Power supply too small.....

I ran a wattage calculator and I come up a little short of the power requirements. I am getting a new power supply soon, but I would like to know what one should expect from not having a power supply that can handle the load your computer puts on it. Just to make sure that any problems I might be having are related to that. I don't want someone to ask me what they are. I just want a general idea of what I could expect if my power supply was too weak.
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More about power supply small
  1. Instability, system crashes, read/write to hard drive not getting completed causing corrupted files, can even damage hardware if severe enough.
  2. These are my current PC specs...
    Lian Li PC-60plus Black Aluminum Case (w/TR-3B Black Thermometer/Fan Controller 3.5” bay)
    Opteron 175 (2x 2.42 GHz, 2MB cache, Socket 939, .09 micron, E6 stepping, OSA175DAA6CD)
    ThermalTake BigWaterSE 12cm liquid cooling system complete kit
    Asus A8R-MVP Motherboard (ATI Radeon Xpress 200 CrossFire, socket 939, SATA2)
    HiS X1800XT Graphics Card (625 MHz/700 MHz OC core/1500 MHz/1600 MHz OC mem, Dual DL-DVI VIVO 512 MB PCIe)
    ATI TV Theater 550 PRO Tuner (PCI TV and FM Tuner)
    4x 512MB Corsair Micro Xpert DDR RAM (2-3-3-8-2T (spd 2-2-2-5-1T) TwinXP 1024-3200XL)
    2x 74gig Western Digital Raptor Hard Drives RAID-0 (WD740GD RAID0 150gig Boot Drive)
    2x 250gig Western Digital Caviar SE16 Hard Drives (WD2500KS storage and data)
    Plextor 716AL Black 16x DVD/CD Burner (IDE slot loading type)
    Antec TP-II 550 Power Supply (550 Watt ATX12V v2.0 PSU)
    Dell 2405FPW 24-inch LCD Monitor (UltraSharp Wide Aspect Flat Panel Display)
    Logitech G-15 Gaming Keyboard
    Logitech Cordless Optical TrackMan
    Case Fans 5 in total (2x SilenX 120mm intake, Adda 120mm exhaust blower, SilenX 92mm exhaust and SilenX 80mm Fan)

    and according to FutureMark’s results ~ 4,935 3DMarks06 and 9,881 marks in 3DMark05 performs pretty well... IMO... ;)

    I bought a Kill-a-Watt power meter that you plug power cord into and it reports actual power usage from wall socket.
    Surprisingly, my slightly overclocked PC and GPU while running 3DMark06 peaked at only 325 watts! also, this test was done while the TV Wonder was active in background running TV and several IE browsers were open plus a MS Word 2003 open too. This result only got me 4,777 3DMarks06 tho, it was intended for using more watts than high scoreing.
    I kind of expected a bit more, basing this on results from specs and power draw hardware sites that you input hardware components like...


    but I am pleasantly surprised, just thought some readers might be interested in someones real life and unbiased independent results.

    Based on this limited information from my PC, I preclude that my AMD Opteron rig overclocked at 2420MHz from 2200 consumes
    ≤ 200 Watts at Idle
    ≤ 250 Watts during Boot Up

    ≤ 350 Watts at Max 3D Benchmarking using 3DMark06

    Note: This is only the PC measured at outlet from the Power Supply, my LCD Monitor is not measured in these results.

    So my 350 watts being used, if I buy a PSU that is 80% efficient, I would need a PSU rated for at least 440 watts... a little more if you feel you need it... I have a 550 watt Antec True Power
  3. If i was like 30 or 40 watts less than I needed, how sever would the errors and problems be? I mean what kind of behaviour should I expect?
    My computer closes out of graphical programs, mostly games, and If I have too many programs open it may or may not restart. I just ordered a 500 Watt power supply, so I should be fine on power now, but I just want to make sure that the problems I'm having are related to this.
  4. If your PSU is getting maxed, the fan should speed up on it, and it should get warm. Also, your voltages will become unstable and drop.
    Signs are blue screens, memory errors, and corrupt files...
  5. Those are all problems I'm having. I'm getting a new 500 watt psu soon. So when I get I'll run a repair installation of windows just to make sure that all the kinks are worked out. Thanks.
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