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Advice needed on PSU (Antec SmartPower)

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January 26, 2007 4:30:29 PM

Hi all... :) 

I'm building myself a new desktop machine (haven't done so for about 6 years now), moving on from my Dell Inspiron 1150 laptop and selected all the components and was happy enough with everything to place the order last Saturday. However, I've been doing further research on the PSU that I have and opinion appears to be rather mixed on it (many reviews seem to think it's great but there also seem to be a lot of people with problems with it or failure after a few months). I would appreciate some opinions and/or suggestions on alternatives... :) 

I'm obtaining all the parts from Dabs.com and am currently still able to change any aspects of the order up until roughly Tuesday when the last of the stock I'm waiting for should arrive.

Specs:

-Antec Sonata II case including SmartPower 2.0 450W PSU (12V1/15A, 12V2/17A)
-Gigabyte 965P-DS3
-Intel Core 2 Duo E6600
-Corsair 2x1GB DDR2 XMS2-6400 CL5
-MSI GeForce 7900GTO 512MB
-2xSeagate Barracuda 7200.10 320GB SATA, to be configured RAID-0
-Couple of optical drives I've scavenged from old machines
-Hauppauge Win TV Nova-T PCI

I'm currently spending £74ish on the case+PSU and can't really afford to spend much more. I don't intend to do any overclocking to start with (maybe a little bit a few months down the line), nor do I intend to ever do SLI. Suggestions? Is the SmartPower a problem or am I just getting jittery? (Any other comments on the specs are welcome too...)
January 26, 2007 5:51:41 PM

Your really pushing that psu, it'll work, but i would avoid heavy gaming and buy a more powerful one as soon as you afford it. This is an awesome deal. If you cant get that one this is a much better psu in terms of both quality and power then that smartpower one.
January 26, 2007 6:26:48 PM

Like Apt403 said...That power supply will work, but you're pushing it to the very edge. I would go with at least a 500Watt PSU.

Corsair has a very nice 620 Watt powersupply that is very efficient and it will give your system plenty of power and alittle head room.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

I bought it and I have only 2/3 of what you are running on your system.
It has modular cabling so you can keep the inside of your case clean, and it has plenty of extra cables incase you want to add more shit later down the road.
Related resources
January 26, 2007 7:09:37 PM

You know I'm not an advocate of cheap brands but I bought a Rosewill 600W and I am very pleased with it. Though, to be quite honest, I've only had a problem with a handful of power supplies and those were... cheap brands. I pretty much stick to name-brand such as Thermaltake, Antec, OCZ, etc.
January 26, 2007 8:03:35 PM

Unfortunately, the Corsair 620W is definitely out of my price range. The FSP isn't stocked at Dabs - haven't tried looking elsewhere yet. The alternative Antec one does look affordable though I'm getting horribly confused about the various voltage rails - this model seems to have three. So what would power what? There would seem to be a lot of redundant technology, namely a 4+4 connector for the MB (but my motherboard only has one 4 pin connector) and two PCI-e connectors (but I'm only going to use one). Each 12V rail can supply 17A which is the same as the SmartPower model was for the 12V2 (and 15A for the 12V1), but I'm presuming the fact that there are three is the advantage here. It depends on which rails go where though... As I say, horribly confused - some explanation would be very welcome.

If I settle on a new PSU, can anybody recommend a reasonable case that won't take the price of both PSU and case over £100?
January 26, 2007 8:05:19 PM

Read the psu 101 sticky at the top of this forum, all will be clear.
January 26, 2007 8:16:55 PM

Yeah - I'd read that post. Helpful as it was, it still left me confused about there being 3 rails (I'd just got to grips with the concept of 2!). However, I've found a review that cleared up my confusion - apparently 12V1 supplies the 4-pin MB connector, 12V2 supplies the 24-pin connector and the 2 modular connectors closest to the fixed cables and 12V3 supplies the 3 modular connectors furthest from the fixed cables.

So presumably the ideal setup would be to let 12V3 be dedicated to the 7900GTO via one PCI-E cable and to have 12V2 power all the drives, TV tuner etc.? This seems a little overkill - does the 7900GTO really need 17A to itself? That gives it room to 204W! Of course, I'd rather have spare headroom than run out. I'm guessing that whilst this is a SLI PSU, it would only be suitable for lower powered cards than mine in SLI configuration?

When people say that the SmartPower would be pushed, presumably this is in terms of the available current rather than the wattage (especially since an alternative 450W PSU was suggested)?

Still struggling with a case - it's a shame, I really like the Sonata II case!
January 26, 2007 9:15:00 PM

Well the Neo HE 500 has a maximum available power of 456W to the 3 12V rails combined, resulting in 38A of available current (each of the 3 individual rails can support a max of 17A) Is this overkill, or a reasonable figure to go for?

As a matter of comparison, the SmartPower specs don't state a max power for the 12V rails, but just one for the 3.3V, 5V and 12V all together of 410W, which if it were all going to the 12V (which it obviously wouldn't) would be about 34A (12V1 rated for max 15A, 12V2 for 17A).

As far as cases are concerned, I'm looking at the Antec SLK3000B at the moment, though I'm really trying to decide if I can afford the Antec Solo since it appeals in the same ways that the Sonata II did. (seem to have a big thing for Antec going on at the moment...)
January 26, 2007 9:48:53 PM

I also have an Antec case that had a Smartpower power supply with it (500W). I have replaced it twice over the past year and a half (it was warrantied so it was a free replacement both times but also a hassle). So far the third has been fine for the 2mos. or so. I originally wanted to get the Truepower series (Seasonic I think builds them for Antec) but figured it was a good deal so I went for it.
My advice would be, spend the money and get a good quality PSU. The more expensive antecs (like the Neo and Truepower) are good but the cheaper ones are questionable. I know I will buy one if my PSU goes on me again regardless of the warranty.
Good luck and Happy hunting :wink:
a b ) Power supply
January 26, 2007 10:04:03 PM

ahhh haaahaaaa yeah...thats not gonna over due that psu to any extent....too many people on here just think they know it all.....

Proof.....here i am running it...lots of games....over clocked to 3.6.... it still took it...

Clipped it from the AC side of things....444 Watts (that was back @ stock...)

so whats that mean....well take it as a 80% AC/DC conversion.....its more like 76.....

that means my system draws about 360 watts with dual prime / serious sam 2(this seams to heat work the video card well @ max settings) / defrag loaded to the nuts....

All i am gonna say....there is still enough power.....

That said....i will get a new psu.....but only for less noise/modular cables.....
January 26, 2007 10:51:54 PM

Damn, there's alot of replies on this thread! I read a couple, but then just skipped to the bottom. So if I post something that's already been posted, I appologize...lol

When I want to get an idea of how much power I need, I go to this site:
...it's a powersupply calculator...very handy.

http://www.extreme.outervision.com/psucalculator.jsp



Since that Corsair PSU was alittle much, I'd try Enermax. They would have been my second choice. For the price, Thermaltake is pretty decent too. Now if you want to stick with the Antec name brand, go ahead. I never owned one, but I'm sure they're pretty decent.

This Antec PSU is what I would recommend.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
January 26, 2007 11:24:04 PM

I will probably add it to my yearly upgrade/maintenance schedule. I just need it to last till july.
January 27, 2007 7:13:11 AM

Wow - such a lot of replies. Thanks everyone, keep them coming! :) 

I'll try to take each in turn:

Quote:
The NeoHE is a great option. Yes it offers a total amperage of 38A. This is plenty for your system leaving plenty of room to grow and or OC. You would easily be able to upgrade to an 8800GTS later on down the road without having to upgrade the PSU as well.

As far as cases are concerned it may be best to just get somthing cheap for now and save up for a better case. Just make sure you get a nice sturdy/ well built case for now and get the case you really want later.

Yeah, I'm definitely warming to the NeoHE. I do like the idea of having a little headroom for potential upgrades later on and this is particularly suitable since I don't think I'm ever going to be able to kit this out as a SLI system - I'd rather spend the money on a better single card (indeed if I thought I was going to SLI it in the future, I'd have paid a little extra for a MB that would do it). However, more than anything I want a PSU that'll be reliable - I've spent a lot of money (certainly to me anyway!) on this machine and waited a long time for it, and the last thing I want is to have it for 2 months and then not be able to use it for a month while I get the PSU replaced on warranty.

As far as the case is concerned, you may be right. I've really got to decide if I can afford the Solo. After all I think I'd rather spend £50-60 on a case now than £20-30 now and then another £50-60 later (totalling £70-90).

Quote:
I also have an Antec case that had a Smartpower power supply with it (500W). I have replaced it twice over the past year and a half (it was warrantied so it was a free replacement both times but also a hassle).

Yeah - hearing this kind of tale increasingly is what's put me off the Smartpower. As you say, it's the hassle that's the problem, despite the warranty.

Quote:
ahhh haaahaaaa yeah...thats not gonna over due that psu to any extent....too many people on here just think they know it all.....
Just when I thought I had it all figured out, things get complicated hey?... lol Looking at your specs reassures me that the SmartPower could run everything and reaffirms my faith in the conclusion I came to in the first place when I chose it. However, at the moment, more than anything it's the lack of reliability that's putting me off - there are a lot of people out there who've had the SmartPowers fail on them - the customer reviews on that NewEgg site under the SP-450, as well as under the Sonata II case was what tipped me off to that in the first place. Of course, people with problems are more likely to post a review than people with no problems, but it's still a lot of failures. Especially the people (like Finneus) who talk of having one fail and then having its replacement fail too, and the people who talk of buying say 5 of them and having 2 fail.

Quote:
When I want to get an idea of how much power I need, I go to this site:
...it's a powersupply calculator...very handy.

http://www.extreme.outervision.com/psucalculator.jsp

Since that Corsair PSU was alittle much, I'd try Enermax. They would have been my second choice. For the price, Thermaltake is pretty decent too. Now if you want to stick with the Antec name brand, go ahead. I never owned one, but I'm sure they're pretty decent.

Yeah, I've used the PSU calculator thanks - it's good. It came up with a total wattage of 329W for my system - I'm guessing that's the power that would be theoretically drawn if every component was running at full pelt.

As far as brand is concerned, I don't feel particularly drawn to Antec in any way (although the fact that they have a better website than most with reasonably good information on it is encouraging), but at the moment they seem the best balance between price and performance. The NeoHE you point to is my principle candidate at the moment.

Thanks again everyone - keep them coming! :) 
January 27, 2007 7:38:21 AM

Unfortunately, the SeaSonic offerings on Dabs at least are a fair bit more expensive than the NeoHE.
January 27, 2007 5:38:20 PM

Well I've updated the order to remove the Sonata II and replace it with the Antec Solo and the NeoHE 500W (bit the bullet and decided I'd cough up the extra cash!)

Does anybody know anything about the ThermalTake Soprano case? (VB1000SWS) The one thing putting me off the Solo at the moment is the unfortunate fact that my optical drives and floppy drives are beige and the Solo is black/silver and I can't help but think that the drives would look awful with it! However, the idea of a "silent" case really appeals and I believe that the Solo is probably the far quieter of these two cases?
January 27, 2007 11:02:21 PM

I have the sonata II, and I love it. I'm sure the solo will be nice too. Because I've had it for almost a year, I'm in the market for a new PSU myself. Have you checked out the Corsair HX 520? All the bells and whistles of the 620 for less money and 40A on the 12v rail instead of 50A.
January 28, 2007 6:54:41 AM

The Corsair HX 520 sounds nice and is only about £15 more than the NeoHE. However, I think that the NeoHE will be more than sufficient so I've pretty much made my mind up now - NeoHE and Solo case (and damn the mismatched colours - I wonder if I could paint the drives...?!)

Right now I'm having a bit of a Vista/XP crisis. It seems that redeeming the free upgrade from XP to Vista (which I'd want to do at some point) is not an easy process for DIYers, since the coupons suggest that they want a receipt for a fully assembled computer system. Some people seem to think that sending a receipt with a motherboard, CPU, RAM and HDD (with the XP purchase on it too) is sufficient, others don't. Also, it seems technically feasible to register as a system builder and sell the machine to myself or something stupid like that, but it all sounds a bit awkward, so I'm thinking maybe I should just order Vista from the start and put up with the bumps while the hardware and software support improves...

Anyway, I'm drifting rather out of the scope of this forum! Thanks so much for all the replies on the PSU situation people. :)  I'll post and let everyone know how it went when I finally get my new system...
January 28, 2007 4:27:22 PM

Yeah I'm in the UK, though I've heard very bad things about Scan's after-sales customer service.

I appreciate the suggestions, but I've settled on the Antec NeoHE now. Besides, isn't the wattage (and hence the price) on those two a tad overkill for a non-SLI system? :) 
January 28, 2007 4:42:27 PM

It's immaterial now, you made a great choice anyhoo!!!


:lol: 
January 31, 2007 7:52:27 PM

Well all the components finally arrived today (well almost - I'm still waiting for a USB panel), though I ended up switching to the DS4 motherboard. Everything is working perfectly so far. Thanks so much for all the suggestions, folks. :) 

I did have a minor moment of concern when I was looking at the CPU temperatures. The CPU in my Inspiron has a "Thermal Design Specification" of 100C, compared to 60.1C for the E6600. Now my laptop never reaches anythin close to 100 - it maxes at about 73 or so, so I was a bit concerned when this idled in the 40s. However, turns out that Intel define "Thermal Design Specification" differently for desktop and mobile processors, so all is fine. :)  This one maxes out at about 64 (with TAT), but drops back down extremely quickly when the load is removed (unlike my old one).

Anyway, thanks again all. :) 
February 1, 2007 1:14:11 AM

For desktop processors, 40C - 60C is pretty normal. However, if you are uncomfortable with that, you could get an aftermarket CPU fan. That would more than likely drop your temps 20%.

I don't remember what processor you said you had so this fan and heatsink may not work for you, but if it does, I'd highy recommend the ZALMAN CNPS9500.
February 1, 2007 5:55:09 AM

Yeah, it's the Core 2 Duo E6600 with the provided cooling. I was a little anxious about the thermal material - it comes with some preapplied, but it's in the form of three weird strips that don't look like they'll do the job at all. I would have been much happier just applying a bit of thermal paste.

Still, everything's fine at the moment and, as I say, the temperature drops again very quickly after load, so I'll leave it as is for now and see how it goes. May get a new fan and heatsink a few months down the line if I decide to try some overclocking. Thanks for the suggestion.
February 1, 2007 6:49:42 AM

No problem. :D 

I would like to mention that if you do overclock, then I would highly recommend getting an aftermarket CPU heatsink and fan. Also a good application of Artic Silver thermal grease would be greatly beneficial.
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