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All solid state caps or not

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December 20, 2008 2:24:12 PM

I ordered a BIostar Tforce TA790GX but I didn't realize that the Ta790GX3 has all solid state capcitors. Should i send my GX back and get the GX3? Is it worth all the trouble? I'll do some modest overclocking but nothing extreme. Will I get 2-3 yrs out of the board w/o solid state caps, I can't see myself keeping it longer than that.

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More about : solid state caps

December 20, 2008 2:37:09 PM

I probably would send the TA790GX back. Some don't think such things are important but SS caps may increase longevity and often point to a higher quality product...that'd be enough reason for me.
a b V Motherboard
December 20, 2008 11:53:01 PM

Right, because prior to solid caps, nothing lasted more than one or two years. All those circuit boards made 10+ years ago with electrolytic caps that still work fine are just a figment of your imagination!

Premature failure or accelerated aging in any capacitor results from manufacturing defect, use of inferior materials or compositions, or inappropriate application (e.g. using a capacitor with too low of a temperature rating). There is nothing about solid caps that make them any more immune to manufacturing defects, use of inferior materials or compositions, inappropriate application, or funny business such as inflating the characteristics of inferior caps.

Good electrolytic caps that are appropriate for the application should last at least the five to six years that most motherboards will be in service. However, solid caps are increasingly justified around areas like the CPU for three reasons:

- substantially better ESR performance at higher temperatures (e.g. above 70'C)
- lower impedance at higher frequencies
- more reliable derating assumptions at higher temperatures

Its not that electrolytic caps cannot be used in areas where temperatures are likely to go above 70'C. Its that the accuracy or error margin for derating assumptions and design lifespan become very fickle at higher temperatures (not because they don't last as long, per se).

Solid caps do offer advantages for use in low voltage, high frequency circuits with fast current swings (e.g. modern CPUs and GPUs). But electrolytic caps can do the job as well, it just requires a little more design attention and validation. On the other hand, not using bulk electrolytic capacitance around the CPU comes with its own trade-offs that require just as much design attention and validation, if not more (e.g. active voltage positioning).

Does your Biostar use solid caps around the CPU and major sources of dissipated heat? If so, there is no good argument for using solid caps anywhere else. Certainly not any reason to return a motherboard at risk of restocking fee.

Edit: removed unwarranted jab at Halcyon, after thinking better of it.
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December 21, 2008 8:55:34 AM

So...to make a long story short.... "I probably would send the TA790GX back. Some don't think such things are important but SS caps may increase longevity and often point to a higher quality product...that'd be enough reason for me." If there's no penalty, I would return it.
December 21, 2008 7:30:19 PM

well from looking at the pics it looks like there are solid caps around the cpu socket. It's only like 10 bucks more for the one will all solid caps, i got it from newegg, but I'm guessing that to send something back that's not defective that they would charge a restocking fee. Ugh, I should have payed more attention, lol.
a b V Motherboard
December 22, 2008 2:53:02 AM

halcyon said:
So...to make a long story short.... "I probably would send the TA790GX back. Some don't think such things are important but SS caps may increase longevity and often point to a higher quality product...that'd be enough reason for me."

Well, I was kind of going more for, SS caps are not any indicator of quality, but I can see how that might get lost in translation (for someone who doesn't understand it).

In fact, SS caps have really given manufacturers a great opportunity to conceal the use of cheap commodity capacitors. Previously, awareness of the cheap Chinese electrolytic caps was relatively high. Now that we have the hype of Super Duper Solid State Caps, users have come to believe SS caps somehow do not come in all the same varieties that electrolytic caps do.

SS caps come in all the same varieties, from cheap cut-rate Chinese caps all the way up to the expensive high-performance Japanese stuff. The only difference is, we are back to where we started before there was any awareness of the difference. Manufacturers can now say, "We have also the SS caps and it means we have the quality good" (complete with simulated broken Engrish), and this is fairly effective for them because of uninformed users who would say things like "that'd be enough reason for me."

I repeat, premature failure or accelerated aging in any capacitor results from manufacturing defect, use of inferior materials or compositions, or inappropriate application. There is nothing about solid caps that make them any more immune to manufacturing defects, use of inferior materials or compositions, inappropriate application, or funny business such as inflating the characteristics of inferior caps.

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