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Too many PSU's choices! Which one do I need?

Last response: in Components
March 13, 2009 1:13:00 PM

I've been looking through PSU's on ebuyer and am now more confused than ever! I currently have a Super-Flower 520W PSU and believe I am going to need a bit more juice.

The reason is that my system is starting to loaded down with power hungry components. Here is a rough list of what I have:

Asus A7N8X-E Deluxe motherboard
Athlon XP 3000+ cpu
ATI X1950 512MB pro graphics card
Creative Audigy Z2 sound card
3 x 1GB PC3200 ram
1 X 200GB Maxxor hard drive
1 X 80GB Maxxor hard drive
1 x Floppy disk drive
1 x DVD Rom drive
1 X DVD RW drive
Thermaltake Tower Case (8 built it fans)
Super Flower 520W quadruple fan PSU

I have a USB keyboard and mouse plugged in and a printer. Not all the case fans are plugged in as I didn't have enough cables free!

So as you can a few hungry items there, especially the X1950 card which I have yet to install but am aware it takes 450watts to run it. That doesn't leave me much to play with. So looking at the ebuyer website there were loads of PSU's which higher wattages but I can't clearly see what I could use as my system is older and may not be able to support them.

Can anyone help as PSU's is one area I'm not up to scratch with!?

More about : psu choices

a b ) Power supply
March 13, 2009 1:20:31 PM

450-500W would be fine (the !=X1950 is 3 generations old and doesn't need much juice, the 450W is for the system), however a better brand is always recommended!
March 13, 2009 1:24:20 PM

Ahh so the 450 isn't what the card needs?! I was thinking it seemed extremely high for a graphics card! So you think with all the parts I have, the 520W is fine for a system like mine?
Related resources
March 13, 2009 1:35:25 PM

basically the sticker on the card which states that just means that it recommends that you have a 400w PSU, the rating includes the rest of your components.
March 13, 2009 1:45:09 PM

I've never heard of Super Flower PSUs... you'd be better off going for a well known brand like Corsair or PC Power & Cooling. PSU is one thing you never want to settle for a second-grade part on, it could cost you your entire system.
March 13, 2009 1:56:37 PM

Funnily enough when I was building my system years ago I went for an Antec power supply but they weren't available and looking at the reviews on Ebuyer is suggested the Super Flower was fairly decent. At the time is was the larger PSU available and so I opted for it. It's been extremely good and I hope it will have a bit more life ahead of it. (had it for 4/5 years now).

One thing I would like to know is the X1950 crossfire and it suggests a PSU of 550watts. Should I upgrade my PSU to cater for this and would my CPU cope with it?
March 13, 2009 2:27:35 PM

Question: How do you identify which PSU is suitable for my system and which isn't?

Looking at the two links I wouldn't 100% know and to identify them amongst some of the others! Dual cards? Not sure my mobo would support it as it only has one AGP slot. Sadly I have a ATI 9800 XT 256MB which I now have to sell but would love to use it a dual capacity as you suggest! ;) 
a b ) Power supply
March 13, 2009 2:38:38 PM

You would want to upgrade your board for a dual card setup. However, you can upgrade your psu now and use it when/if you decided to upgrade the rest down the road.

You want to find how many amps the psu has on the +12v rail. Some psu's ratings are very unreliable. Just because the psu says it's 500w, doesn't mean it is. There's a big difference between peak power and continuous power. There are several websites dedicated to testing and reviewing psu's. A little research is probably a good idea.

You want a psu that has a little more than enough power to run your system at >80% efficiency. It should have also have the 6 pin pcie power cable that the newer video cards require.
a b ) Power supply
March 13, 2009 3:31:12 PM

The X1950 GT uses 57 watts, the X1950 Pro uses 66w, the X1950 XT uses 97w, the X1950XTX uses 125w, all at load. Which one do you have?

your present power supply should be sufficient, depending on how old it is and how many hours it has on it. If it's over 4-5 years old i'd replace it with the Antec 500w Earthwatts suggested by others.
March 13, 2009 4:31:18 PM

Sorry for replying earlier had strange problems with vista and couldn't access the internet for a while! Anyway, to answer your question I have the Radeon X1950 Pro 512MB Crossfire (agp version).

Wouldn't my power supply ok for a while longer as I regularly give it a 'blow out' to remove any dust? Seems ok so far.

How do the Earthwatts rate as is there something special about this model which might makes it a good purchase?
a b ) Power supply
March 13, 2009 6:25:03 PM

Your power supply should be fine for awhile longer if it's still working properly. The addition of a couple of hard drives/fans/RAM aren't going to put any severe stress on it. The Antec Earthwatts is a good quality, efficient power supply (+80%) now manufactured for Antec by Delta (it used to be manufactured by Seasonic for Antec). It's usually available at a decent price ($50-$60) and is an excellent choice for a single GPU system. It may not be enough for a crossfire or SLI system depending on which GPUs are being used.
If it were my system i wouldn't replace your current power supply unless it started having problems. The one reason i might do it is if you're planning on building a new system pretty soon and would move the new power supply into your new system.
March 15, 2009 7:01:30 PM

I'm in agreement that sticking with this power supply might be an ok thing as it's not let me down (tempting fate now! ;)  ).

It is good to know about the Antec PSU though as it gives me a good backup plan in case of need.

Looking at how my system is pretty much maxing out on things I can do with it, time might soon approach for a full upgrade and then a whole new ballgame!

Cheers for ALL your help, proved extremely useful.