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Preparing to upgrade, unsure about power supply

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January 16, 2007 3:43:52 PM

I currently have an Athlon 64 3500+ on an Abit K8N-SLI with 2 x 512 MB DDR 400, a Geforce 6600GT 128 MB, 2 x 7200 RPM HDD (Western digital S-ATA 250 GB and Maxtor S-ATA 2 300 GB), an Hercules game Theater XP sound card, a LG DVD-Rom drive and a Sony DVD Writer (DV-22A).

The case and power supply I have are the Antec Sonata (the 1st one, not Sonata 2), it comes with an Antec 380 Watts power supply. The system is very stable, but I want to upgrade and I am not sure is that power supply will be enough. But if it is, the 100$ saving would be very appreciated.

I want to buy a Core 2 duo E4300 with a Gigabyte 965P motherboard with 2 x 1 Gig DDR2-800 and overclock this thing to FSB 400 Mhz (and switch the memory ratio to 1:1). For the graphic card, I want to upgrade my 6600GT to one of the directX 10 cards coming this month or next month (probably in the 200-250$ range, so maybe a Geforce 8600 Ultra. I might also sell this with my old 250 Gig WD hard drive and buy a 400 Gig seagate, but in any way, I'll end up with 2 x 7200 RPM HDD.

Do you think my power supply will be ebough and that this system would be very stable? I really need something VERY stable (like my old P4 northwood 1.6 that I ran at 2.13 :)  ). If you think there might be a stability issue, I would rather wait and put some more money to buy the 2.4 or 2.67 Ghz version of the core 2 Duo FSB 1333 coming in Q2 with a new power supply.
January 16, 2007 4:27:42 PM

First off, your old power supply won't put out enough power. It was good in its day, but its day has passed. Since you're going to DX10 card, and I assume Vista to take advantage of it, I'd recommend a psu in the range of 700-750wt. That may seem like a bit much to some people, but it gives you enough power that you should be able to make a few hardware upgrades without further problems.

Second, though I don't see any particular stability issues in your currect hardware list, you might consider a higher cpu, such as the 2.4 or 2.67 ghz versions that you mention. Since you're willing to wait a bit, this is the best course, in my opinion.

Third, I'd keep and use the old hard drives. Since they're SATA, they should work just fine with what you have. That would save some money over buying new hard drives.
January 16, 2007 4:38:06 PM

Quote:
First off, your old power supply won't put out enough power. It was good in its day, but its day has passed. Since you're going to DX10 card, and I assume Vista to take advantage of it, I'd recommend a psu in the range of 700-750wt. That may seem like a bit much to some people, but it gives you enough power that you should be able to make a few hardware upgrades without further problems.

Second, though I don't see any particular stability issues in your currect hardware list, you might consider a higher cpu, such as the 2.4 or 2.67 ghz versions that you mention. Since you're willing to wait a bit, this is the best course, in my opinion.

Third, I'd keep and use the old hard drives. Since they're SATA, they should work just fine with what you have. That would save some money over buying new hard drives.


You have got to be kidding me? 700-750 Watts power supply! I really do hope you are wrong because those are very expensive.

I can't figure out what are the real numbers about power supply because every "power measurement test" either on tomshardware or anandtech would let you think even a 300 Watts is more than enough (those core 2 duos overclocked to 3.3 Ghz with a Geforce 8800 GTX barely consume 210 Watts). But still, ordinary computers now have 400-450 Watts power supply, how can we know what to do?

Yeah, I am willing to wait, but only if I have good reason to or it would be too expensive to have something good in the next month.
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January 16, 2007 4:58:54 PM

Unfortunately, I'm not kidding about the psu. I recently bought a 700wt myself in preparation for a DX10 card for about $150.00. It does depend a bit on the total amount of hardware you have running, how much you overclock, etc. You might get by with a 600-650wt psu if you don't have much hardware. Also, like many people, I tend to add a 100wts to whatever is calculated so to allow for wear on the psu as time goes on and to allow a bit of room for future upgrades. Still, the DX10 cards are a lot more hungry then the DX9 cards.

A good psu calculator is at: http://www.extreme.outervision.com/psucalculator.jsp.
January 16, 2007 5:13:56 PM

Nope, he's not kidding. At the very least, you're most likely gonna need something in the range of 580-600 watts to assure stability. Make sure it's from a good manufacturer, too. If you pay much less than $100 you'll probably have trouble.
-Brett
January 16, 2007 6:14:28 PM

I think your current power supply will be adequate. I base this opinion on my own experience building computers and also on information from Silent PC Review's web site. Check out SPCR's article titled Power Supply Fundamentals.
January 16, 2007 6:31:47 PM

If I would only upgrade the board/CPU/RAM for now, and upgrade the graphic card and power supply later, would my current power supply be enough for my system with the core 2 duo e4300 o/c to 400 Mhz FSB (so something like 2.7 Ghz with voltage boosted a bit of course for it to be stable)?
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