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New Quad core build power supply question

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April 12, 2008 8:28:19 PM


I'm currently running this. It’s my first build. Did it myself.
Worked right at turn on.


Asus A8N 5X
AMD X2 3800
2 gig Corsair XMS2048 3200
PNY Quadro NVS 440 PCIEX 16 (Can run 4 monitors from 1 slot)
WD Caviar SE16 2500KS
Samsung 16X DVD+R DVD
Sony IDE DVD-ROM
Samsung 1.44 3.5 floppy
Cooler Master RS 450 in a Cooler Master Centurion 5CAC-T05
Logitech X-230 32 Watts RMS 2.1 Speakers-OEM
2 AGM CW 19" wide screen monitors
MS XP Pro - ESET NOD 32 Anti virus

And I’m thinking of a new build with this:

Intel Q6600 quad core CPU
Abit IP35 Pro mobo
4 gigs of G. Skill DDR2 SDRAM 800 (PC2 6400) F2 6400CL5D Ram

And one of these Power supplies:

Thermaltake W0093RU ATX 500 Watt w/2 12 V rails
Or
Rosewill RP550-2 ATX12V v2.01 550W Power Supply W/ 2 12V rails
Or
Rosewill RP600V2-S-SL 600W SLI Ready-ATX12V V2.01 w/ 2 12V rails

And keeping my current case and other components.

My question is could I use my old power supply or should I get a newer more powerful one. How much power do I need for the above new build?

And what are rails in power supplies? I’ve read that they are important or more important than mere total wattage. Can you suggest one of these PS or recommend another one?

Would it be worth it to also upgrade to MS XP x64 bit OS so I could run more RAM? I have 2 monitors and might get 2 more for a total of 4. I mostly run a bunch of 2D charts and a live TV financial news feed.

I’m a senior citizen so please be patient with my noob questions.

I’m not a gamer. I use my computer for online stock and currency trading and net surfing.

Thanks.
April 13, 2008 6:19:34 PM

FWIW, there are a few hybrid boards that take either DDR or DDR2. You can keep the DDR. The only upgrades would be the cpu & mobo. Look at socket 775 Asrock at newegg.com. If you don't overclock, you don't need ABIT IP35 Pro. However, if you need room for future cpu (45nm) /ram (ddr3) upgrades, get a good mobo. Look at GA-P35C-DS3R or P5K-C:

http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/Products/Motherboard/Product...
http://www.asus.com/products.aspx?l1=3&l2=11&l3=534&l4=...

This calculator doesn't exaggerate the power requirement, and is pretty close to what I'm seeing on my pc.

http://web.aanet.com.au/SnooP/psucalc.php

The question is, do your applications run in 64-bit flawlessly? If you're unsure or can't find an answer to this, best stick with what works for you. If you run 32-bit xp, you'll see up to 3-3.5GB of ram. It'll help if your software makes use of more than 2gb or if you multitask a lot - run multiple apps at the same time. I think 2gb is plenty for your uses.
a b ) Power supply
April 13, 2008 7:08:11 PM

Given what you use your system for, I am at a loss to understand why you need more power or ram.
In any event, you will not see a big change by upgrading your cpu. The reason is that most of the time I believe it is running at idle anyway.
Your 2GB of ram should be enough as it is. Bring up the Task Manager, click on performance and look at your total and peak commit charge figures. Using 32 bit Win XP these should be way less than the 2GB you have.
Switching to 64 bit XP will not be pleasant. Driver problems still plague users, and an awful lot of software just will not run on it.
As far as a power supply goes, call up Asus PC Probe and check your voltages. For a new motherboard build I would get a new psu mainly because yours was a cheaper model and now has some miles on it. Avoid anything branded Rosewill. For psu guidance see the section in this forum on power supplies, and Jonnyguru.com is also a good source.
This one today is at a good price: Corsair 450
Multiple rails is not an advantage, just a marketing tool. For modern systems, total 12v amps is what drives the system. More amps at 12v costs more to buy, but you only use the power the system needs divided by the psu efficiency.
Running multiple monitors well is more a function of videocard ram capacity than anything else. Motherboard ram is not relevant here when using a discrete videocard.
Related resources
a b ) Power supply
April 13, 2008 7:14:26 PM

The Abit IP35 Pro seems to have a little features than you really need (I just received it myself, it's still in the box). However, Newegg.com has a $30 mail-in rebate for it so it's a pretty good deal.

Forget DDR3 and all those "future" upgrades since all you are doing is online stock and currency trading. The Q6600 should be more than adequate for your needs; actually it probably overkill, but I don't know what type of trading software(s) you are running.

As for the power supply (a.k.a. PSU), I recommend not skimping on it since a cheap PSU can bring down your entire system. My recommendation would be the Seasonic S12 500 (it's currently on sale):

SeaSonic S12 II SS-500GB ATX12V / EPS12V 500W

It is certified as a "80 Plus" PSU which means at any given load it will be at least 80% energy efficient at any given. The means at worst it will only "waste" 20% of the electricity drawn from the AC outlet as heat. The Seasonic is up to 85% efficient. Your Cooler Master 450 PSU was probably only 65% - 70% efficient when it was brand new.

Seasonic PSUs are also very quiet too and they make PSUs for other companies as well such as PC Power & Cooling, Antec, and Corsair.

Regarding rails... Rails are the "electric lines" from where your computer draws power (the source being the PSU). There are basically 3 rails and only one of them (in my opinion) is really important. Belows is the sticker on the back of the Seasonic S12 500 PSU (other may not be as detailed):



12v Rail - The most important rail of them all. This is where all the major components draw their power from. The amperage or amps is very important because it determines how much power is available on tap. The above states there are two 12v rails (+12V1 & +12V2), underneath each of them it states 17A or 17 amps. Unfortunately a lot of times these stickers end right here, thus misleading you to the fact that you can probably just add the two numbers up for a total of 34A.

Most manufacturers simply give you peak amperage which is not the same a constant amperage. Seasonic goes the extra mile and provides additional information underneath the amperage info which is 408W. Using the basic formula: Watts = Volts x Amps we can easily figure out that 408w divided 12w = 34A. Therefore 34A is the combined constant amperage provided by this PSU.

Below is the sticker of a Cooler Master 460w power supply:



This tells you there are two 12v rails each with 18A (combined for 36A), underneath that is the total deliverable power of 312w. Using the Watts = Volts x Amps formula again, 312w divided by 12v yields only 26A; divide by 2 to get 13A on each 12v rail.

What this is basically telling you is that while each one of the 12v rails can individually provide up to a peak of 18A, in total both combined cannot (or at least should not) exceed 26A.

The major components that draws power from the 12v rails are:
- CPU
- Video Card
- Hard Drives (spinning motor)
- Optical Drives (spinning motor)
- Case Fans

5v Rail - Many years ago this was the primary rail where power was drawn for most components. With the advent of more and more power hungry components this rail plays a secondary role. Some components drawing power from the 5v rail are:

- The Motherboard
- Hard Drives (read/write head motor)
- Optical Drives (read/write head motor)
- Any card inserted into the PCI slot (sound cards for example)

3.3v Rail - This has always played a secondary role. Components drawing power from this rail are:

- The Motherboard
- RAM
- Floppy Drive

-----------------------------------------------------------------

The Seasonic S12 500 provides more power than you actually but at it's current sale price it is only $5 - $7 more than the smaller Seasonic S12 430.
April 13, 2008 7:29:09 PM

If you go with the Q6600 then the Abit Ip35 Pro mobo will be fine, but like akhilles said, it's not compatible with the new 45nm CPU.

I would probably go with a newer Mobo, if you ever decide to upgrade to Q9300, Q9450, etc, you'll have to get a new mobo.

DDR2 ram will be fine.
a b ) Power supply
April 13, 2008 7:37:56 PM

level101 said:
If you go with the Q6600 then the Abit Ip35 Pro mobo will be fine, but like akhilles said, it's not compatible with the new 45nm CPU.



The IP35 Pro is compatible with the new 45nm CPUs. However, depending on the BIOS version shipped with the motherboard, flashing the BIOS to upgrade it may be necessary.
April 13, 2008 7:47:46 PM

Quote:
The IP35 Pro is compatible with the new 45nm CPUs. However, depending on the BIOS version shipped with the motherboard, flashing the BIOS to upgrade it may be necessary.


Are you sure about that?

The CPU support list from Abit.com doesn't have them listed.
http://www.abit.com.tw/cpu-support-list/mb/intel_p35_ip...

I'd make 100% before I told anyone it did
a b ) Power supply
April 13, 2008 8:01:51 PM

Based on Abit's BIOS Download page, version 16 includes:

Quote:
3. Enhanced 45nm CPU compatibility.


Abit BIOS Upgrade

I've seen times when the CPU compatibility list has not been updated before with the latest CPU families.

Per Intel, the P35 chipset is designed to be used with Wolfdales and Yorkfield, it's just that the BIOS may need to be flashed since motherboards based on this chipset ship before the actual CPUs have shipped.

I'll know soon enough since I just received my IP35 Pro. Now if I can just find a store that has the Q9450 in stock.
a b ) Power supply
April 13, 2008 8:04:13 PM

Actually, based off of Abit's BIOS upgrade page, version 12 (2007-8-15) states that Wolfdale and Yorkfield CPUs are supported.
April 14, 2008 11:18:38 AM

Abit doesn't upgrade their cpu support list as often as their bios. Sad it is. My IP35-E is listed as no 45nm support, but look at my sig. :) 
!