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Modular PSUs Cable Troubles & Thoughts & Advice??

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Last response: in Components
August 20, 2006 9:53:03 AM

Are modular cable psu's a good idea and relialbe or a source of trouble because of the additional plugs at the psu?

Are these plugs/connectors standardized so that if I start off with a 600 watt for instance today I could add an 800 watt in a year and use existing cables without rewiring the whole system?

This concern arises around wiring up an Antec P180B case which requires longer then "normal" cable lengths I read.

Thank you.

More about : modular psus cable troubles thoughts advice

August 20, 2006 11:15:18 AM

Quote:
Are modular cable psu's a good idea and relialbe or a source of trouble because of the additional plugs at the psu?

Are these plugs/connectors standardized so that if I start off with a 600 watt for instance today I could add an 800 watt in a year and use existing cables without rewiring the whole system?

This concern arises around wiring up an Antec P180B case which requires longer then "normal" cable lengths I read.

Thank you.


One wonders why you'd need an 800W PSU but anyway.

If you use an Antec PSU now and an Antex PSU in a years time then you should be fine. So if you keep the same brand you should be fine.
August 20, 2006 11:21:51 PM

Quote:
Are modular cable psu's a good idea and relialbe or a source of trouble because of the additional plugs at the psu?

Are these plugs/connectors standardized so that if I start off with a 600 watt for instance today I could add an 800 watt in a year and use existing cables without rewiring the whole system?

This concern arises around wiring up an Antec P180B case which requires longer then "normal" cable lengths I read.

Thank you.


One wonders why you'd need an 800W PSU but anyway.

If you use an Antec PSU now and an Antex PSU in a years time then you should be fine. So if you keep the same brand you should be fine.

Well, 800 watts or more I thought was in line, not with Dual Core but with Dual Core with Hyper Threading when it comes out and needs more power and with more stuff in 5.5" bays and big power hungry GPUs? Not that I'm going that direction at all but...nay--it doesn't make sense really does it? I'll just rewire the power supply wiring if I have to. :) 
Related resources
August 20, 2006 11:24:41 PM

Thanks. But rethinking this whole thread makes me wish I had never written it now. :D 
August 20, 2006 11:39:35 PM

Quote:
I agree with 306maxi.

Just because a PSU is modular dosn't mean that all the cables are longer then normal. The length issue is obviously due to the PSU being at the bottom of the case. So plugging the power connecters into some motherboard may need an exstention due to the connectors being close to the top of the board. On most modular PSU the motherboard cables are the only ones that are not modular and are about the same length as standard PSU's. Any exstentions that come with modular PSU's are for the molex connectors.
So depending on the motherboard and the placement of the power connectors you may have no problems. You don't really need modular to accomidate the P180.


You don't need a modular PSU but it is best for a P180. If you have too many spare cables in the bottom section of the PSU it's just going to be very cramped and unpleasant. The ATX connector on my Antec NeoHE 550W is a lot longer than standard due to the fact that it's made to go into a P180.
August 21, 2006 12:07:00 AM

Here is an interesting read on modular PSUs - it includes a review of various models as well...
August 21, 2006 12:30:51 AM

Quote:
Are modular cable psu's a good idea and relialbe or a source of trouble because of the additional plugs at the psu?

Are these plugs/connectors standardized so that if I start off with a 600 watt for instance today I could add an 800 watt in a year and use existing cables without rewiring the whole system?

This concern arises around wiring up an Antec P180B case which requires longer then "normal" cable lengths I read.

Thank you.


Quote:
Are modular cable psu's a good idea and relialbe


I don't think so.
Quote:
or a source of trouble because of the additional plugs at the psu?


Yes those plugs on the PSU are the week point. They do NOT give full currant flow to start with and over time will only give less.

High currant supplys (Silverstone 850 Zeus or PC P&C 510/850/1KW) will never come with removable cables for this very reason.

Quote:
This concern arises around wiring up an Antec P180B case which requires longer then "normal" cable lengths I read.


The cables on PC P&C high currant units are long. I Only use this brand now and they reach any MB when mounted in a Coolermaster Stacker,mounted in any configuration.
This company will work with you if you have any custom needs also. Just phone them and talk with one of the techs.

Z
August 21, 2006 12:34:38 AM

It is an interesting read..I agree...

One of the most dominant arguments I see from people who oppose modular PSUs is the extra resistance from the modularized connection to the unit. It was interesting to find out that while there may be some resistance, it is virutally negligible and, in some cases, less than the resistance detected in some non-modular PSUs. I've always been a fan of modular PSUs myself. I believe that modular PSUs from the more reputable companies such as FSP, Enermax and Antec are quite excellent and wouldn't hesistate to use one if a suitable one presented itself. In fact, I've an Enermax Galaxy on order.
August 21, 2006 12:45:35 AM

Quote:
Here is an interesting read on modular PSUs - it includes a review of various models as well...
http://www.motherboards.org/articles/guides/1488_1.html


As you can see there is a loss right from the start...and with brand new units.

A year later a OC'er will find all sorts of errors and crashs as this fault just tends to grow larger over time.

I spent over 25 years working with high power 2-way radio amps for cars so if you want currant and don't want problems...yet still have removable conectors...they will be MASSIVE in size!

IE: For a 12-15 volt unit @ 60-80 amp draw the only plugs I found that really worked were ment for use on electric dryers/stoves. Even with these you needed to clean the oxidation from the at least two times a year and in doing so you could see some burn marks,even small "welding" spots.

The connectors used by all the PSU companys today are a real joke and the techs know it.
It is just about marketing.

Z
August 21, 2006 1:05:08 AM

I acknowledge that there is a loss and some resistance. But, some modular PSU perform better than some non-modular PSUs. The article goes to show that there are cases where non modular PSU have some greater resistance and loss than their counterparts.

But, it's all apples and oranges to me. I've used an Antec NeoPwer 480 and it served me extremely well, for a number of years I might add. In it's day it was rated better than any other comparable PSU - even better than what PC P&C offerred (as per MaximumPC).

I've never experienced a problem with modular PSUs so it's all good.
August 21, 2006 2:55:24 AM

Quote:
Here is an interesting read on modular PSUs - it includes a review of various models as well...
http://www.motherboards.org/articles/guides/1488_1.html


As you can see there is a loss right from the start...and with brand new units.

A year later a OC'er will find all sorts of errors and crashs as this fault just tends to grow larger over time.

I spent over 25 years working with high power 2-way radio amps for cars so if you want currant and don't want problems...yet still have removable conectors...they will be MASSIVE in size!

IE: For a 12-15 volt unit @ 60-80 amp draw the only plugs I found that really worked were ment for use on electric dryers/stoves. Even with these you needed to clean the oxidation from the at least two times a year and in doing so you could see some burn marks,even small "welding" spots.

The connectors used by all the PSU companys today are a real joke and the techs know it.
It is just about marketing.

Z

You really don't know what you're on about. The difference is negligable.

Also learn how to spell current :roll:

If modular PSU's somehow developed problems over time then I think it'd be a commonly known fact rather than just some crap that a guy on a forum with a stupid cowboy for an avatar is spewing.
August 21, 2006 3:11:18 AM

Let's stick to the facts/opinions; getting personal doesn't help anyone.
August 21, 2006 3:15:06 AM

Quote:
One wonders why you'd need an 800W PSU but anyway.


Maybe he's getting ready for a 4x4 w/XFire?

Quote:
If you use an Antec PSU now and an Antex PSU in a years time then you should be fine.


I've never heard of Antex power supplies. Are they any good?
August 21, 2006 3:18:32 AM

Quote:
Also learn how to spell current :roll:


This from the Antex power supply dude?

Quote:
If modular PSU's somehow developed problems over time then I think it'd be a commonly known fact rather than just some crap that a guy on a forum with a stupid cowboy for an avatar is spewing.


Actually, numerous sources have documented problems with modular cable connections, but due to your rude attitude, I won't bother sharing the references I have.
August 21, 2006 3:27:04 AM

Quote:
As you can see there is a loss right from the start...and with brand new units. A year later a OC'er will find all sorts of errors and crashs as this fault just tends to grow larger over time.


There are some interesting articles that deal with soldered connections vs. different connectors, including gold, silver, copper, etc. There are many approaches to making connectors work longer between servicing, such as sealants that attempt to exclude air. For high bandwidth applications daily cleaning is required to maintain performance. PC power supplies are not that demanding, but your comment is accurate.
August 21, 2006 3:34:08 AM

Quote:
Also learn how to spell current :roll:


This from the Antex power supply dude?

Quote:
If modular PSU's somehow developed problems over time then I think it'd be a commonly known fact rather than just some crap that a guy on a forum with a stupid cowboy for an avatar is spewing.


Actually, numerous sources have documented problems with modular cable connections, but due to your rude attitude, I won't bother sharing the references I have.

Sorry for the typo :p  Hardly as bad as spelling a word wrong numerous times.......

I think we can all agree that having a hardwired connection would be the best thing. Anyway. Your mobo, PSU, HDD's all have crappy connectors anyway as someone else pointed out. I do understand that you're going to get oxidisation happening and connectors will expand and contract but it's no worse than what's already going on. The inside of a PC is hardly a harsh environment as you yourself have explained.

The fact that less heat will be hanging around in your case due to the better airflow you will get probably negates the small difference that having a modular PSU makes. I do understand the theory of it all but the world is full of connectors carrying current and in most cases they require no maintenance at all.
August 21, 2006 3:35:32 AM

Forums are for healthy discussion and debate, if you can't say something constructive and be polite then your not adding anything at all.

Antex makes PSUs, along with Enermeeks, Pc P&C&P&C&P, Goldstone, Thermaltook, Voltron Source and Mushpin
August 21, 2006 3:37:28 AM

Quote:
Forums are for healthy discussion and debate, if you can't say something constructive and be polite then your not adding anything at all.

Antex makes PSUs, along with Enermeeks, Pc P&C&P&C&P, Goldstone, Thermaltook, Voltron Source and Mushpin


I stand corrected on "negligible"

Do thoze PeeSYooz give good currants? :roll:
August 21, 2006 3:41:10 AM

Quote:
Antex makes PSUs, along with Enermeeks, Pc P&C&P&C&P, Goldstone, Thermaltook, Voltron Source and Mushpin


Surely, you mean Energeeks and Moshpit.
August 21, 2006 3:42:59 AM

heh, it's all good.
August 21, 2006 10:14:19 AM

If resistance build up was really a serious issue with modular or regular power supply connections why don't they use gold plating? I've seen gold plating in a lot of other types of connectors but never in PC PSU supply cables.

I think I will take all the comments to heart with a grain of salt and wait to see what my options need to be when I get the mb mounted in the P180B case.

Thank you.
August 21, 2006 10:35:04 AM

Actually, I believe that some of the Hyper series of modular PSUs use gold plating on their connectors.

Basically, though, people will argue until the end of the earth and stick to their opinions. It's helpful to see both sides of the story because, if anything, it does make you wiser. Perhaps someone will give you a perspective to look through that you hadn't considered.

I just know that, when all is said and done, my history with modular PSUS has been totally good. I've never had one go all freaky on me and they've powered many a rig. If I had any notion that modular PSUs were something to be concerned about I wouldn't have ordered an Enermax Galaxy.

I like them. They do fine by me and always have. I suppose that it's because I do alot of deep research on PSUs before I buy them.

To each their own....
August 21, 2006 12:48:10 PM

Quote:
Actually, I believe that some of the Hyper series of modular PSUs use gold plating on their connectors.

Basically, though, people will argue until the end of the earth and stick to their opinions. It's helpful to see both sides of the story because, if anything, it does make you wiser. Perhaps someone will give you a perspective to look through that you hadn't considered.

I just know that, when all is said and done, my history with modular PSUS has been totally good. I've never had one go all freaky on me and they've powered many a rig. If I had any notion that modular PSUs were something to be concerned about I wouldn't have ordered an Enermax Galaxy.

I like them. They do fine by me and always have. I suppose that it's because I do alot of deep research on PSUs before I buy them.

To each their own....


I just find it irritating when people portray them as some kind of ticking timebomb in a PC that will go off at any gven moment. It's simply not true in that sense.
August 21, 2006 1:22:07 PM

I look at it like this:
Modular PSU's might over time start to build up resistance due to the conectors being in sections. However this build up of resistance is VERY VERY slow. And by the time you have a actual problem at this connector site I will have re-built my computer at least 4 times by now and have a new PSU anyway and have already sold the previous one since it can no longer power my 2killowatt hungry system.

In other words, if you like a modular PSU, go for it. Its not gonna kill your box unless you plan on using it for like the next 10 years. *and by the its more likely to fail internaly than due to the connectors*
August 21, 2006 4:57:56 PM

Quote:
I just find it irritating when people portray them as some kind of ticking timebomb in a PC that will go off at any gven moment. It's simply not true in that sense.


I've replaced three power supplies on home computers in the last couple of years. Granted, we have quite a few computers in the house, but of the three, one was a bad death, killing the CPU, mobo and GPU. At work, I've replaced two power suppies in the last year and maybe a dozen in the last decade. I've set up quite a few workstations during that decade, like a hundred or more, but they were all used in one capacity or another until something died that was so costly that a repair couldn't be justified. Of the two that died at work in the last year, one took out a very expensive mobo. It was underpowered (note: not on paper - it was within commonly accepted range but since it was often running at 55C, I knew it was underpowered) and I'd warned the instrument owner that it should be upgraded. He ignored the warning and got to spend mucho more to replace the mobo plus PS.

The rest of those that died at work were all relatively inexpensive units. The only mid-range and above power supplies that have died on me were two Antecs and an Enermax, all three of which were being driven to ~80% of capacity. So you can say what you want about power supply time bombs but my experience is that power supplies are a primary failure point for PCs. Go talk to techs with many years of experience and ask them what parts die on computers. I've asked a wide variety of people in the field and consensus is that many power supplies die in less than 4 years. So I think of them as a time bomb with a long fuse - if you're lucky. All of this has taught me to select power supplies more carefully and to take PS load calculators with a grain of salt.
August 21, 2006 5:25:04 PM

Quote:
I just find it irritating when people portray them as some kind of ticking timebomb in a PC that will go off at any gven moment. It's simply not true in that sense.


I've replaced three power supplies on home computers in the last couple of years. Granted, we have quite a few computers in the house, but of the three, one was a bad death, killing the CPU, mobo and GPU. At work, I've replaced two power suppies in the last year and maybe a dozen in the last decade. I've set up quite a few workstations during that decade, like a hundred or more, but they were all used in one capacity or another until something died that was so costly that a repair couldn't be justified. Of the two that died at work in the last year, one took out a very expensive mobo. It was underpowered (note: not on paper - it was within commonly accepted range but since it was often running at 55C, I knew it was underpowered) and I'd warned the instrument owner that it should be upgraded. He ignored the warning and got to spend mucho more to replace the mobo plus PS.

The rest of those that died at work were all relatively inexpensive units. The only mid-range and above power supplies that have died on me were two Antecs and an Enermax, all three of which were being driven to ~80% of capacity. So you can say what you want about power supply time bombs but my experience is that power supplies are a primary failure point for PCs. Go talk to techs with many years of experience and ask them what parts die on computers. I've asked a wide variety of people in the field and consensus is that many power supplies die in less than 4 years. So I think of them as a time bomb with a long fuse - if you're lucky. All of this has taught me to select power supplies more carefully and to take PS load calculators with a grain of salt.

Oh I don't disagree that PSU's are the primary point of failure. Together with RAM they must make up at least 80% of failures. I definitely agree with you that your PSU is the thing that's most likely to die on your PC :)  I recently purchased a P180 and a NeoHE 550W and part of my reason for purchasing it was the fact that it's rated to run at 550W at 50 degrees celsius indefinitely. Now it will never be made to do that because I live in the UK, it's in a cool case and it will never be in a PC that uses 550W of power. So I also agree that it's best to buy a PSU that exceeds your needs and is made to run under tough conditions.

But I don't agree that having a modular PSU makes a PSU so much more likely to fail. I'd concede that having more connectors increases the likelihood of failure but not by much if the connectors are good and you don't constantly connect and disconnect them.

I think what probably causes a great deal of PSU failures is dirty power and overheating. The company I used to work for had thousands of PC's of various brands that we'd sold to different companies and institutions and some would have horrendously high rates of failure. One company had a few hundred Toshiba laptops and had replaced about 90% of the AC adaptors over the 3 year life of the warranties. That to me is totally indicitive of dirty power or lots of power surges and not a badly designed product. Then there are customers who refused to put their PC's in a cooler environment and in addition to having overheating Preshott's, got a lot of PSU failures.
August 21, 2006 6:09:28 PM

I just upgraded from an Antec NeoHE 430w to the 550w version and just unplugged the modular cables from the old PSU and put them in the new one.

Much, much easier... the new cables that came with the new PSU I just kept as spares.

So in short, if you stay within the same 'product line' then you should have no problems whatsoever. I'm not sure though if, say, the cables from an Antec Modular PSU would be interchangeable with those from an Enermax modular PSU...
August 21, 2006 7:57:23 PM

Quote:
I think what probably causes a great deal of PSU failures is dirty power and overheating.


I asked a handful of PS designers about failure and got quite a bit of consistency in the replies:

Bad parts
Poor build quality
Capacitor aging
A/C spikes and brownouts
Overloading and shorts
Cooling system failure

Many people use "dirty power" to infer something like high frequency noise on a power line. A good transformer, UPS or PLC can help with that kind of problem but it takes a fairly exotic system to deal with a lightning strike that gets into your A/C.

Quote:
One company had a few hundred Toshiba laptops and had replaced about 90% of the AC adaptors over the 3 year life of the warranties. That to me is totally indicitive of dirty power or lots of power surges and not a badly designed product.


If 90% of the A/C adaptors I designed died within the warranty period, I'd be doing some serious redesign work and not blaming the incoming A/C.
August 21, 2006 8:12:07 PM

Quote:
I think what probably causes a great deal of PSU failures is dirty power and overheating.


I asked a handful of PS designers about failure and got quite a bit of consistency in the replies:

Bad parts
Poor build quality
Capacitor aging
A/C spikes and brownouts
Overloading and shorts
Cooling system failure

Many people use "dirty power" to infer something like high frequency noise on a power line. A good transformer, UPS or PLC can help with that kind of problem but it takes a fairly exotic system to deal with a lightning strike that gets into your A/C.

Quote:
One company had a few hundred Toshiba laptops and had replaced about 90% of the AC adaptors over the 3 year life of the warranties. That to me is totally indicitive of dirty power or lots of power surges and not a badly designed product.


If 90% of the A/C adaptors I designed died within the warranty period, I'd be doing some serious redesign work and not blaming the incoming A/C.

It was only this one company that had significant failures. No one else really had any significant number of failures.....

Was a fairly common 15v 5a Lite-on AC adaptor that is standard across a good deal of the HP and Toshiba range :)