uses 110w (peak) under prime95 by itself with integrated graphics. Normal gaming use drops me around 210w~, I idle about 100w.

I have a friend that tells me my power supply is under excessive strain. He says that having the extra molex to 6-pin adapter is putting extra pressure on the 5v and 3.3v rails and that the power ripple over time will kill my computer parts. He's also trying to sell me a 600w power supply from a mutual friend for $40, but doesn't remember the brand or if it's 80+ efficiency branded.

So my question is: Is there any merit to what he's saying? Is my power supply going to slowly kill my computer parts? Does a GTX 260 really use a whole lot of 5v and 3.3v power, starving other hardware components and causing ripple?
March 16, 2013 6:14:47 PM

GTX 260 is very power consuming, not to mention EarthWatts isn't exactly "high quality" by any standards. Its decent, but not the best. It won't kill your computer, but its very very close to what would be considered safe.

"A GeForce GTX 260 requires you to have a 500 Watt power supply unit at minimum if you use it in a high-end system. That power supply needs to have (in total accumulated) at least 38 Amps available on the 12 volts rails."

It depends on the brand of power supply your friend wants to sell you. If its from Corsair, Seasonic, Enermax, Antec (Except very low end), Silverstone, XFX, and various other it should be fine. Its slightly concerning that he doesn't remember what brand it was -- If it was any good in the first place, why would he forget what brand it was?
March 16, 2013 6:19:43 PM

It's not a high-end system, it's only a low-end quad core, single hard drive and single dvd drive. No raid, no overclocking, no water cooling, etc. Should I still be concerned?
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March 16, 2013 6:21:52 PM

They are not worth their money and may short out and kill your fancy computer. Yes there is some truth, the cheap power supplies are just that, cheap. It is never a wise idea to buy or keep something just because it's cheap. Doing so can spell disaster for your system. PSU's that provide such low voltage with out any kind of efficiency are tale tale sign of cheap and inefficient components.

1.What you want to look for is a single 12 Volt rail, it draws even and consistent power across the board.
2.Refuse to skimp out on the power supply, it may not be as fancy as other components, but sure is as important.
3.Always go with an 80 Plus Certified PSU, don't make the mistake that so many others make because they did not pay for reliable power.

With that said, I can recommend PSU's from SeaSonic, XFX, Corsair.
March 16, 2013 6:27:30 PM

The Antec Earthwatts 380 is 80% Bronze certified PSU, is it still that bad?

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a b ) Power supply
March 16, 2013 6:39:23 PM
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Let me say right out you are good.

Antec makes great power supplies. Your PSU is a 80+ Bronze. I am assuming your 280V from the outlet is good. That means your psu is ouputting about 210 to the computer. This is about 60% of it's possible output. Based on Anand's review it is 84% efficient there. http://www.anandtech.com/show/3902/antec-earthwatts-ea-...
Now your GTX 260 maxes at 182 W which is 15.2A. The 2 12V rails on your psu are rated at 17A and 15A. Based on your resolution you probably never get max draw from that card.

Now what your friend said about ripple is true but not in your case. Molex connectors are 12v and 5V. Hard drives use the 5V put the molex to 6pin uses the 12V.

I would keep using the supply until you either want to go to a higher resolution and higher draw from the card, or start having issues that are psu related.

ps I can explain the math if you need.
a b ) Power supply
March 16, 2013 6:44:23 PM

280 watts at the wall means your pc is drawing around 224 watts from the psu
And if thats under furmark it will be a lot less under normal loads

Your psu will last until the end of time , and your friend needs to stop giving advice about power supplies
March 16, 2013 7:03:07 PM

jnkweaver said:
Let me say right out you are good.

Antec makes great power supplies. Your PSU is a 80+ Bronze. I am assuming your 280V from the outlet is good. That means your psu is ouputting about 210 to the computer. This is about 60% of it's possible output. Based on Anand's review it is 84% efficient there. http://www.anandtech.com/show/3902/antec-earthwatts-ea-...
Now your GTX 260 maxes at 182 W which is 15.2A. The 2 12V rails on your psu are rated at 17A and 15A. Based on your resolution you probably never get max draw from that card.

Now what your friend said about ripple is true but not in your case. Molex connectors are 12v and 5V. Hard drives use the 5V put the molex to 6pin uses the 12V.

I would keep using the supply until you either want to go to a higher resolution and higher draw from the card, or start having issues that are psu related.

ps I can explain the math if you need.


Outlander_04 said:
280 watts at the wall means your pc is drawing around 224 watts from the psu
And if thats under furmark it will be a lot less under normal loads

Your psu will last until the end of time , and your friend needs to stop giving advice about power supplies


The 280w draw is from Furmark and Prime95, I can't think of a scenario, even higher resolution, that would cause more power draw. Thank you very much for your insight!

My friend is a self-taught computer builder, any other technical details I can tell him to shut him up?

(PS: I'm sure he's just trying force the PSU on me because said mutual friend spent $150 on a Corsair 850w power supply and is trying to get some of his money back by selling the old one)
a b ) Power supply
March 16, 2013 7:27:11 PM

I wouldn't be too harsh. If it weren't for your measurement at the outlet I might have told you to buy it. The fact is you are seriously underusing that graphics card. Every review looks at the max wattage draw of a card but they don't tell you the max draw at different resolutions. All the sites tell you to use 500W with that graphics card so it is an easy mistake to make.
a b ) Power supply
March 16, 2013 7:59:48 PM

jnkweaver said:
I wouldn't be too harsh. If it weren't for your measurement at the outlet I might have told you to buy it. The fact is you are seriously underusing that graphics card. Every review looks at the max wattage draw of a card but they don't tell you the max draw at different resolutions. All the sites tell you to use 500W with that graphics card so it is an easy mistake to make.


Doesn't matter the resolution. A program like furmark will stress everything. Resolution only increases the amount of Vram usage, which is irrelevant to furmark. A card at 1280 x 720 will draw the same amount of power as at 2560 x 1440
March 16, 2013 9:49:15 PM

You guys have been an absolute HUUUUUUUUUGE help. Thank you very much, I'll go tell me friend I'm certain I don't need the upgrade. And I won't be harsh.
!