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Finalizing my Gaming Monster Machine (PSU OK?)

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August 11, 2008 4:20:57 PM

Hey all,

Here is my final list. I have checked to make sure all components go together. I am unsure of clearance issues, so let me know if there are any.

Acer P243WAid Black-Silver 24" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor with HDCP Support 400
Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 Wolfdale 3.16GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80570E8500 190
Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound 6
XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler 37
XIGMATEK ACK-I7753 Retention Bracket For 4 heatpipes model only 7
Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST3500320AS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive 80
ASUS RAMPAGE FORMULA LGA 775 Intel X48 ATX Intel Motherboard 270
OCZ Reaper HPC Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory 100
Thermaltake Toughpower W0172RU 850W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply 190
4870x2 GPU ???

My question to you experts:
If I decide at a later date to go to 2 4870x2 GPUs, will 850 be enough? I saw this power consumption in a review for two of the cards in Xfire -
http://enthusiast.hardocp.com/article.html?art=MTUzMSw5LCxoZW50aHVzaWFzdA==
and figured an 850W PSU would be enough. Please let me know if there are any possible issues with this PSU.

As always, I welcome all opinions. The more information I have, the better. I will be purchasing most of the parts today or tomorrow, and wait on the Radeon card to come out.

August 11, 2008 4:42:30 PM

iirc the 4870x2 use about 250w at load, with OC, a couple of HDs and peripherals you'd be about 80-90% at load with the 850w PSU, i'd check some other 1000w PSUs at jonnyguru and hardwaresecrets and go with more power. Not saying the 850w wouldn't work, but i'd just like more overhead.
August 11, 2008 4:58:16 PM

Seriously do you really need to CrossFire 4870X2s?

Imo, that's a overkill.

Everything else looks OC except PSU. I recommend you get a Corsair 1kW.
Related resources
August 11, 2008 5:01:10 PM

Sorry, forgot to mention all prices are from the Egg.

As for the PSU, how much overhead does one really need? I won't be adding any HDs, as this will be only for gaming (not media storage), I have two old DVD burners to hook-up to it, a mouse, a keyboard, and a headset. If the system is going to end up crapping out on me, then I will definitely look to upgrade. But using 90% of the PSU is OK, then I don't know if spending the money on a 1k PSU is worth it.
August 11, 2008 5:02:56 PM

No, I probably don't need to Xfire two 4870x2s, and might not ever do it at all. But if there comes a day where it calls out to me...I just like having my bases covered I guess. I certainly won't be able to buy two of them immediately.
August 11, 2008 5:03:46 PM

dirtmountain said:
iirc the 4870x2 use about 250w at load, with OC, a couple of HDs and peripherals you'd be about 80-90% at load with the 850w PSU, i'd check some other 1000w PSUs at jonnyguru and hardwaresecrets and go with more power. Not saying the 850w wouldn't work, but i'd just like more overhead.


I think you meant each of the GPU cores would take about 250 at load, since 2 4870s in crossfire takes about 430:

http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-r...

Anyway, it might be about 450, since the 3870 X2 took a bit more power than 2 3870s in crossfire.

Like the review above says, 700W is likely to be the absolute minimum, so I think 850 Thermaltake would be fine.

Edited to Add:

Wait, for TWO 4870 X2s? For that, 850W will almost certainly not be enough.
August 11, 2008 5:12:26 PM

You seemed shocked as well. I am not sure how they managed to get just under 700W for 2 of the 4870 X2s, but they did. That is why I am asking about an 850W PSU - it seems crazy to me.

As it stands, does the Thermaltake even have all the connections needed for two of the cards? I guess it might only be 2x8 pin connectors.
August 11, 2008 5:14:51 PM

Il-Mari said:
I think you meant each of the GPU cores would take about 250 at load, since 2 4870s in crossfire takes about 430:

http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-r...

Anyway, it might be about 450, since the 3870 X2 took a bit more power than 2 3870s in crossfire.

Like the review above says, 700W is likely to be the absolute minimum, so I think 850 Thermaltake would be fine.

Edited to Add:

Wait, for TWO 4870 X2s? For that, 850W will almost certainly not be enough.


850w would be MORE than enough.
The 430w they showed was for TOTAL SYSTEM power Consumption.

This includes CPU, Mobo, HDD, RAM, Fans, etc... etc..
Other Reviews I have seen only show 407w with a Quad Core@3.2Ghs and the 4870x2.

Sure there will be some minor differences between systems so that is not a big deal but does indicate that the 430w is towards the upper range in most caes.

August 11, 2008 5:15:24 PM

You're getting the wrong retention bracket there. The HDT-S1283 has 3 heatpipes, not 4. The bracket you want is this one:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835233019

I'd prefer a WD 640GB instead of the Seagate 500GB. Same price or close, a bit faster, more room.

Why the Rampage and not the $50 cheaper P5E Deluxe?

Get a full tower case with lots of fans, or an RC-690. The HD 4870x2 will be almost as big as the 8800GTX AFAIK, so not all cases can fit two of them.

PSU: yikes, 4 GPUs, all of them high-end, wow... The list of certified PSUs for Crossfire is here:
http://game.amd.com/us-en/crossfirex_components.aspx?p=3
It doesn't have the 4870X2 yet.

They certified a bunch of 750W PSUs for two HD 4870 cards, i.e. for a HD 4870X2. Your second HD 4870x2 will consume at most 300W (75W from the PCI-E slot, 75W from the 6-pin connector, 150W from the 8-pin connector). So, 750W+300W should cover it, unless you add lots of disks. Get yourself a 1200W PSU with at least two 8-pin connectors and two 6-pin or (6+2-pin) connectors.
1000W could be just fine too, it's just less room for upgrades.

August 11, 2008 5:31:37 PM

Ah, thank you for catching the bracket error. I was not paying attention when I did my search.

I honestly chose the HD I did for the 32mb cache, but I doubt that makes a huge difference. I will have flip a coin on the two of them.

I went with the Rampage because it lists the DDR2800 memory standard, while the Deluxe does not. I figured I would be avoiding any possible issues by doing so.

See, I figure if it takes 450W full system load for one 48070X2, even if it is another 300W, that puts me at 750W. But you never know with GPUs either. I might have to just wait and see what people are getting when they officially come out.
August 11, 2008 5:39:05 PM

That's smart, let AMD experiment on others first :) 

Also check that certification list, I'm sure they'll update it eventually for the new card.

If you have a system that consumes 750W under load, you don't want a PSU rated 750W. That would mean running it at close to 100% load, and it would result in heat/noise/reduced parts lifetime. A PSU is usually most efficient between 30% and 75% load, or whatever. Also, the PSUs tend to lose some power in time. Also, the heat from all those GPUs will also affect the PSU a bit, lowering its output. I guess that's why ATI's and nVidia's certified PSUs are so big.
August 11, 2008 5:47:48 PM

jsclayco said:
Ah, thank you for catching the bracket error. I was not paying attention when I did my search.

I honestly chose the HD I did for the 32mb cache, but I doubt that makes a huge difference. I will have flip a coin on the two of them.

I went with the Rampage because it lists the DDR2800 memory standard, while the Deluxe does not. I figured I would be avoiding any possible issues by doing so.

See, I figure if it takes 450W full system load for one 48070X2, even if it is another 300W, that puts me at 750W. But you never know with GPUs either. I might have to just wait and see what people are getting when they officially come out.


But his total will not be close to 450w for Full Load.
That is with a Quad-Core Not Dual Core.
And (3) Old Raptores and other items.

His load will be under 400w with a Single X2 470.
Since they are rated at 250w Peak, you are looking at under 650w which is not an issue for a quality 850w PSU.

(Remember, Quality PSUs are rated for Maximum Sustained Load. Peak Usage is Higher. Low Quality PSUs often report Peak and not sustained.)


August 11, 2008 6:16:16 PM

aevm said:
All right... But you know what, with $1000 spent on video cards alone, does it really matter any more if it's a $190 850W PSU or a $230 1000W PSU.

@jsclayco:
This Antec TPQ-850 is a very good 850W PSU and cheaper than the Toughpower 850W.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371009&Tpk=TPQ-850


I'm Convinced.
If you are or maySpend $800-$1000 on GPUs.
Spend the Extra $40 :>

August 11, 2008 6:33:14 PM

aevm has spoken... :) ,
he's good !
August 11, 2008 6:56:04 PM

See, I think the whole PSU industry needs a bit of a revamp. If I can't put 800W on a 850W PSU for any length of time, is it really doing me the justice of buying it? If a 1kW PSU is only actually worth its salt up to 750W, then label it 750W! Attica! Attica!

Viva La Revolution aside, I will be switching over to the Antec TPQ it seems.

As for spending the extra $40...you are all missing the point. I am cheap (Scottish descent) and wish to uphold to the principle of spend the least possible (one of the driving factors for my choosing Radeon cards) on everything. I get hives when I see PSUs over $200. :) 

August 11, 2008 7:09:20 PM

Most PSU's run about 80% efficiency anyway. So i'd defiantly get a 1k watt PSU (which is recommended by ATI).
August 11, 2008 7:15:17 PM

zenmaster said:
But his total will not be close to 450w for Full Load.
That is with a Quad-Core Not Dual Core.
And (3) Old Raptores and other items.

His load will be under 400w with a Single X2 470.
Since they are rated at 250w Peak, you are looking at under 650w which is not an issue for a quality 850w PSU.

(Remember, Quality PSUs are rated for Maximum Sustained Load. Peak Usage is Higher. Low Quality PSUs often report Peak and not sustained.)


I think you're being a bit too optimistic. In the link I posted, a not-uncomparable system used 430W under load with 4870s in crossfire. I don't think we can assume that the 4870 X2 will be more efficient, especially since the 3870 X2s were more power hungry than just a two 3870s in crossfire by about 10% (see, for example: http://www.legitreviews.com/article/679/12/ ).

Modifying your assumption to even 450W + 250W= 700 puts it outside the safe-zone, since generally you shouldn't expect a power supply to consistently give you over 80% efficiency (so 850 = 680). Sure, with a decent PSU like the one in question, it might still work, but it seems foolish to risk it (though I have to say I also question the value of even planning on using two 4870 X2s at this point in time).
August 11, 2008 7:26:01 PM

You will need a 1kw PSU to run two of them safely. It's amps not the watts.
August 11, 2008 7:31:21 PM

OK OK OK, sheesh. If I do decide to go with the 1k PSU (I might just get the 850W and one card) for future-proofing, what options does that leave me?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371012 ?

Anyone have some opinions on that one?

On a side note, is it possible to run two PSUs? Say I have an old one from another CPU, could I hookup that up to only my GPU? This is completely hypothetical of course.
August 11, 2008 7:55:51 PM

Yes it is possible to run two PSUs. It's just ugly because cases normally have room for only one PSU. There are even setups like the Antec P190 case that comes with two PSUs.

If you're looking for a good 1000W PSU, some good ones include that Antec you found (70A combined), the Corsair 1000HX that Shadow recommended (40A+40A), the Enermax Galaxy 1000W (75A combined).
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139007&Tpk=1000HX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817194019

Double-check first that the PSU you buy fits in the case you buy. These 1kw PSUs can be big...
August 11, 2008 8:19:54 PM

Hmm, size might be an issue. I am just going to reuse an old generic mid-tower case I have my current setup in. Do any of those fit in mid-towers, or are they all for full sizes only? You can make fun of me if this is a well-known fact, I will take no offense.

This might just cause me to stick to one card and an 850 that fits.

Decisions, decisions....

By the way, thanks for all the help you guys (and gals) have given me. I appreciate it greatly. The drinks are on me...
August 11, 2008 8:38:35 PM

I don't think there's a rule. My favorite ways to find if a PSU fits in a case are checking the user reviews at newegg for the case and then for the PSU, or Google if all else fails. It's easier than it sounds, if the case and the PSU are both popular.

Yeah, you should probably stay with a single HD 4870x2. The 3rd and 4th GPU don't add that much value. I've seen benchmarks of CoD4 where they were adding value, but also benchmarks of Crysis where they weren't, especially not the 4th. (They had a 790fx MB with four HD 3850 cards, IIRC.)
With a single HD 4870x2, your PSU can be as cheap as the $100 750TX or the $140 TPQ-850, no need for $200+ monsters.
August 12, 2008 10:37:20 PM

Il-Mari said:
generally you shouldn't expect a power supply to consistently give you over 80% efficiency (so 850 = 680).
PSU efficiency works the other way around. To provide 850watts a PSU that is 80% efficient (at max load) would pull 1020watts from the wall socket which the PSU converts to 850watts of DC power.

edit; I'm not endorsing an 850W PSU for dual 4870X2 video cards - just pointing out that a quality 850W PSU really IS an 850W PSU. Some budget brands advertise the PEAK power rating instead of the continuous rated power and some budget brands just claim a higher rating than the PSU can actually deliver.
!