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Is there any disadvantage to power supplies with modular cables?

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January 16, 2008 2:29:44 AM

It seems like a new technology and selling point. Will non-modular cable PSUs be extinct soon?

I'm about to buy a replacement PSU for my current 430w one (need 600w+). Would it be dumb to buy a PSU with no modular cables? Higher cost isn't an issue, if in fact PSUs with modular cables are more expensive. I'm not even sure of that.
January 16, 2008 2:48:42 AM

As far as i know, the main reason for buying a modular power supply is so that you can selectively remove cables you don't need and thereby increase airflow in your case. So unless you are concerned about heat/airflow, then don't worry about buying a modular power supply. If the power supply you are considering is modular anyway, then go for it...they're virtually the same.
January 16, 2008 3:03:44 AM

I've not noticed any difference. I used an Antec True Power 500 in my wife's new system, it does not have modular cables. Then, I upgraded my power supply to get ready for the 3850 or 3870 cards with an Antec Neo 550 that is modular.

Whereas I'd heard horror stories years ago about modular power supplies improperly hooked up, I did not encounter any issues. There was no way to do it wrong and everything was clearly labled.

While I did not need the airflow at the time, I probably will in the future and I'm glad I went with the Neo, it's a tier 2 power supply, whereas the True Power was tier 3. The only thing I have to be careful of is to not lose the cables that I don't need right now!

I'd go modular again over just tying the spare cables together and trying to get them out of the way, as I'd done with every PSU prior to the Neo.

Oy, how could I have typed "does not have cables", corrected to "does not have modular cables".

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January 16, 2008 3:14:01 AM

When comparing apples to apples a modular PSU will be slightly less powerful because of the less efficient design. You can check Thermaltake's site for examples I know the 1000W and 1200W come if both flavors and the specs will show the differences. For me it's modular.
a b ) Power supply
January 16, 2008 4:18:07 AM


If you are talking about low quality PSUs such as Ultra, who use the cheapest quality connectors, then PP&C would be correct. However, on the higher end with Antec, Corsair, etc., this is not the case. My SmartPower 2.0 voltages are at 3% or better which is well within the 5% ATX 2.0 spec.
January 16, 2008 4:57:16 AM

Connectors are a primary failure point in electronic systems. Properly specified connectors in a quality PSU should be OK, but don't connect and disconnect them many times; cycling the connector wears out the contacts and increases the electrical resistance. Increased resistance means heat, and heat can destroy the connector - literally blackened circuit board kind of destruction. Hook it up once and leave it hooked up.
January 17, 2008 12:07:57 AM

I was having a similar discussion in a different thread, and this article was pointed out to me:

http://www.motherboards.org/articles/guides/1488_1.html

Well written with lots of hard data and little opinion.

Soooo.... short answer yes with an if, long answer no with a but.
January 17, 2008 12:37:44 AM

I have an Ultra 500W X-Connect with modular cables and it has worked perfectly for the last 2+ years. I'm not sure why so many peoploe seem to knock them. Part of secret as with any piece of equipment is to make sure it is more than adequately sized for what you need rather than running on the ragged edge so if calculate you need 475W don't buy 500W - buy 600W or 700W.
January 17, 2008 2:13:45 AM

Stevemeister said:
I have an Ultra 500W X-Connect with modular cables and it has worked perfectly for the last 2+ years. I'm not sure why so many peoploe seem to knock them. Part of secret as with any piece of equipment is to make sure it is more than adequately sized for what you need rather than running on the ragged edge so if calculate you need 475W don't buy 500W - buy 600W or 700W.


I don't know why so many people knock them either!! I mean really, they're virtually identical to normal power supplies, just more (yet very limited) potential for user error.
January 17, 2008 3:34:52 AM

I don't know...maybe it's because some people see Ultra as the "no name" brand of computer technology, as they seem to have products in every category of computer stuff :p 
January 17, 2008 3:54:34 AM

altazi said:
Connectors are a primary failure point in electronic systems. Properly specified connectors in a quality PSU should be OK, but don't connect and disconnect them many times; cycling the connector wears out the contacts and increases the electrical resistance. Increased resistance means heat, and heat can destroy the connector - literally blackened circuit board kind of destruction. Hook it up once and leave it hooked up.




:bounce:  Well Said. :bounce: 

And absolutely correct.
January 17, 2008 4:24:56 AM

Stevemeister said:
I have an Ultra 500W X-Connect with modular cables and it has worked perfectly for the last 2+ years. I'm not sure why so many peoploe seem to knock them. Part of secret as with any piece of equipment is to make sure it is more than adequately sized for what you need rather than running on the ragged edge so if calculate you need 475W don't buy 500W - buy 600W or 700W.

I've had the same PSU for about the same amount of time and it works great. I actually bought it to replace another Ultra which also worked great but had so many cables that it seriously was impacting air flow. Any ways the argument that the connecters on these modular PSUs cause such huge resistance seems non-sensical to me seeing as EVERY PSUs cables have to have at least 1 connector (the one that goes to the device). Nevermind the pass-through connectors seen commonly on fans which must cause much greater resistance when connecting another device through it. Once again I think this is just a lot of PSU over analyzing. Compaired to everything else in a computer the PSU is about as simple as it gets; Does it have enough watts? Amps? decent airflow? right connectors? then just make sure it's a good sturdy design and that's about all you have to care about.
January 17, 2008 5:10:56 AM

As far as I'm concerned, the cons of modular are pretty much what people already mentioned: slightly inferior in power due eletrical resistance (but usually nothing to keep you from buying one), potential problems with the cables (if the user keeps connecting and disconnecting them too much or connect them wrong), and also being a bit pricier.
If money is no concern, the power won't be either since you just need to buy one powerful enough for your system. As for the cables, just be sure you connected everything correctly and avoid disconnecting the psu end.

The rest is mostly pure joy. Potentially better airflow, no unnecessary cables hanging in the case, ability of getting extra cables of a certain type (as long you have free slots on your PSU), and so on. But just like the cons, the advantages are not exactly earthshaking either, but handy to have.
January 17, 2008 6:05:00 AM

What about EMI and RFI ? Is that better or worse for a modular?
January 17, 2008 6:23:29 AM

perzy said:
What about EMI and RFI ? Is that better or worse for a modular?


Your PSU is in a Farraday cage, inside of another Farraday cage... Assuming your building ground is good, I'd think that there would be many other things to worry over.
January 17, 2008 8:20:41 AM

Well AFAIK if the modular design is solid and not cheap so it will accedently disconnected when moving the cables while the system is running then the only disadvantage I see is to have a space and place for your unwanted cables incase you needed them later !!

I have a modular PSU and it's very good, my brother was shocked as it's the first time for him to see such an idea...

even that this PSU is very close to a no-name PSU ( named S-TEK ) but it's solid and very good for my current need's its 500Watt and is able to run my system very nice, but I don't know if it will be able to handle a CPU upgrade to Phenom or a GPU upgrade to 9800GT ( or something similar )
!