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is my 380W psu powerful enough?

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December 22, 2007 7:06:20 PM

Hi folks,

I'm new here. Can anyone tell me if the 380W PSU I have used to build my new computer is powerful enough? Here are my systems specs:

Foxconn 8600 GTS 700/1100 OC
Intel Pentium e2160
GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L (rev 2.0) mobo
2Gb Corsair TWIN2X2048-6400C4
320 GB Hitachi Deskstar T7K500 SATA-II HD
LITE-ON 20x DVD-burner
ANTEC EA380 380W Earthwatts PSU
FireWire 1394 card
CoolerMaster Centurion 5 CAC-T05-UW case
Internal flash card reader
LEADTEK TV2000XP TV/FM tuner card
D-link WDA-1320 54M 11B/G wireless network card

I really appreciate any answers!

I ask because I'm having problems with my graphics cards. Here's a description of the problem:
- Computer works normally when I'm not playing 3D video games.
- CPU, memory and other components passed stress tests such as BurnInTest and memtest.
- Graphics card passed 3dMark06 twice.
However, when I play 3D video games such as Need for Speed Hot Pursuit 2, PES6 or FIFA World Cup 06, after 1 - 2 minutes of playing, the game freezes, sound loops and I have to reboot the PC (can't Alt-TAB to windows or with Windows key).
I've been able to eliminate the problem by underclocking the graphics card to 675/1015 and setting the fan at 100% using nTune (it came OC'd out of the box).

Memory and CPU are not OC'd, and temps never pass 38 C for the CPU. Temp for the graphics card never passed 41 C. I've installed the latest nvidia drivers.

Thanks everybody,
'Alim

More about : 380w psu powerful

December 22, 2007 8:29:01 PM

Since the computer freezes within minutes of you starting a game, I'd guess that the psu doesn't have enough power. The Earthwatts 380 is a good psu, but just might not be enough in this case. Perhaps you should look for something closer to 500wts.

Alternatively, it could be the graphics card that is causing the problem. If possible, you could try your graphics card in different computer and see if the problem follows it. I say this because you write that the problem goes away when you underclock the 8600, thereby dropping the power load and heat. I one time had a 1900 XTX that had a memory failure. The computer would start and run normally until I started a game. Then the memory would overheat and the computer would freeze up. If your card works well in a different computer, then it probably isn't the fault of the card, and that leaves the psu as being the problem.
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December 23, 2007 11:26:16 PM

Sometimes I can still alt-tab out of a game or switch back to windows xp with the windows key. If the power draw is too high for the PSU, shouldn't it cut off the power completely?
Would you recommend getting a power consumption device like Kill-a-watt to measure how much power the computer is using?
December 23, 2007 11:28:46 PM

Also, what I don't get is why 3dMark06 and the nTune stability test both pass while games, even old ones like Need for Speed, freeze.
Last night I tried Battle Front II. That worked for about 20 minutes and then froze.
December 23, 2007 11:47:55 PM

If it was the PSU that the system would most likely BSOD or reboot, and certainly not allow you to alt-tab. It appears as though the problem may be the card more than the PSU, but don't count it totally out yet.
December 23, 2007 11:54:11 PM

The game would stutter then crash when my PSU wasn't strong enough. I never had a BSOD...Well anyways get a better PSU, I bet it'll fix things.
December 23, 2007 11:56:44 PM

I never had a BSOD either, but if the hard drive temporarily lost power during a page file read/write that might happen. Chances are that 99% of the time it will just reboot though. That or fry altogether.
December 28, 2007 7:17:38 AM

Thanks for the responses. I bought a 430W Thermaltake PSU and connected to the system: still have the same problem.
I did a fresh install of Windows XP Pro, installed only the mobo drivers and the nvidia drivers that came with the card: still have the same problem.
I updated the nvidia drivers to the latest version: same problem.
With the newest drivers one thing is different: I get a warning window saying that nvd4.dll had to be shutdown, and the resolultion and color drop down to 640x480 and 8-bit and I have to restart the computer to get normal resolution and color again. Sometime I get the BSOD. (This did not happen with drivers prior to v169).
Can I conclude that the video card is the problem?
December 28, 2007 8:41:28 AM

I would say it's the graphics for sure, try and get a replacement. All factory overclocks are also guarenteed, so you shouldn't have to underclock it.
December 28, 2007 11:12:44 AM

How old is your monitor?
Try a newer moniotor if you can.
December 28, 2007 12:09:23 PM

Get a better PSU. I recommend you get any of the Corsair PSUs, esp. the 520HX or 550VX. Even the 450W will work fine on your system.
December 28, 2007 12:52:54 PM

alim said:
I bought a 430W Thermaltake PSU and connected to the system: still have the same problem.


You downgraded, the Antec 380 provides 27 amps to the +12v rails and has an 80% efficiency rating, the Tt430 only provides 18 amps to the +12v and has a much lower 65%+ efficiency rating.
December 28, 2007 1:16:58 PM

Yep, the other psu was better. Why? All the hype of "more watts is better" is just incorrect. You need a lot of amps on the 12 volt rail to properly run modern video cards, not watts. Check the manufactureres specs for what they require for amps to run the video card.


So, it's better to have slightly lower watts, but higher amps rather than having higher watts and lower amps.
December 28, 2007 1:40:26 PM

With todays graphics cards, if you play good 3d games I wouldn't even consider a ps less than 500w. Especially since you aren't doing bare bones (hard drive, video card, onboard sound, end of story) computer. You paid for the parts run them at full speed, don't downgrade them just cause the PS can't handle it.

A good 500w power supply isn't that expensive so there is no point in trying to be too cheap and getting the absolute min you need. Give yourself some breathing room and not all power supplies are created equal, so you gotta check the specs to make sure they are giving you the power on all the rails.

If yer trying to do the min watts possible its a bit harder to sort through all the power supplies to find one that is efficient enough to give you what you need. Once you jump up a level or two you realize there are plenty of power supplies that will give you what you need and give you room to expand in the future.
December 28, 2007 2:05:58 PM

I have extreme doubts its the PSU....since i can run a E6600 + X1900XT(same power as a 8800 GTX 640) on a Antec TP 380(18 amps 65% at half load PSU).

My current system, see more into - user config(hint Q6600 @ 3 + 8800GTX + 6 HDD's + TV card and SB Audigy 2zs) @ full load(F@H + Games) about 330(on rare occasion 345 or so...) watts from the wall.....so under 300(DC) for the full system.....
December 28, 2007 3:48:45 PM

I guess I should try a better PSU just to be sure. Since this is my first time building a computer with ATX12V I want to make sure I am getting the connections right: I have connected the 20+4 pin main connector and the 12V 4 pin CPU connector to the mobo and the 12V 6 pin PCI-E connector to the 8600GTS. Or should I only connect the 20 pin main connector since I'm using the PCI-E connector on the graphics cards? (If I understand correctly, both the 4 extra pins on the main connector and the 6 pin PCI-E connectors connect to the 12V1 rail.)
How important is it that the two rails be independent?
December 28, 2007 4:07:11 PM

Independent rails are not needed....but its a part of the standard.

Yes you need the 24 pin main cable(20+4, most boards will run with 20 anyway, but you have 24 so good) and the 4 pin 12 volt for the cpu. The 6 pin connector is for the video card.

So it looks like your in order....

How loud does your psu get. since if its not loud(psu it self...not the system) its not heavily loaded since after about 60-70% or so the fan starts to get loud(er)....

It would also be good if you could try to check your voltages, maybe the psu is defective....but a 380(hell even one with only 18 amps should do for that system since 8600's are not that power hungry) should run your system....
December 28, 2007 4:28:11 PM

Hmm... Now Im seriously thinking that your PC is over heating. Double check the CPU heatsink install.
Also download UBCD and run one of the CPU and RAM stress utilities. This way if they don't show problems we can eliminate the CPU/RAM as a possible cause.

UBCD:
http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/index.html
December 28, 2007 5:07:11 PM

Actually multiple 12v rails for the psu is more inefficient vs having one good 12v rail. It's better to have one really good 21v rail with high amps then multiple 12v rails with each having low amps.
December 28, 2007 5:13:10 PM

I have run stress tests like memtest and BurninTest for 6+ hours and never had a problem. 3dMark2006 passed fine too. And I have never seen temperatures above 40c for CPU and case or above 41c for the graphics card. I will however run more tests just to be sure.
What's a good utility to monitor temp? MBM 5 doesn't have a config for my mobo. And the utility i have been using, Easy Tune 5, provided with my gigabyte mobo doesn't show temps from the tray or from a small window - it has to be maximized to show temps. I'd rather switch to something else. Any recommendations?
December 28, 2007 5:23:57 PM

bjmarler said:
Actually multiple 12v rails for the psu is more inefficient vs having one good 12v rail. It's better to have one really good 21v rail with high amps then multiple 12v rails with each having low amps.


What's high amps? The Antec EA380 has 27 A for both 12V rails together. Is that high enough?

As for wattage, the eXtreme Power Supply Calculator Lite v2.5 (http://www.extreme.outervision.com/PSUEngine) calculates that at peak load my system should draw 273W. Should I get a Kill-a-Watt device to measure the wattage?
December 28, 2007 5:46:02 PM

well with 273 watts, even if it was all on the 12 volt rail(s) and it not, would be 23(22.75)Amps. An the PSU calc assume everything is at FULL load and hard drive working DVD drive burning and it over estimates a bit too....

Do you have access to a multimeter? you can then monitor voltages more accurately. in a molex(ODD/HDD connector) connector Black to Red is the 5 volt line and black to yellow is 12...The specs give the amount of variance one can have. You want to try to keep it within 5% but as long as it does not move too much under load its not a problem....
December 28, 2007 6:15:16 PM

a quick heads up on power...



System 1 - Bioshock + Fah SMP
Case: Antec 900(4 120mm fans + 200mm fan) - Like it matters
PSU: OCZ 700watt - near 80 percent efficient at common loads on 120 volts
Board: P35 DS3R
CPU: Q6600 @ 3.00
CPU cooling : Zalman 9500 @ 500-2200 rpms(PWM)
Memory: 2x 1024MB ,2X 512MB @ 4,4,4,10 - 2 volts
Video: 8800GTX 600(core) 1400(shader) 900 x2(memory) - Factory OC
Storage:
2x WDC 250gig (Raid0)
2x Seagate 320gig(Storage)
2x Seagate 500gig(Storage)
1x 500gig Seagate (Backup-external) not on for power test
Optical drive: Pioneer DVR-115DBK
KB/Mouse: Logitech Access 600, G9 Mouse
TV card: PVR 250
Sound: Creative SB Audigy 2zs

System 2 - F@H
Case: Antec Sonata(with 2 Yate Loon 120mmfans) - Like it matters
PSU: Antec Earthwatts 430 - 80+ (Up to 85% according to SPCR @ my load about 80%)
Board: Asus K8V SE Deluxe
CPU: Athlon 64 3200+(under volted to 1.4 volts)
CPU cooling : Zalman 7000 @ 1600-2200 rpms(Speedfan Keeps it at 52c)
Memory: 2x 512MB Value Select.
Video: Asus Geforce 4 ti4200
Storage:
1 x WDC 120gig
Optical drive: External DVD - Off
KB/Mouse: Logitech Access 600, Logitech LX3
Sound: Creative SB Live! Value

Other Stuff thats on

1 Motorola Cable Modem
1 SMC 4 port Router
1 Linsys 5 port Swtich
1 Samsung 950b (LCD)
1 Altec Lansing Select 641

Once I take off the extras(210 watts) My system just 343 MAX. it still averages around 320 on games and 260 just folding....and thats just AC load....so the DC load is at least 20% lower...
December 28, 2007 8:32:05 PM

Someone had a very similar problem they were trouble shooting here so I figured I'd post a breif discription since after lots of trial and error it ended up being so darn simple it wasnt even funny.

They were having problems with what sounded like lack of power to the GPU with a dual rail PSU. All that needed to be done was some power plugs swapped around because too many things were plugged into the rail that also powered the GPU. Once the load was better balanced between the two rails the issue was gone completly.

This may or may not be the case with your issue but its worth a try since its easy, quick, and free to just try it out.
December 28, 2007 9:27:36 PM

Shadow703793 said:
Hmm... Now Im seriously thinking that your PC is over heating. Double check the CPU heatsink install.
Also download UBCD and run one of the CPU and RAM stress utilities. This way if they don't show problems we can eliminate the CPU/RAM as a possible cause.

UBCD:
http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/index.html


OK, I've run Orthos and to stress test RAM and CPU and the CPU temp never pass 42 C; the case temp is stable at 32 C. No errors; just as with memtest86+ and BurnInTest. However, when I ran Aquamark3 in addition to Orthos to stress test graphics, Aquamark froze after about 2 minutes and I had to reboot. Previously Aquamark3 (when run by itself) completed without errors. 3DMark2006 also completes without errors (when run by itself. I haven't tried running it with another app).
I used Easy Tuner 5 to monitor temps.
December 28, 2007 9:31:49 PM

nukemaster said:
well with 273 watts, even if it was all on the 12 volt rail(s) and it not, would be 23(22.75)Amps. An the PSU calc assume everything is at FULL load and hard drive working DVD drive burning and it over estimates a bit too....

Do you have access to a multimeter? you can then monitor voltages more accurately. in a molex(ODD/HDD connector) connector Black to Red is the 5 volt line and black to yellow is 12...The specs give the amount of variance one can have. You want to try to keep it within 5% but as long as it does not move too much under load its not a problem....


I have a basic multimeter. What should i measure? the DC voltage?
December 28, 2007 10:25:16 PM

DC volts....and make sure you do not set it too low...So set it to DCV 24(or as close to 12 as you can get without going under....if you have a meter that auto adjusts...even better).....so it will read 5 and 12 without issues...

This is just to make sure the psu is giving the power needed.....as i have said....within 5% under load then its good....Since seasonic makes the earthwatts units i am willing to bet its just one rail with 2 virtual rails....so just meter from a spare molex
December 29, 2007 6:10:24 PM

nukemaster said:
DC volts....and make sure you do not set it too low...So set it to DCV 24(or as close to 12 as you can get without going under....if you have a meter that auto adjusts...even better).....so it will read 5 and 12 without issues...

This is just to make sure the psu is giving the power needed.....as i have said....within 5% under load then its good....Since seasonic makes the earthwatts units i am willing to bet its just one rail with 2 virtual rails....so just meter from a spare molex


Thanks for all your help! While running Orthos the 12V line fluctuates between 12.26-12.30, the 5V stays steady at 5.02. That seems good wouldn't you say?

After reading http://www.playtool.com/pages/psumultirail/multirails.html my best guess is also that the Antec PSU has two current limited (virtual) 12V rails that derive from a single 27A rail.

December 29, 2007 6:15:53 PM

godsizesnakeyes said:
Someone had a very similar problem they were trouble shooting here so I figured I'd post a breif discription since after lots of trial and error it ended up being so darn simple it wasnt even funny.

They were having problems with what sounded like lack of power to the GPU with a dual rail PSU. All that needed to be done was some power plugs swapped around because too many things were plugged into the rail that also powered the GPU. Once the load was better balanced between the two rails the issue was gone completly.

This may or may not be the case with your issue but its worth a try since its easy, quick, and free to just try it out.


Thanks for the advice. According to Antec's website, http://www.antec.com/us/productDetails.php?ProdID=27380, one rail 12V1 power the CPU only, while the other one, 12V2, powers the mobo and all components, so there is no way to move the components from rail to another. Just in case, I switched the HDD from a molex on one cable to a SATA connector on another, but no change. Does SATA connector vs molex make any difference?
December 29, 2007 6:18:15 PM

Yet another strange thing: I can run Dungeon Siege 2 for hours without problem but Need For Speed Hot Pursuit 2 which is older always freezes after 2-3 minutes. It even froze once when I was just in the car choice menu as it was rotating the selected car model. Other games like Battlefront 2, PES 6 and FIFA world cup 2006 also freeze up.
December 29, 2007 7:05:46 PM

A simple dumb question: Did you properly plug in the 6 pin pcie psu power connector into the vga card? The card can work from the pcie slot power only without it on low stress vga tasks giving you the symptoms you described.
December 29, 2007 7:16:51 PM

alim said:
I have run stress tests like memtest and BurninTest for 6+ hours and never had a problem. 3dMark2006 passed fine too. And I have never seen temperatures above 40c for CPU and case or above 41c for the graphics card. I will however run more tests just to be sure.
What's a good utility to monitor temp? MBM 5 doesn't have a config for my mobo. And the utility i have been using, Easy Tune 5, provided with my gigabyte mobo doesn't show temps from the tray or from a small window - it has to be maximized to show temps. I'd rather switch to something else. Any recommendations?



  • If EasyTune is the only one that works run the mother board do this:
    Download Virtual Desktop Manager for Windows
    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/powertoys/...
    Unselect the option called "Share Desktops"
    Then Run easyTune on one of the Virtual Windows

    Linux had these options 5-7years before Microsoft :lol: 
    December 29, 2007 7:36:27 PM

    Get a PCPower&Cooling PSU one rated at 610 watts or more.
    December 29, 2007 8:41:42 PM

    alim said:
    Hi folks,

    I'm new here. Can anyone tell me if the 380W PSU I have used to build my new computer is powerful enough? Here are my systems specs:

    Foxconn 8600 GTS 700/1100 OC
    Intel Pentium e2160
    GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L (rev 2.0) mobo
    2Gb Corsair TWIN2X2048-6400C4
    320 GB Hitachi Deskstar T7K500 SATA-II HD
    LITE-ON 20x DVD-burner
    ANTEC EA380 380W Earthwatts PSU
    FireWire 1394 card
    CoolerMaster Centurion 5 CAC-T05-UW case
    Internal flash card reader
    LEADTEK TV2000XP TV/FM tuner card
    D-link WDA-1320 54M 11B/G wireless network card

    I really appreciate any answers!

    I ask because I'm having problems with my graphics cards. Here's a description of the problem:
    - Computer works normally when I'm not playing 3D video games.
    - CPU, memory and other components passed stress tests such as BurnInTest and memtest.
    - Graphics card passed 3dMark06 twice.
    However, when I play 3D video games such as Need for Speed Hot Pursuit 2, PES6 or FIFA World Cup 06, after 1 - 2 minutes of playing, the game freezes, sound loops and I have to reboot the PC (can't Alt-TAB to windows or with Windows key).
    I've been able to eliminate the problem by underclocking the graphics card to 675/1015 and setting the fan at 100% using nTune (it came OC'd out of the box).

    Memory and CPU are not OC'd, and temps never pass 38 C for the CPU. Temp for the graphics card never passed 41 C. I've installed the latest nvidia drivers.

    Thanks everybody,
    'Alim


    Theres the issue then - video card clock speeds - use nvidia stock speeds and download and run ATi Tool and scan for any issues.

    BTW an AcBell 300w will power that card easily, and an AcBell 400w is capable of powering the 8800's easily - power requirements are over rated, seen this many times.
    December 29, 2007 9:42:23 PM

    geofelt said:
    A simple dumb question: Did you properly plug in the 6 pin pcie psu power connector into the vga card? The card can work from the pcie slot power only without it on low stress vga tasks giving you the symptoms you described.


    Thanks for the suggestion. I actually unplugged the 6-pin PCI-E power connector from the graphics card to see what it would do. At the windows login screen I got a message from the Nvidia driver telling me that the card wasn't getting enough power and was going to run at reduced speed. So the driver warns me when the 12V PCI-E power cable is not connected or improperly connected.
    December 29, 2007 10:02:18 PM

    sailer said:
    Since the computer freezes within minutes of you starting a game, I'd guess that the psu doesn't have enough power. The Earthwatts 380 is a good psu, but just might not be enough in this case. Perhaps you should look for something closer to 500wts.

    Alternatively, it could be the graphics card that is causing the problem. If possible, you could try your graphics card in different computer and see if the problem follows it. I say this because you write that the problem goes away when you underclock the 8600, thereby dropping the power load and heat. I one time had a 1900 XTX that had a memory failure. The computer would start and run normally until I started a game. Then the memory would overheat and the computer would freeze up. If your card works well in a different computer, then it probably isn't the fault of the card, and that leaves the psu as being the problem.


    I have the EarthWatts 380W and most of my components rape his, power consumption-wise (X2 5200+ and HD 3850)
    December 29, 2007 11:50:05 PM

    well if the rails are sitting @ 12.3 you have no problems....its regulated a little high, but thats normal with many new psu's,

    It would be much higher and or much lower....

    maybe the video card is defective?(it does not hold its clock speeds well....if i go too far on my 8800 it does not artifact, just freeze...)

    I find it hard to blame the psu with the low power system in question....
    January 5, 2008 5:58:53 PM

    OK, I tried an Antec EA 430 (EarthWatts) and a Corsair VX450W and the problem persists. These PSU provide 30A and 33A on the 12V line respectively. Furthermore, the Corsair PSU has all 33A on one single rail, so no problem of reaching the max of 17A per rail as on the Antec. Can I rule out the PSU or should I try a Corsair 550W? According to specs, the Foxconn 8600GTS draws 71W, overclocked maybe it draws 75W. That's less than 7A on the 12V line, right? Can the mobo, CPU, RAM, SATA HD and SATA DVD-RW and a wifi card together draw 24A or more on the 12V line causing an overload?

    January 5, 2008 6:30:20 PM

    alim said:
    Can I rule out the PSU


    You've now tried 3 different power supplies, all capable of powering your machine, so yes it's time to rule out the psu as the culprit .
    January 24, 2008 1:41:49 AM

    Thank you everyone who helped with suggestions and advice!!
    I bought an eVGA 8600GTS and replaced the Foxconn card with it - my system runs without any problems! Even with the 380W Antec PSU and the card OC'd to 700/2200. Obviously the Foxconn card was the problem and I'm RMA'ing.
    !