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Antec 450W SmartPower 2.0 PSU Dilemma

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April 9, 2007 2:29:45 PM

Hi Community,

I'm in a bind right now, as I really don't know how to approach the current situation. I recently purchased a used 2-month old rig off of ebay for $718 shipped:

Antec Sonata 2 Case w/ Antec 450 Watt SmartPower 2.0 PSU; 120MM case Fan w/ 3 speeds included
MSI P965 Neo Motherboard: 5 Sata ports, 1 IDE port, 8 USB 2.0 ports, 1 Gigabyte Lan Adapter, 8.1 Codec Audio, Serial, Parallel
Intel Core 2 Duo e6300 1.86 GHZ , 1066MHZ bus 2MB Cache
1 x 1 GB pc667 Super Talent DDR2
250 GB Segate Barracuda Sata 2 Hard Drive 7200 Rpm
Nvidia Geforce 7300 GS
Lite On 16X DVD/RW CD/RW Sata 2 drive
Fresh load of XP Pro with all updates including IE7 and Media player 11, AVG Anti-Virus and Spyware, Microsoft Office 2003, Nero 7
Logitech Deluxe keyboard and mouse
17" flat-screen Dell monitor

Sweet deal, IMO. But the 7300GT is crap for what I need it for. It can't handle MVP Baseball 07 (fully modded) at max settings. Therefore, decided to purchase a video card. In researching the best video card for my PSU, I discovered that the 450 watt SmartPower 2.0 that came with had some pretty harsh reviews. I really don't want to spend money on purchasing a new PSU, but I feel that without something solid to handle my rig (which doesn't seem extremely power hungry), I may risk my entire setup. I don't know what to do but I really want to purchase a new video card to start gaming. :( 

1.Should I puchase a new PSU. If so, which one.
2.If my PSU is good enough. What's the best video card out there that the PSU could handle. I'm willing to spend around $200 for a video card.

Thanks guys :D 

More about : antec 450w smartpower psu dilemma

April 9, 2007 3:03:46 PM

Since $200 is your budget for a GPU, I would recommend the GIGABYTE GV-RX195P256D-RH Radeon X1950PRO for ~180 shipped @ newegg (open box)
Or from mwave for $170/$177 shipped (brand new retail box)

I like this card since it has the ZALMAN VF700-ALCU installed and it is a superior GPU HSF over most stock coolers in both noise and life expectancy.

With this upgrade your setup will only need about +12v@~16A so any unit that is +12v@20A or better should work no problem. Yours could handle it but there is a slight risk that it will die a premature death and possible harm your components. A good replacement would be this FSP AX450-PN, it's a decent balance between cost/reliability/performance.
April 9, 2007 3:34:53 PM

Quote:
Since $200 is your budget for a GPU, I would recommend the GIGABYTE GV-RX195P256D-RH Radeon X1950PRO for ~180 shipped @ newegg (open box)
Or from mwave for $170/$177 shipped (brand new retail box)

I like this card since it has the ZALMAN VF700-ALCU installed and it is a superior GPU HSF over most stock coolers in both noise and life expectancy.

With this upgrade your setup will only need about +12v@~16A so any unit that is +12v@20A or better should work no problem. Yours could handle it but there is a slight risk that it will die a premature death and possible harm your components. A good replacement would be this FSP AX450-PN, it's a decent balance between cost/reliability/performance.


Thanks for the quick response. In your opinion, what do you think I should do.

1.Add another 1GB stick of memory (~$60) + video card (~$200) = ~$260 (I don't know how much of a change will an extra GB of memory do for me); or

2.Purchase a new PSU (I was thinking of purchasing a 2 year-old PCP&C 550W Turbo-Cool SLI) (~$80) + video card (~$200) = ~$280 (will my setup be hampered by a lack of memory?)

*I was also looking at the Sapphire x1950pro w/Zalman VF900. I know the VF900 is about $20 more than the VF700, but is it worth the extra outlay of cash for a video card?

Let me know. Anyone else could chime in if they want.
April 9, 2007 4:00:50 PM

Quote:
Since $200 is your budget for a GPU, I would recommend the GIGABYTE GV-RX195P256D-RH Radeon X1950PRO for ~180 shipped @ newegg (open box)
Or from mwave for $170/$177 shipped (brand new retail box)

I like this card since it has the ZALMAN VF700-ALCU installed and it is a superior GPU HSF over most stock coolers in both noise and life expectancy.

With this upgrade your setup will only need about +12v@~16A so any unit that is +12v@20A or better should work no problem. Yours could handle it but there is a slight risk that it will die a premature death and possible harm your components. A good replacement would be this FSP AX450-PN, it's a decent balance between cost/reliability/performance.


Thanks for the quick response. In your opinion, what do you think I should do.

1.Add another 1GB stick of memory (~$60) + video card (~$200) = ~$260 (I don't know how much of a change will an extra GB of memory do for me); or

2.Purchase a new PSU (I was thinking of purchasing a 2 year-old PCP&C 550W Turbo-Cool SLI) (~$80) + video card (~$200) = ~$280 (will my setup be hampered by a lack of memory?)

*I was also looking at the Sapphire x1950pro w/Zalman VF900. I know the VF900 is about $20 more than the VF700, but is it worth the extra outlay of cash for a video card?

Let me know. Anyone else could chime in if they want.

Earlier power supplies in the Sonata used bad capacitors which had a very high failure rate. However their supplies now have upgraded parts. That leaves them as being pretty decent, and better than no-name junk. My overclocked P4 has merrily being running along 24/7 since October on the Smartpower 450 in the Sonata II.

Here's a quote from an Antec rep: "Yes, you can check the serial number on the PSU. If it is x0607xxxxxxx or higher, you're good. PSUs with s/n's lower are probably good but could possibly be defective. The defective units will either not work at all or, if working, will have symptoms including audible buzzing or whining.

Brian Mikol
Account Manager
Antec, Inc. "

The serial is on the side of the supply and easy to see with the case open..If it's the described serial or above, use the supply, if it's lower get a new supply
April 9, 2007 4:08:52 PM

Quote:
Since $200 is your budget for a GPU, I would recommend the GIGABYTE GV-RX195P256D-RH Radeon X1950PRO for ~180 shipped @ newegg (open box)
Or from mwave for $170/$177 shipped (brand new retail box)

I like this card since it has the ZALMAN VF700-ALCU installed and it is a superior GPU HSF over most stock coolers in both noise and life expectancy.

With this upgrade your setup will only need about +12v@~16A so any unit that is +12v@20A or better should work no problem. Yours could handle it but there is a slight risk that it will die a premature death and possible harm your components. A good replacement would be this FSP AX450-PN, it's a decent balance between cost/reliability/performance.


Thanks for the quick response. In your opinion, what do you think I should do.

1.Add another 1GB stick of memory (~$60) + video card (~$200) = ~$260 (I don't know how much of a change will an extra GB of memory do for me); or

2.Purchase a new PSU (I was thinking of purchasing a 2 year-old PCP&C 550W Turbo-Cool SLI) (~$80) + video card (~$200) = ~$280 (will my setup be hampered by a lack of memory?)

*I was also looking at the Sapphire x1950pro w/Zalman VF900. I know the VF900 is about $20 more than the VF700, but is it worth the extra outlay of cash for a video card?

Let me know. Anyone else could chime in if they want.

Earlier power supplies in the Sonata used bad capacitors which had a very high failure rate. However their supplies now have upgraded parts. That leaves them as being pretty decent, and better than no-name junk. My overclocked P4 has merrily being running along 24/7 since October on the Smartpower 450 in the Sonata II.

Here's a quote from an Antec rep: "Yes, you can check the serial number on the PSU. If it is x0607xxxxxxx or higher, you're good. PSUs with s/n's lower are probably good but could possibly be defective. The defective units will either not work at all or, if working, will have symptoms including audible buzzing or whining.

Brian Mikol
Account Manager
Antec, Inc. "

The serial is on the side of the supply and easy to see with the case open..If it's the described serial or above, use the supply, if it's lower get a new supply

BustedSony,

You're the man with that reply :) 

I really appreciate it. I'm going to check my PSU when I get back from work, but your post has already eased a lot of apprehension I had. I just don't want to start spending money for nothing. Thanks again :wink:
April 9, 2007 4:56:05 PM

I just checked the serial number on my SP 500 and it is lower than x0607, so I have one of the potential defectives. However, it has been working fine since Nov 2005 and makes no noise, so, so far, so good.

I did buy a Seasonic M12 500 as a replacement for it a few months ago, but it ( the M12) will not work with my Chaintech motherboard. It will not fire up, not even the cooling fan when it is installed in the case and the computer on button is pressed. The M12 cooling fan will spin when the 4 and 5 pins are shorted.

I RMA'ed it, but the second one was the same. So, I have decided to keep it for a future build.

-Bob
April 9, 2007 5:02:58 PM

In regards to getting the x1950Pro, go with the ASUS Eax version, the cooler on that thing is AMAZING! I'm serious! at 100% it is near silent!

On a side note, the 7900GS can be had for $135 on the egg, runs cooler, and requires less power! With the 7900GS your PSU will likely be fine so you can add that extra stick of RAM.

The rig in my sig runs off a $50 FSP 450Watt PSU, just FYI I guess...
April 9, 2007 10:31:29 PM

Depending on what my PSU serial # happens to be tonight, I will most likely be purchasing a Sapphire x1950xt 256mb along with a GB of ram. I'm hoping that serial # is extremely high :lol: 
April 9, 2007 10:40:07 PM

Quote:
1.Add another 1GB stick of memory (~$60) + video card (~$200) = ~$260 (I don't know how much of a change will an extra GB of memory do for me)

I recall planning 2gb just for BF2, so if you are considering games like SupCom or anything with Vista the extra gig may be worth it.

Quote:
2.Purchase a new PSU...

Hopefully you're SP450 is ok, good luck!

Quote:
*I was also looking at the Sapphire x1950pro w/Zalman VF900. I know the VF900 is about $20 more than the VF700, but is it worth the extra outlay of cash for a video card?

That is nice, the vf900 is definitely better performing and you get memory and vr heatsinks - it would be worth it if you are considering overclocking or you want a "cooler" card for a few bucks more. The reason I like the VF series over stock coolers, it assists your south bridge heatsink (if fanless) and seems to help with overall ambient temps a bit (well it did for my non-vented side panel case).
April 10, 2007 2:34:48 AM

Quote:
I just checked the serial number on my SP 500 and it is lower than x0607, so I have one of the potential defectives. However, it has been working fine since Nov 2005 and makes no noise, so, so far, so good.

-Bob


I believe the serial number info just applies to the SP 450. The change in the power supply happened around August 2006 so earlier SP 450s will definitely be questionable. The SP 450 was very popular due to its use in the Sonata II, so it's too bad it had a bad run, this one model damaged Antec's reputation for their power supply reliability where all the other models and runs are ok. My two-year old SP 400 has been running flawlessly in an Athlon system.

My Sonata supply was at the x0607 point so it's ok. Earlier SP 450s CAN be retrofitted with three replacement capacitors to alleviate the risk, any competent solder jockey can do it. There was a thead about that somewhere.
April 10, 2007 12:58:26 PM

Quote:
My Sonata supply was at the x0607 point so it's ok. Earlier SP 450s CAN be retrofitted with three replacement capacitors to alleviate the risk, any competent solder jockey can do it. There was a thead about that somewhere.


Could you find that link plz I NEED IT mine is TOTALLY JERK with that buzzling sound it's ANNOYING...

There's quite a lot of discussion on it which you'll find if you put "smartpower capacitors" into Google. Essentially they are large, often yellow, and will show obvious signs of leakage or be bulging. Just change with ones of equal capacity and at least 25 volts. This is the last dregs of that immense problem many suppliers had several years ago with capacitors that used an "illegal" electrolyte that would break down and start conducting, thus shorting the terminals and causing excessive current and overheating.
April 10, 2007 2:14:52 PM

Quote:
Replace the unit. Do not attempt to replacew the CVapasitors in the PSU. Serious harm and even death can occure if you try messing around on the inside of the PSU. Those Caps are capable of holding a very large charge for exstended periods of time.


Oh such Bull! The supply is shut down, disconnected. The voltages at best can be felt but do not hurt. Lethal..?! In a switching supply there are a couple of capacitors that would run at about 50 volts ac, only when connected The other capacitors, holding at most 12 volts, are discharged by shorting them with a screwdriver. They drain in a couple of minutes anyway due to circuit leakage. If they're bad they CAN'T hold a charge. If a person knows how to do the soldering in the first place then he knows the extremely basic precautions needed.

The thread I referred to was by a fellow who actually disassembled his smartpower and changed the caps. He listed the values needed and safety precautions.
April 10, 2007 2:35:32 PM

Quote:
Could you find that link plz I NEED IT mine is TOTALLY JERK with that buzzling sound it's ANNOYING...

I would not use that unit if it is squealing, if it is under warranty contact Antec they should not have an issue with replacing it.

If it is out of warranty, open up the unit and identify all the "Fuhjyyu" brand caps (they will probably look something like these) and head on over to your local electronics shop to replace them or get them directly from badcaps.net.

Recapping PSU's are not as bad as mobo's which have many layers and sensitive to overheat irons, most PSU boards have less layers and more forgiving to sloppy solder jobs. Seriously if you have looked at a typical solder joints on some cheap PSUs one can assume they don't train those damn 5yo factory workers enough :lol: 
April 10, 2007 2:41:20 PM

Quote:
Reguardless of what you do it would be in your best intrest to replace the PSU. Older serial number or not the Smartpower line is a low quality PSU and prone to failing and damaging system components. So a new PSU should be the number one item on your list of upgrades. In general if a PSU is budled with a case it's typicly a low end PSU. There are very few qualtiy PSUs that get bundled with cases. Otherwise you end up spending about $100 more for the case.


:(  Damn, and this is after I discovered that my PSU's serial number was ok. I was really hoping to put a little more money into a video card, but I guess I'll have to start checking out PSU's instead.
April 10, 2007 3:03:28 PM

Quote:
Reguardless of what you do it would be in your best intrest to replace the PSU. Older serial number or not the Smartpower line is a low quality PSU and prone to failing and damaging system components. So a new PSU should be the number one item on your list of upgrades. In general if a PSU is budled with a case it's typicly a low end PSU. There are very few qualtiy PSUs that get bundled with cases. Otherwise you end up spending about $100 more for the case.


:(  Damn, and this is after I discovered that my PSU's serial number was ok. I was really hoping to put a little more money into a video card, but I guess I'll have to start checking out PSU's instead.

I have seen no documentation of post-607 power supplies failing. These are not the best supplies but they simply are not that bad. I have two Smartpower supplies. A 400 has been running an Athlon system for two years, and that 450 has been running a P4 3.6 24 hours a day, running 100% CPU for Folding@Home, since October of last year. And that particular model of power supply is the one that BlackLava has, serial number and all... under maximum stress continously for six months. BlackLava, if you have a SmartPower 450 of 607-series or higher, and it's running fine, don't worry about it! It was built after the debacle. Get the card.

(P.S. My C2D is running on a Silverstone Zeus, and the old P3 editor is on an indestructible Enermax Noisetaker.)
April 10, 2007 5:16:31 PM

Well I just recieved a response from a rep at Antec and he told me this:

"Serial numbers of S0610xx.... or higher are the revised units. These revised units fix the issue that we had with some faulty components from our vendor. I have yet to see any of the new serial numbered units come back with symptoms the same as the non fixed versions."

I wonder if those serial numbers relate to the date. If so I'm in the clear, since I have a D(ecember?)0609xx. I think.
!