Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Looking for a new PSU for rather hot operation

Last response: in Components
Share
January 13, 2008 6:32:42 PM

I'm currently looking for a new PSU as a foundation for my future upgrades.
So far, I only had those cheap sub$20 units and altough I've read a lot on the topic in the later months, I have no first-hand experience with good quality PSUs, so I'm trying to go the safe route and asking here, since there are a lot of good knowledgeable people.

My current rig is pretty unimpressive (Athlon XP + MX4400), but I plan to upgrade sometime (probably something along the lines of a Q6600 and 8800 GT), so I'm thinking about one between 500w-600w with good 12v capacity.
Other than that, my main concerns are:

  • 24/7 operation: I usually keep my computer on all the time (but most of that time, it's only light load, such as torrent and im, since I'm at work half of the day).
  • Heat friendly: Here in Recife we have an average temperature of about 28ºC during the year, raising to around a 31ºC average during the summer. Since I don't have ac and usually the ceiling fan is off, my pc usually operates at a rather hot enviroment and my case is kept open all the time (or my pc overheats, since my case isn't any good either, altough that's the next planned upgrade after the PSU).
  • Not good power line: Specially during summer, here is prone to brownouts and blackouts. I probably will replace my UPS's long dead battery (an old 1kVA unit), thus diminishing the problems with it.


    I had my quota of replacing PSUs (had one particular month with 3 replacements), also had some components capacitor problems (my now defunct FX5200 is with a fried cap and my old GA-7N400 Pro is back to the box with some stuffed caps, tough still works, I decided to not risk anything and bought a new mobo), so I'm in need of a PSU that's able to cope with all the above conditions and lasts long.


    Right now I have a golden chance of getting a good PSU. A friend is in Portugal and I managed to send him around €120 (I would probably spend 50% more if I tried to buy an equivalent PSU here in Brazil and I don't have anything spare).
    I was set for a Zalman ZM600-HP, but the deadline for the shopping is tomorrow morning and it still hasn't arrived at MPInfor, where he's going to make the purchase.
    So I'm trying to make a list of alternatives (and fast, since I need to send it to him within some hours). The salesman suggested him a LC Power 850W Arkangel V2.2 instead, but I'm more inclined to a Corsair HX-520W or
    Gigabyte Odin GT 550W.

    Up to €120 at that store, what do you people suggest?

    Right now I only managed to make a list like this:
    1) Zalman ZM600-HP
    2) Corsair HX-520W
    3) Gigabyte Odin GT 550W
    4) Seasonic 550W S12-550 Energy+"80 Plus"
    5) Seasonic 500W M12-500 Super Silent Modular
    6) Antec NeoHE 550
    7) Antec TruePower III 650W
    8) Seasonic 500W S12II-500 Super Silent
    9) Antec TruePower III 550W
    10) Antec Earthwatts EA-500 EC

    Additions, changes, comments anyone?

    Edit: Updated the PSU priority list
  • More about : psu hot operation

    a b ) Power supply
    January 13, 2008 7:59:20 PM

    I would look into improving your case airflow. There are some outstanding cases with multiple large fans that might extend the life of your next ps. I even saw one with a small built in refrigeration unit for around $240, but I don't recall the brand name.
    a b ) Power supply
    January 13, 2008 8:18:58 PM

    ^Agreed on the cooling improvement. Just add a couple of 120mm fans or get a liquid cooling (?)
    Related resources
    a c 145 ) Power supply
    January 13, 2008 8:46:58 PM

    For whatever reason, your link to mpinfor did not work. I would pick a tier 1 or 2 psu from this list if it is available:
    http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=10... I would look for PC P&C, corsair, or seasonic first. For a quad and 8800, look for a 500w or better unit. All the tier 1 or 2 units should handle heat because they are rated properly and conservatively.
    January 13, 2008 9:47:30 PM


    I have the Zalman 600. It's a great PSU, but it's designed to be a quiet PSU and thus tries to run lower fan speeds, etc. Might not be the best for a high-heat application.

    January 13, 2008 10:02:32 PM

    You MUST close the case panel and add a few fans...THIS IS A MUST!!! Heat is dissipated from Heatsincs in POSITIVE AIR PRESSURE. By opening the door and not having enough fans you create neutral or negative air pressure and heat cannot dissipate properly!
    THIS IS A MUST!

    Next grab a PSU by PCP&C or Seasonic.

    And for god's sake add some INTAKE fans, and MAKE SURE they outnumber the EXHAUST FANS!
    January 13, 2008 10:07:59 PM

    Hmm, here's the url for the mpinfor:
    http://www.mpinfor.com/index.php?cPath=25

    Thanks for the link, geofelt (tough I had a look on it before posting ;) ). Unfortunatelly, no PCP&C there, and choice on Corsair is rather limited (that's why I only put the HX-520 on my list). Seasonic, tough, is rather varied there. So far I've picked the S12II-500 for my list (as now, it's #4 on priority) but I'm looking if there are more candidates for my list (I want to get a good range of choices, since this friend of mine will go there tomorrow morning by Pt time and MPInfor was already lacking the Zalman, so I don't know how bad is their stock right now).

    o1die, Shadow and bornking have a good point about cooling, but right now I cannot do that (my friend won't be able to fit a good case in his luggage, and to import one paying regular S&H and taxes will easily throw your typical Antec 900 above $300, and I don't have that cash right now).
    After the PSU, the case will probably be the next thing I'll work on (luckly there are a lot of new cases to hit the markets, like the 1200, Xaser VI, Armor+, Cosmos...), but that'll need to wait and I'll have to rely on my open "e-STAR" for some time (if I close it, even with the 2 extra fans I've added to the case, things get hotter inside and with heavy load my Athlon ends up shutting down, since its cooler isn't exactly top notch).

    And thanks for the info on the Zalman, carver_g. It's not exactly easy to find someone who actually owns one to comment. :) 

    Beyond those PSUs already listed, I'm thinking of adding the following to the list:

    Seasonic 500W S12II-500 Super Silent
    Antec NeoHE 550
    Antec TruePower III 650W
    Antec TruePower III 550W
    Antec Earthwatts EA-500 EC

    (at that particular order... I'm a bit uneasy with those Antec units tough... the EA seems to have a good price/performance ratio, but I'd rather get an unit with overall better quality)

    Edit: for adding commentaries to bornking and carver_g
    a b ) Power supply
    January 13, 2008 10:40:45 PM

    From your original post - you listed 3 problems.

    1) Need for a quality PSU.
    2) Hot environment for the system in general
    3) Generally poor quality of power in the area

    For the first question - you listed a few good choices, there are the tier 1 and 2 options listed in the PSU 101 sticky, and then there is what I chose - the Fortron unit (just a plug since mine runs 24/7 and does so quite nicely).

    For the hot environment - you should consider a good case. The Antec P180 (P182) is good, with two distinct heat zones. The Antec 900 is also a good choice. What you want is a good amount of air flow so you can cool off what you got as well as you can.

    As for the quality of power, I would suggest you get a Uninterupted Power Supply - which will condition your power as well as keep things running should a blackout or brownout occur. I have not had a need for one myself, but there are models out there that can provide an automated graceful shutdown of your system - to help protect your data and equipment.

    I hope this helps.

    Kindest Regards,

    January 14, 2008 12:11:16 AM

    Thanks for the comments, avarice.
    I've added a few more (tried to make some cross-reference between the ones in XS and in JG), so to avoid my friend coming empty handed.

    For the hot enviroment, altough I know I need to get a better case/air flow, I still cited it because even if I use every fan hole in a good case and create a nice airflow, the air sucked in will be hotter than some people expect (the so called ambient temperature of 25ºC is considered somewhat chilly here XD).
    a c 144 ) Power supply
    January 14, 2008 12:34:00 AM

    Look for a PSU that specifies full rated output at 50 deg. C. The inexpensive ones rate their outputs at 25 deg. C. or they don't specify.

    With such a high ambient temperature, your internat PSU operating temperature may go to 40 or 50 deg. C. Based on what little published data that I have seen, you need to derate the PSU output 1 to 2% per degree over rated operating temperature. That means your inexpensive 500 watt PSU - output rated at 25 degrees - may turn into as little as a 350 -400 watt PSU at operating temperature.
    January 14, 2008 12:47:42 AM

    That's the Antecs then. All of those listed are rated at 50ºC.
    But I've also looked for solid reviews (done with specific equipament instead of software, such as the ones available at THG or JG) and seems that any of my list so far won't be hit hard by the derate curve.
    January 14, 2008 1:16:58 AM

    The PC Power & Cooling Turbo classs are all AMP rated @ 50C air going into them...the quieter model is rated @ 40C intake air temps (610 Watt 48 amp sngl rail 12 volt...$100-119 USD. That model would be 40-50 euro under your spending limit.
    January 14, 2008 1:19:59 AM

    I've heard a lot of good thing about PC P&C, but unfortunatelly MPInfor don't carry them in their list, so it won't be available for me.
    January 14, 2008 1:40:04 AM

    Nice one, but too expensive and unavailable where I'm planning to shop. Also, 1000W is far more than I'll need, even after my upgrade.
    January 14, 2008 1:58:07 AM

    The Corsair 520/620 are also rated for operation at 50c.
    (Note: Those are part of the HX Series - Some of the Other Wattages may be part of a slightly lower grade models.)
    January 14, 2008 2:18:12 AM

    Ok, thanks for letting me know, zenmaster!
    a c 144 ) Power supply
    January 14, 2008 2:19:14 PM

    The "full rated power at 50 deg. C." is a difficult standard to meet. The PSU manufacturers who can meet it will tell you. If no temperature specs are mentioned, I think that you can pretty much assume "full rated power at 25c.
    !