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Sonata case with 380w Antec PSU... x1950pro ok?

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September 19, 2007 12:14:34 AM

I am sick of reading arguments on weather or not the Antec 380w PSU will handle an x1950pro or not. Rather than more speculation, is there anyone here with such a setup? I have the following setup...

Original Antec Sonata I case with 380w PSU
(24amps on 12v rail, also have an older 380w with 18amp on the 12v kicking around somewhere)
Pentium 4 3.0Ghz (Northwood)
4 x 512MB DDR400 Ram (2GB total)
2 x Seagate 320GB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drives
ATI Radeon 9800 Pro
Soundblaster X-Fi
3 or 4 USB devices
1 x 120mm fan (the original Sonata exhaust fan)

Everything is working great and I just got a wicked deal on a Visiontek x1950pro 256MB AGP for $125 total on eBay. Right now I am waiting on some Molex -> PCI-E power adapters to arrive before I can try out my new card but I'm a little worried about the power supply not being able to handle it? I have read threads where people have the x1950's running solid off of 250w PSU's and other threads where people say a good 500w is barely enough. Too much speculation!

Does anyone here have the original Sonata with an x1950 in it? And does it work ok? My biggest question is... if the PSU is not up to the task won't I simply get reboot and/or lockup problems? Is it really possible the PSU will "blow up" and toast my system?

I really don't want to throw any more money at this system right now but I also don't want to toast anything either! In all of the PSU calculators I have tried, changing the video card from a 9800pro to x1950pro has not changed the power requirements. So I'm hoping it will be ok but how risky is this really?


September 19, 2007 1:31:16 AM

Very simple answer for you is YES you will be absolutly fine at least in the short term with that psu on that system, read on....

The x1950pro is based on the much lower power RV570 core (than 1950xt) that requires only 66w(ish) compared to 42w(ish) of the 9800pro for example so over your current setup you will only require maybe 2-4 amps more and roughly your psu is at 16-18amps at present for MAXIMUM LOAD.

This will make your psu close to the edge but if its not been hammered for over a year then you should be fine, if however the psu is older than say 18months and has always been with the setup described running high levels of draw most of the time then personally I would look for a GOOD 430w antec or higher psu to provide more like 32amps of solid power or more on the 12v rail.

To give you an idea Im personally running a 3.4 (nw) P4 @ 4.1ghz with 2x ddr and a 1950pro 512mb on a 430w neo he with no issues whatsoever which has 3 12v rails combined max rating of 32amps or 16amps each. Ideally If I were you with 2 hdds and 4 dimms Id go for a 480w or 550w model of the truepower range as they are econoomical and reliable.

So far as blowing up goes - well the psu could literally go pop whereby a capacitor or regulator gives out but it would be extremely unlucky to toast the entire rig in the process. If there are problems with power then you would get random lockups and or drop to windows (ala too far on ocing gfx core etc). To be blunt unless that psu is well old and used then it will most likely be fine - however dont just take my advice for granted and triple check for yourself as obviously I do not know your setup.

ps. split rail psu's are generally worthless as you only need 1 good rail (2 rails are ok but more is a joke really) but equally do not be tempted by cheap ass psu's with a claimed 30amps on 1 rail as they will cost you more in the long run when they fail to meet their ratings - usually 60-70% tops. General rule - spend more than £45 ($70) on a psu to know you have something good. Stick with antec though unless you have more money because antecs clearly publish 50c 24/7 ratings not some peak number that will never be reached, ie they are reliable.

Tagan, Corsair and Ocz (all FSP group made) are other names to look out for but they tend to cost more. Hope all that helps.....
September 19, 2007 2:03:41 AM

Thanks for the reply! The PSU is actually over 2 years old and has been running pretty much 24/7 but under very little load as this has been basically a web and general purpose machine. Very little game playing. Does age degrade a PSU as much as high loads?

Hell, I might just buy a new Sonata III case with the 500w PSU and sell this old case. Decisions! Decisions!!!
September 19, 2007 2:22:07 AM

Hi again, yes age does affect power supplies ability to give their rated power - mainly because the capacitors "fur" up a little (kinda like arteries etc in the body) and cant give the same ammount of power. The general rule is 10% less capacity over 12 months. This is obv an approximation but is usually about right - so a 400w psu after a year might be no better than a new 360w per say.

Dont make this a hard and fast rule however but as with all things in life you have to account for depreciation with age so to be safe I always allow 5% off per year unless the rig is hammered daily as a gaming / folding box etc, then more like 10%.

Id honestly suggest going for a nice new psu as you will be certain that there will be no issues and the old one is either sellable or good to keep as a spare then - but by all means go for a nice new case into the bargain !.

Hope Ive helped and good luck on the upgrading.....
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