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Power conditioning PSU's for a dirty city

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  • Power Supplies
  • Power
  • Components
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August 1, 2006 5:59:54 PM

Hello,

I was just wondering if anyone knew a GOOD power conditioning PSU for around 100 bucks or less that is also around 500 or 550 watt.

I am going to be building a conroe system, here are the specs if it helps:

C2D E6600
(Some mobo yet to be determined)
OCZ 2x1gb PC5400
EVGA 7900GTnvidia
WD SATAII 160gb 7200
XP home( cheap till vista)
(have case / optical drives / keyboard / monitor)

But the power supply is my problem right now. I live in Flagstaff, Arizona and it is known to have spikes / drops / brown outs / blackouts / resets.

I hear some PSU's are better then others in conditioning power, but I don’t want to overkill on price / wattage because I am on a budget. I am saving money elsewhere to get a decent power supply with a UPS. UPS wise I figured I'd get a 615W one for around 100 bucks to condition the power even more and protect on resets (rarely have power down for more then a split second).

I was looking at the ANTEC 550 watt ones but after researching for weeks on google I've come to the conclusion that most people are torn on this model. Also there have been recent tests saying even the best PSU's you can buy and every one is raving about aren’t even that good. Now again, the main deal for me is conditioning because I feel around 500-600w is fine. If some amazing GPU later needs me to upgrade so be it, but for now I just need to hear a testimonial of a decent PSU / UPS combo for a system with similar specs.

I apologize for the newb questions but I’ve never had to deal with horrible power before and I have done my research, its just nice to back it up with an experienced forum reply.

I would also like a suggestion on a decent protection level on suge protectors if you could.

More about : power conditioning psu dirty city

August 2, 2006 2:52:04 PM

Anyone? Anyone?
August 2, 2006 3:30:51 PM

From my understanding, most UPSs do NOT condition the power, common misconception. Unless you buy a commercial grade, 100lb, multi-thousand dollar job. If you feel you need a conditioner, try one from Monster, they range from a couple hundred to close to $1000. As far as your power supply, try this website as a good starter

http://journeysystems.com/power_supply_calculator.php

I am a firm believer in you get what you pay for when it comes to power supplies, yes there is a difference between the $60 400w vanilla brand and the $100 400w from a company such as Antec.

Also, I would avoid the modular power supplies. Yes they are a plus to not having all the extra wiring in the case, but there is scuttle about increasing resistance when using the plug instead of just a straight connection.

hope this helps!
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August 2, 2006 5:02:06 PM

Hrm, this helps a lot thanks.

I figure I'll just go with the Antec one (barring compatibility issues). I definitely agree with the modular power stations, and even if you have extra wires in my case (Thermaltake Tsunami) they are easily hidden.

I was wondering. Would you think one of these Monster power clean power stage bars would be sufficient (http://www.ramelectronics.net/html/MPPC900.html)
or do you think I should go for an all out UPS which are around the same price but hold a battery for graceful shut downs.

The ones in this range are not likely smart UPS' so I dont think it will auto shut down my computer, and generally when I need this done I am at work, which sucks.

To be honest my old computer has been through hell (at least 500 hard shutdowns and power spikes etc) and it still runs perfectly. Given that it is a Frankenstein type build I'm guessing these power spikes only served to give it more life (haha). I figure a UPS might be overkill for someone like me who isnt running a server, just a PC for gaming and personal use but it is going to be expensive so I want to protect it.
August 2, 2006 8:26:49 PM

Hard to say if the PC900 will help or not. Best guess, try it and see. Unless you are sure you are getting noise through the line, I wouldn't spend money on a filter just yet. Get a good UPS, which is always good to have if you leave your computer turned on, or in your case, frequent brown outs. BTW, I have the same problem, on ONE outlet. Of course it is the only outlet accessible by my computer...And the power company is no help at all. I use an APC 900xs. It works great and it will shut down my computer if the battery gets low. Remember, Windows computers do not like to be shut off until they are ready to be shut down. I believe I picked this one up at Best Buy for $120; here again, avoid the off brands if possible.
August 2, 2006 9:02:03 PM

A power conditioner like the monster will help for EMI and noise but not so much for brownouts, etc. a cheap UPS might be a better bet, even most base models will handle voltage drops (brownouts) and they all usually have at least some line filtering. A true toroidal power conditioner will cost in the thousands, and for a computer a UPS should work about as well.
August 2, 2006 9:57:44 PM

A excellent quality UPS with true line conditioning can be found at the following:

http://apc.com/resource/include/techspec_index.cfm?base_sku=SUA750

One of these would definitely help in your situation. I use APC products and have NEVER had a problem. They also have an excellent warranty and coverage should your equipment be damaged from surge, spike, etc.

By the way, this particular model can be purchased for well under $300.
August 2, 2006 11:24:54 PM

I personally am a big believer in online/inline (whatever you want to call them) UPS's. A true UPS such as these protects you from 9/10 power problems that cause havoc to PC's (the 10th being a direct lightning strike and NOTHING protects you from that) No PSU can provide the level of protection and power filtering that an inline UPS can.

Beware though they are expensive. I had always wanted one but never had a machine I felt was worth getting one for. At my last upgrade I bit the bullet and got one. It was worth it. My machine (which runs 24/7) has never run so stable before and I can sleep comfortably knowing that it is truly protected against brownouts, surges, spikes, line noise etc.

Non inline UPS (those with a 'switching' time) do not provide true protection hence they cost much less.

Check out Powerware/Eaton's 9xxx series UPS's they are VERY well priced for an inline UPS.

Look at it this way - would you put moonshine in the tank of your Ferrari? or would you give it a quality fuel? What about your 1970's clunker?

A quality UPS should last you several machines and if you are in to high end machines it really is a good investment. If you only have budget machines maybe just a good surge protector is all you need.

Cheers,
Scar
August 4, 2006 5:50:17 PM

All power supplies include some built-in line conditioning because their regulators can tolerate inputs of 90-130VAC or 180-260VAC, and all but the worst units contain RFI/EMI filters that remove high frequencies from the AC, and most surges are brief voltage spikes that contain high frequencies.
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