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No to modular power supplies?

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April 6, 2007 8:59:07 AM

i was reading the following article: http://www.pcpower.com/technology/myths/ and came across part 3, to do with modular PSUs.

i was leaning towards a modular PSU for my upcomming build.... should i reconsider in light of this?

any thoughts ?

thanks

More about : modular power supplies

April 6, 2007 10:15:56 AM

For the sheer convience of being able to get unnessisary cables out of the way, I would still buy one.
April 6, 2007 10:40:53 AM

Modular cables are those cables which we can add according to our needs and not stuck from the PSU right?
Related resources
April 6, 2007 11:30:09 AM

Be careful when pluggin in the PCI-Express power connection. The end that goes to the PSU looks identical to the one that goes in the card.
You must plug the proper end in the video card. Potentially you could ruin a video card by pluggging in the wrong end. Most good PSUs have a slightly different connection on one end which would force you in conecting the wrong end. The plug should go in easy without having to be forced.
April 6, 2007 12:33:53 PM

There's nothing wrong with modular power supplies, although you will find the "PC Power and Cooling or nothing" crowd telling you otherwise.


There's very very little drop off on efficiency, and you can keep your case clear of uneccessary cabling.
April 6, 2007 1:58:49 PM

In particular, Hiper PSUs are very well done and you can't connect them the wrong way around.
April 6, 2007 2:24:47 PM

Quote:
There's nothing wrong with modular power supplies, although you will find the "PC Power and Cooling or nothing" crowd telling you otherwise.

There's very very little drop off on efficiency, and you can keep your case clear of uneccessary cabling.


I just bought my first PCP&C power supply. But I also have five modular power supplies. So I think the modular debate is a bunch of BS. Is the added resistance real? Yes. Is is measurable? Yes. Does it really matter? Maybe in one application in 10000 or less. Even if you solder the power supply end of the cable, you still have a modular plug at the mobo/HD/optical/GPU end, right? So non-modular power supplies just reduce the connector resistance by a factor of two - they don't eliminate it.

Ever notice that PCP&C units use modular 120V power cables?
April 6, 2007 2:45:43 PM

good to hear... i am planning on a modular corsair psu... 620watt into a antec 900 case

thanks for the input guys
April 6, 2007 3:22:08 PM

That PSU is seriously awesome!!! Total of 50A across the three 12V rails
April 6, 2007 3:42:22 PM

I used a psu with modular cables the last time and I never want to go back to using standard cables. Yes, there is a miniscule power loss, but that's all. But good connections and basic good design of the psu make up for whatever power loss may occur. On top of that is the ability to have a cleaner case with better airflow and no unused wires to bundle up and hide. Something to keep in mind, aircraft such as 747s and Airbuses all use modular cables for their instruments. Do you think they would use modular cables if such cable connections were bad or that ineffiecient?

While a PC Power & Cooling psu is very good, I think the reasoning they give is merely a lot of biased information designed to help sell their product and nothing else.
April 6, 2007 4:16:03 PM

Quote:
Something to keep in mind, aircraft such as 747s and Airbuses all use modular cables for their instruments. Do you think they would use modular cables if such cable connections were bad or that ineffiecient?


Yea, go into a top level recording studio and look at the hundreds if not thousands of 1/4" mono, TRS and XLR connectors in the system. Audio signals are often low voltage and contain complex transients at high frequency that are much more sensitive to contact oxidation. Then again, good studio cables have gold connectors and are cleaned regularly but most of the hardware those cables plug into do not have gold contacts. I can envision a scenario where a PC could be compromised by contact resistance but that problem would have to be sitting atop other issues such as using a PS at too high of a load or one that is old and its capacitors are on the ragged edge, etc.

For important applications, I recommend using a PS with adequate headroom and regularly monitor the +3, +5 and +12 voltages. It's not a bad idea to look at +12V ripple under load once a year if you have access to a scope. I recently picked up a PCP&C Silencer 750 for my home server for just that reason. I've been using an OCZ 750 Gamextreme in that box for about a year but have recently upped the HD count to 9 and that load coupled to two OC'ed 1900XTs plus an OC'ed 4400+ was pushing the OCZ unit to the point that the +12V ripple was running 100 to 120mV. It used to run in the 60 to 80mV range and the sudden bump when a six-HD RAID and controller card were added told me that I was too close for comfort. I need this rig to run stable 24/7 so I went with the PCP&C.

Quote:
While a PC Power & Cooling psu is very good, I think the reasoning they give is merely a lot of biased information designed to help sell their product and nothing else.


I think that's a good call. When you're the most expensive seller on the block, you need to look for every bit of marketing leverage. Personally, I think they could grow their market share by adding high end modular connections as an option. The people have spoken but PCP&C aren't hearing them.

edit: typo
April 6, 2007 4:22:42 PM

Love your sig, Sailer, lol :)  . All too true of Windows....
April 6, 2007 4:35:02 PM

With all the troubles I've had with Windows the past few months, I've all but given up. The last reload I did with my XP64 machine lasted only a week before it failed following a "Critical Update" from Microsoft. To make matters worse, its currently refusing to let me reformat the hard disc. Going to have to try to muscle it or something. But what can I say, its Windows after all.
April 6, 2007 8:45:17 PM

Yeah, that's why I'm holding off Vista till at least Service Pack 1. The other software I hate is Norton Internet Security. I once had it installed, and then it messed up my Windows installation completely. Never again, a serious waste of my money...
That said, the new ZoneAlarm isn't too great either. I'm still using the older 6.5 version, as that doesn't stupidly slow down your system like the newer version 7.x does
April 6, 2007 9:15:49 PM

I really like my TT Toughpower 750 modular PSU!!! It runs cool n quiet too.
April 7, 2007 12:10:43 AM

I've never had trouble with Norton, except that its a memory hog. My Vista install won't be for a month or two, so hopefully some of the problems will get fixed by then.
April 7, 2007 12:47:10 AM

Marketing spin. Check out jonnyguru's recent test of a pcp&c 1000 vs. a silverstone 1000.
April 7, 2007 1:49:09 AM

could you post a link to it please?

thanks in advance
April 7, 2007 2:25:17 AM

I like jonny's reviews... But he doesn't do many comparisons.

The pcp&c was very impressive in how tight it controls its voltages, but it should be for that kind of money. The op1000 was no slouch either, and is available in AUS. The pcp&c is not.
April 7, 2007 2:26:21 AM

The TRUTH AND FACT is, modular is inferior at the core purpose, suppling power to components which are subject to multiple plug/unplug cycles. HOWEVER, after a certain point it is splitting hairs, and up to your discretion as to whether the scenario poses a particular addt'l risk if the connectors are modular. LOTS of things in life are technically inferior but not enough for it to ever matter in use. There will never be a technically "perfect" system.

In an ideal environment, where there is lab grade air, minimal moisture, ideal electrical contacts/crimping/wiring, quality manufacturing of connectors and QC, careful attention to detail when assembling the system, all powered parts having ideal mating connectors, and minimal to no repeat plug/unplug cycling, the difference between modular and non-modular will not matter.

The hypothetical ideal is never actually the scenario, each particular scenario a PSU is employed in will vary from the ideal to some extent. For many people a modular cabled supply will do fine and it's only one of several mitigating factors.

For example, do you know the wire gauge used on your CPU 4 or 6 pin connector? If it is 20 ga., that too is inferior construction, even moreso than whether the PSU is modular, but the two things additively make for a worse power delivery, and even worse if there were repeated plugging/unplugging, even worse if the mobo power connector isn't perfectly formed, even worse if it were unplugged and exposed to humid or dirty/dusty environment.

There are several factors that can bring problems in power delivery. Having one or two sub-optimal factors may not be a problem but if you have enough of them it can be. So far nothing has even been mentioned about exactly what the modular connectors are like, certainly all connectors are not created equal. High quality, high current connectors are not cheap, but there is a middle ground, reasonable quality connectors that are kept clean and treated gently can be sufficient. If your system gets fairly dusty or you are a smoker or in otherwise dirty environment, it would be best to keep the unused connectors covered so they aren't overly contaminated.

They're still inferior though, it's a tradeoff to get rid of the clutter. Part of the beauty of DIY is you get to pick which tradeoffs to make. The clutter is negligable too, since there is no trouble finding nylon wire ties and mounts for pennies a piece. Either option is a valid one and that both types exist in the market from respected manufacturers is exidence enough of this, but it does not mean you can assume a poorly done modular connection system will be ok merely because a well done modular connection system is ok.
April 7, 2007 4:57:59 AM

the one i am looking at getting is a corsair 620w

any opinion on these?
April 7, 2007 10:00:37 AM

Pretty good choice. Very good rails (50A total on the three +12V rails) and you get Corsair's decent RMA service if anything goes wrong.
April 7, 2007 11:49:34 AM

The PC P and C PSU in that review was like a leaf blower.

They are great PSU's but they are not worth the extra premium prices - no way. $200 more than a quality build like a Silverstone etc
April 7, 2007 1:33:26 PM

i'd have to second the person who has the tt tp 750w psu, they are quiet and are reliable, also very cool
April 8, 2007 2:22:22 PM

Quote:
I've never had trouble with Norton, except that its a memory hog. My Vista install won't be for a month or two, so hopefully some of the problems will get fixed by then.


There are Netski trojans written specifically to target Symantec products. AFAIK, Symantec still has not dealt with them but having sworn off of their stuff, I have not followed their losing battle for more than a year.
April 8, 2007 2:28:53 PM

Quote:
They're still inferior though, it's a tradeoff to get rid of the clutter. Part of the beauty of DIY is you get to pick which tradeoffs to make.


For sure. If clutter and a clean look are really important to you, just make your own custom cables, yank the existing stuff and solder yours in place. Just don't screw up. It will void the warranty but that's part of the tradeoff picture.

Quote:
The clutter is negligable too, since there is no trouble finding nylon wire ties and mounts for pennies a piece.


That's debatable. Even in large tower cases, the unused cable bundle can be a pain n the butt.
April 8, 2007 2:47:32 PM

Quote:
I've never had trouble with Norton, except that its a memory hog. My Vista install won't be for a month or two, so hopefully some of the problems will get fixed by then.


There are Netski trojans written specifically to target Symantec products. AFAIK, Symantec still has not dealt with them but having sworn off of their stuff, I have not followed their losing battle for more than a year.

That's a problem with almost any popullar software or anti-virus. People take specific aim at it in the hope of causing trouble. I alternate among three different anti-virus programs, though I use Norton the most. I figure that by doing that, what one misses, another will pick up. Its not perfect, but its about the best that I know to do.
April 8, 2007 3:20:03 PM

Quote:
With all the troubles I've had with Windows the past few months, I've all but given up. The last reload I did with my XP64 machine lasted only a week before it failed following a "Critical Update" from Microsoft. To make matters worse, its currently refusing to let me reformat the hard disc. Going to have to try to muscle it or something. But what can I say, its Windows after all.


I've had my server running XP Pro SP2 up since late december. Only restarts were from required updates.
April 8, 2007 3:29:33 PM

There are some big differences between XP and XP64, as I have learned. Part of it is caused by the lack of compatible programing and drivers. You can read about the driver problems that are appearing with Vista, well, they're the same with XP64. The companies just haven't been doing much to write drivers for 64 bit systems.

I had put the XP64 on a new hard drive and I kept the old hard drive with XP on it as a back up. Fortunate, I was. The XP hard drive is back in the computer and working fine.
April 8, 2007 6:05:09 PM

Quote:
I've never had trouble with Norton, except that its a memory hog. My Vista install won't be for a month or two, so hopefully some of the problems will get fixed by then.


There are Netski trojans written specifically to target Symantec products. AFAIK, Symantec still has not dealt with them but having sworn off of their stuff, I have not followed their losing battle for more than a year.

That's a problem with almost any popullar software or anti-virus. People take specific aim at it in the hope of causing trouble. I alternate among three different anti-virus programs, though I use Norton the most. I figure that by doing that, what one misses, another will pick up. Its not perfect, but its about the best that I know to do.

My problem with Symantec is that they have known about the Netski problem for 4 years now and have not dealt with it. That's lame. Microsoft has many security problems but at least they try to deal with them when they pop up. Regardless, I don't want to run more than one AV because I've had conflicts before.
April 9, 2007 12:57:29 PM

Yeah, XP64 drivers are lame (in that, there aren't many)
April 9, 2007 3:59:35 PM

I think I'd be more worried about the wee bit of capacitance of the extra wires than the wee bit of resistance of an extra connection. Though neither are really valid concerns, it sounds like that article is just marketing.
April 10, 2007 12:40:58 AM

I use all the cables in my 1kw PCP&C, so modular cabling isn't an issue with me. I need 'em all, darn it!
April 10, 2007 1:04:26 AM

Quote:
I use all the cables in my 1kw PCP&C, so modular cabling isn't an issue with me. I need 'em all, darn it!
8O 8O 8O 8O
April 10, 2007 1:08:04 AM

Quote:
Very popular and a good qualtiy unit.



i agree.
April 10, 2007 3:10:28 AM

I third that with my Corsair HX520W, its ultra quiet.
April 10, 2007 8:41:07 PM

I agree on the quietness of the Corsair. Got mine today and its now in my old PC for now. Really shows up how loud the CPU fan is.
That little humming bird.
April 11, 2007 11:40:06 PM

From what i can tell after reading PC Power & Cooling's website:
They seem to be anti-modular and anti-120mm-underside-fan.
(anti-seasonic?) :roll:
Yet only a majority of their PSUs have 74% or 75% efficiency. Thats the stuff under 700 watts. Only their top of the line 750 watt and KiloWatt PSU are at 83% efficiency. Also those 2 seem to be the only ones with sleeved cables.
Whats up with that? :?

(i know i'm gonna get flamed by the PC p&c fanboys)
April 11, 2007 11:57:38 PM

I have a Corsair 520w and it is an awesome PSU. I would not worry one bit about selecting a Corsair modular.
April 12, 2007 12:22:57 AM

Personally, I'm going with a modular PSU on my next build because it will reduce cable clutter. Anything that will reduce cable clutter to me is a good thing because it will lead to better airflow. Better airflow means better cooling.
April 15, 2007 1:59:52 AM

Quote:
I think I'd be more worried about the wee bit of capacitance of the extra wires than the wee bit of resistance of an extra connection. Though neither are really valid concerns, it sounds like that article is just marketing.


Your speculation is premature. What I really mean is you're applying theory of something that is a problem in very particular situations to a dissimilar situation. Knowing a little about electronics is sometimes only enough to get yourself into trouble.

There is no problem at all from cable capacitance. We are not attempting to transmit broadband signals over PSU cabling, and there is no issue of driver subcircuit stability on the output of a rectification-inductor-capacitor (and sometimes addt'l RC for current sharing on split supplies) series, but you aren't even thinking about what this power delivery and connected subsystems are comprised of- on both ends of the cable are hundreds if not thousands of uF of capacitance.

The resistance on the other hand REALLY IS a concern if the connections are not ideal. Remember that a slight resistance becomes more problematic the higher the current. Previously I cited an example of using 20 ga wires for a CPU, did you realize that alone will drop multiple tenths of a volt on a modern CPU at full load? These are the reasons why at some points the connectors add 6 leads instead of 4 but really to "Do it right" the PSU would have a remote sensing lead that goes to the same power plug to provide a global feedback loop from the load instead of only on the PSU PCB.

Fortunately there is a good tolerance of voltage fluctuation on that particular circuit, it could be off by an entire 10% (this including recovery time depressions) and the following VRM subcircuit would still work fine. More problematic in some cases is that if the connector is creating heat, that, particularly thermal cycling from a system that doesn't stay on, will further degrade the connection over time. That can foul contacts, increasing resistance or going to intermittent connection or even melting the plastic connector block. It doesn't happen very often, but in the past we were asking less current than today. Today we could conceivably have very large repetitive current swings from CPU or GPU in particular.

In the end it won't usually be a problem, but that's no consolation to anyone who is effected. So it goes for many areas of a modern, complex computer. Many things may be only a minor risk but if you keep adding minor risks, eventually the odds catch up and the resultant problem could be significant.
April 15, 2007 2:07:09 PM

Quote:
Your speculation is premature.


Does that make him a premature e-speculator?
April 15, 2007 8:13:44 PM

I would most likely never purchase a PC P and P unit cause of their ridiculous price but after reading the review of the 1000W PC P&P vs a 1000W silverstone it was easy to see that even though the PC P and P had lower efficiency its ripple was practically ZERO all the way up to 900W, simple put it was quite amazing.
April 15, 2007 8:42:18 PM

Quote:
From what i can tell after reading PC Power & Cooling's website:
They seem to be anti-modular and anti-120mm-underside-fan.
(anti-seasonic?) :roll:
Yet only a majority of their PSUs have 74% or 75% efficiency. Thats the stuff under 700 watts. Only their top of the line 750 watt and KiloWatt PSU are at 83% efficiency. Also those 2 seem to be the only ones with sleeved cables.
Whats up with that? :?

(i know i'm gonna get flamed by the PC p&c fanboys)


No flame from here. What's up is marketing bias and telling the truth, but only the truth that they want you to hear, while ignoring other things that may also be true. I think "selective truth" might be a term that would fit.

In the meantime, my modular cabled, 140mm fan cooled, up to 85% efficiency rated ThermalTake 700wt psu keeps putting out good power for my computer. I do note that the 1000wt PC P&P psu had a very good efficiency in its low ripple readings, but I'm not in the market for a 1000wt psu and the Silverstone psu had its strong points as well.
April 16, 2007 3:38:18 AM

Quote:
Your speculation is premature. What I really mean is you're applying theory of something that is a problem in very particular situations to a dissimilar situation. Knowing a little about electronics is sometimes only enough to get yourself into trouble.

There is no problem at all from cable capacitance. We are not attempting to transmit broadband signals over PSU cabling, and there is no issue of driver subcircuit stability on the output of a rectification-inductor-capacitor (and sometimes addt'l RC for current sharing on split supplies) series, but you aren't even thinking about what this power delivery and connected subsystems are comprised of- on both ends of the cable are hundreds if not thousands of uF of capacitance.

The resistance on the other hand REALLY IS a concern if the connections are not ideal. Remember that a slight resistance becomes more problematic the higher the current. Previously I cited an example of using 20 ga wires for a CPU, did you realize that alone will drop multiple tenths of a volt on a modern CPU at full load? These are the reasons why at some points the connectors add 6 leads instead of 4 but really to "Do it right" the PSU would have a remote sensing lead that goes to the same power plug to provide a global feedback loop from the load instead of only on the PSU PCB.

Fortunately there is a good tolerance of voltage fluctuation on that particular circuit, it could be off by an entire 10% (this including recovery time depressions) and the following VRM subcircuit would still work fine. More problematic in some cases is that if the connector is creating heat, that, particularly thermal cycling from a system that doesn't stay on, will further degrade the connection over time. That can foul contacts, increasing resistance or going to intermittent connection or even melting the plastic connector block. It doesn't happen very often, but in the past we were asking less current than today. Today we could conceivably have very large repetitive current swings from CPU or GPU in particular.

In the end it won't usually be a problem, but that's no consolation to anyone who is effected. So it goes for many areas of a modern, complex computer. Many things may be only a minor risk but if you keep adding minor risks, eventually the odds catch up and the resultant problem could be significant.


Okay I think you missed my point, what I was saying is either situation has insignificant issues and isn't a concern. I've never heard of anyone having issues with a high quality modular power supply, only cheap ones, and this PSU as reguarded as quality, so I believe you're reading into it way too much. I've assembled hundreds of stable systems with modular power supplies, and noone had any complaints.

Quote:
Knowing a little about electronics is sometimes only enough to get yourself into trouble.


I know more than a little about electronics, but I don't claim to know a ton about power supplies. My real world experiences I believe are enough to warrant my claim of it not being a significant issue.
April 16, 2007 4:20:32 AM

pc power cooling makes good stuff no doubt

but the silverstone strider 700 at $137 at east luna is better value then the $200 pc pwer and cooling unit plus its modular


LET ME EXPLAIN THIS: first your competition comes out with something first and your leader!

you can:
1) be second and loose leadership or
2) make up a bunch of bs so that you still look like #1


pc power cooling has been ripping people off with $500 psu's - so when good psu's come out then they come out with a $200 unit! right???


Now ask yourself - how many corroded parts do ever see in any pc?? yes ---NONE!

WHAT A BUNCH OF BS!
!