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How much crap can you cram on a 300w PS?

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April 7, 2006 4:47:48 AM

I see lots of people trying to solve problems by suggesting larger PS's when that may not be necessary. Many of which are directed at older PC's, 500w's seems to be overkill for anything but a dual core sli machine. Granted I have a 600w in a single core non SLI machine (overkill just feels good :oops:  ) but lets see what others think.

I would like to get an idea of how much junk people are/have ran on a 300w or less PS stably for a long time. Here's mine:

300w EVER MPT-301 (old a$$ pos)

Running:

Intel P4 2.4 533Mhz
1GB RDRAM 1066Mhz (4 256MB's)
8 Hard drives, all 7200rpm
2 Maxtor Max 10 200GB SATA
2 Maxtor Max 9 80GB SATA
2 WD 80GB JB IDE
2 IBM Deathstar 180GXP 80GB IDE
ATI Radeon 7200 32meg DDR
Lite-on DVD burner
Lite-on DVD-ROM
4-port SATA RAID PCI Controller
Dual Channel IDE RAID PCI Controller
Intel Pro100 S NIC
Intel Pro100 M NIC
5 80mm Case Fans
3.5" Floppy
And a partridge in a pear tree

Has been running for 1.5 years with only minor changes to newer HD's as I move them off my primary machines. Basically 24/7/365. The 2 200gig HD's are the only things that get warm, the PS and other components stay as cool as the surrounding case.

Lets see how many other have run lots of stuff of POS PS' :) 

More about : crap cram 300w

April 7, 2006 5:29:52 AM

Wow, looks like you've got me beat! :oops: 

The Dell 4500:

250 watt power supply

contains:

2.4B Northwood
Winfast tv2000 xp expert video capture card
GeForce3 Ti200 64 MB
2 x 256 MB DDR ram
200 GB Seagate Barracuda ATA 100 7200 rpm
80 GB Western Digital 7200 rpm
AOpen DVD Burner
24X Lite On CD Burner
Floppy Drive
NIC card

I have no problems with the power supply. It is absolutely the quietest PS ever in an oem. You literally can't hear it unless you put your ear right next to the exhaust fan.


Like you, I've seen a lot of BS and hype in the market of power supplies. Most power supply calculators really exagerate the power consumption of the components. Old Gateway2000s sometimes would have a 200 watt power supply for an old Pentium board. I know for a fact that those 200 watt PS's are enough for a socket A board with an athlon xp 1800+ and 512 mb of ram, as long as one doesn't put too new of a graphics card in.

Older systems with graphics cards and cpus that are a couple generations out can easily get by with a 300 watt PS, but gamers who run today's highend graphics cards and cpus do need a heathly, 400+ watt power supply.
April 7, 2006 6:47:35 AM

Quote:
I would like to get an idea of how much junk people are/have ran on a 300w or less PS stably for a long time.


I'm a little off-topic here, but here goes. Although I try to avoid buying stuff at Best Buy, there is one close to work and I went there today on the way home in hopes of getting some mobo standoffs (struck out, drove 6 miles out of my way to CompUSA and scored). Anyway, while at Best Buy, I saw a guy picking up a new PS and got to talking to him while waiting in the Geek Squad line. Seems his rig was running fine on a 420 watt PS until he switched to an X1900XT. It ran a few days, then the PS went tits up and took out his mobo. He was not a happy puppy. Anyway, the Geek Squad guy looked at his PS and confirmed that the 12V had railed out to something like 50V. That's gotta hurt.
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April 7, 2006 8:27:32 AM

any idea what brand the ps was?
April 7, 2006 9:06:04 AM

That's one helluva lot of stuff to use on one tiny PS! You should run your spec into the PSU calculator and find out if the calculator says it's possible.

According to the interweb, one of my old servers (Compaq ProLiant) is running off of a 200w power supply...I can't really believe this, since it's running:

- 2x Katmai P3 550mhz 512k L2
- 4x 9.1gb 10000rpm SCSI Hard Drives
- Compaq SCSI RAID controller
- Compaq PCI SCSE controller
- Compaq SCSI RAID array
- Adaptec PCI SCSI controller
- HP DDS2 tape drive
- 3 10/100 ethernet NIC
- 24 speed CD-ROM
- Floppy drive
- 512mb RAM

I'm pretty sure that isn't possible. Oh, and it's AT.

Any thoughts?
April 7, 2006 5:14:43 PM

One thing to remember, especially with old AT ps's, a lot of the older ones were buit MUCH better than todays low to mid range. Just feel the heft of them compared to a $20 modern one :) 

I have a dual PIII 1gig with 512MB SDRAM and a couple of hd's nothing else special, it's an exchange server and it's running off a Delta DPS-160GB, this is off an AMPTRON!!!!! (for those who don't know, they are a white box system provider that SUCKS!) Been running for a few years too.
April 7, 2006 5:18:43 PM

Yeah but there's only so far quality of PSU can carry you, if you can't pump the watts then your PSU don't work. no matter how good it is
April 7, 2006 5:23:14 PM

Very true but I have to agree with the above post about watt calcs being overly cautious. Plus I think most quality psu's can easily push more than they are rated for, the manufacturers build in a bit of a safety margin.
April 8, 2006 4:00:54 AM

No P4 on AT, you couldn't even find such a motherboard. Heck, PIII AT boards were rare.
April 8, 2006 4:36:10 AM

No, but you could run an old at pentium board with a crap load of hard drives off one :) 
April 8, 2006 8:09:10 AM

Yup but you'd have to find a few tasty ISA RAID cards (mmmmmm...ISA)
April 8, 2006 4:22:34 PM

Yeah, that's a load of crap on a 300W but I think some people tend to be bewitched by the "more power is completely necessary" syndrome. I wouldn't run a modern power machine on any less than 450 though.

I can't tell you anything about 300W PSUs because I've never owned anything less than the 400W Vantec ION (2 1/2 years old) that powers my current system. It, however, is a breath-taking hunk of muscle which will power a hell of a lot. My system contains:

heavily OC'd Athlon XP 2600+ (266 to 415mhz)
3GB DDR400 (415mhz)
Radeon 9800pro (OC'd a little)
three 7200 hard drives
Audigy 2 ZS Plat
Leadtek TV card
NIC
2 DVD-RWs
90mm Vantec Tornado, two 80mm fans, PCI blower
FDD

Not a SINGLE PROBLEM or even a second of instability and I've been OC'd the whole time. I use this machine as a Digital Audio Workstation to compose music to film so I'm always using most of the resources on a steady basis. Most people kept telling me I'd have to upgrade the PSU in a month because I would wear it out with so much stress. That was when I built it 2 1/2 years ago. If you get a quality PSU, you can do surprisingly much with modest power.

Of course it's always nice to be on the safe side too >:) 
April 8, 2006 4:44:31 PM

The computer in my signature has a crappy Hipro 300W PS.
April 8, 2006 5:58:14 PM

I used to have a Hipro 300 watt unit in my old computer build that I sold to a friend a couple months ago. Never had any problems with it, despite the cheap feel of the unit. Hipro is actually a reputable brand, as a lot of IBM machines used them.
April 9, 2006 12:38:51 AM

Quote:

Running:

Intel P4 2.4 533Mhz
1GB RDRAM 1066Mhz (4 256MB's)
8 Hard drives, all 7200rpm
2 Maxtor Max 10 200GB SATA
2 Maxtor Max 9 80GB SATA
2 WD 80GB JB IDE
2 IBM Deathstar 180GXP 80GB IDE
ATI Radeon 7200 32meg DDR
Lite-on DVD burner
Lite-on DVD-ROM
4-port SATA RAID PCI Controller
Dual Channel IDE RAID PCI Controller
Intel Pro100 S NIC
Intel Pro100 M NIC
5 80mm Case Fans
3.5" Floppy
And a partridge in a pear tree

Has been running for 1.5 years


Errr.. dang.

Using that eXtreme PSU Calculator... that is about 371 Watts (PSU Utilization 100 percent) if the CPU is @ 100 percent.

CPU @ 50 percent, 341 Watts (PSU Utilization 100 percent). I had to add 4 watts since it only has checkmark for nick cards.. hehe

Surprised to see you say PSU runs cool, though I remember a dual 450 PII machine with:

4 SCSI 10krpm
tape backup
1 nic
1 CDRom
Ram gah can't remember it was PC100 (2 sticks)

On a 200 Watt PSU (may have been 230W). It ran very hot. Using that caculator, minus 43 watts (for single CPU) - minus dual PII 450/tapebackup (wasn't on chart to select) that was taking around 190 Watts. I'm guessing maybe 90-100 Watts + for dual processors and maybe 5 watts for tapbackup which would be around 285-295 Watts on a 200 Watt POS PSU :lol: 
April 9, 2006 4:36:41 AM

Wow, 71 watts over, and I do run the cpu at 100% full time, prime95. As the system is only a data server I just have Prime run at a lower priority, but it keeps it busy!

I've never relied on a calculator other than my brain for ps's and I've never had an underpowered system out of the hundreds I've built, heck maybe thousands. I stopped counting when I had to build 80 slightly different custom machines years ago for one company. :) 
!