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1200w psu overkill or futureproof?

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April 14, 2009 5:41:53 PM

I'm building a new rig at Alienware, and my final decision is 1000w or 1200w psu. Now, I know that for now 1200w is probably overkill but I try to look to the future. I expect this pc to last a good 5 years (my last two have). I'm only starting off with sli 9800gt video cards, but will definitely replace them when the gtx 300 series comes out, and those will require more power? So I'm wondering if several years from now the 1200w will be warranted, so I don't have to replace the psu...basically ever.

Edit - Sorry, no idea why it posted the question twice.
a b ) Power supply
April 14, 2009 6:05:13 PM

those über psus are usually made with very high quality components, so in that sense they really should last longer than your average unit.

But I believe the wattage itself is a bit overkill. Jedec's pcie standards allow for 300W usage for a graphics card, todays dualchip cards are close to that. (4870x2 260W). No manufacturer in their right mind would desing a single chip card that would use close to 300W by itself, that would be insane... Standards can be altered, though.
a b ) Power supply
April 14, 2009 6:05:42 PM

Quality matters as much as wattage. What brand and model are they?

For SLI with any current single GPU cards, an 850W is more than enough. For 2 9800GT you only need a 550W PSU.
Related resources
April 14, 2009 6:07:00 PM

I was contemplating a similar issue, but I was wondering if it would be worth it to get a Corsair 1000HX (given the price I would like it to last at least 4-5 years). I'm pretty sure the wattage itself is future-proof, but my fear is the connectors. If in 2 years the release an ATI 6890 or a GTX485 that require a new 10-pin PCI-E 3.0 power connector my PSU will just become useless.

BTW, I would probably recommend AGAINST buying from Alienware, you will probably be better buying for local shop than be ripped-off by them.
April 14, 2009 6:10:23 PM

It's from Alienware, so it's their brand psu which I assume is of good quality. Listed as 87% efficiency. Strange thing at their website if you're building a rig and use dual 280 or 295 (which I'm not doing yet), it forces you to choose the 1200w psu. That's probably Alienware just trying to force the extra money out of my pocket, but it does give me a little pause on if 1000w will be enough 2-3 years down the line when I update my video cards.

I should also mention the reason I'm looking at a new pc is because the psu in my five year old Dell basically died on me. So psu is on my mind, and I want to make sure I don't stress it in the future but that it will last as long as the pc.
April 14, 2009 6:14:53 PM

Just cause they say its 87% does not mean it is.

I would actually question the quality of Dell/Alienware computers and their use.
Im very frustrated that the 750w in my parents XPS (b4 i knew about self builds) is proprietary and completely useless... Now i have an excuse to get another better one when i Scrap their computer. (E6600 will do fine when OCed :D )
April 14, 2009 6:18:32 PM

Thanks for the replies. I guess my last question is...is 1200w in any way harmful? I assume it only draws the power it needs. Are there any possible drawbacks besides paying extra money for unnecessary and unnused power?
a c 248 ) Power supply
April 14, 2009 6:24:29 PM

What we've been seeing is a trend toward cpu's and video cards that use less power. If the trend continues, then a 1,200 watt power supply will be overkill.

If necessary, somebody, somewhere out there in cyberspace will make a 10-pin PCI-E 3.0 power adapter cable.

A power supply only draws the power it actually needs. A 1,200 watt psu does not constantly draw 1,200 watts.
a c 121 ) Power supply
April 14, 2009 6:45:42 PM

It draws what it needs, but operates at its highest efficiency (e.g. 87%) in the middle of its range, possibly down to 20% (if the PSU is 80+ Bronze certified), but below 20% load most PSUs are much less efficient, even high quality ones.
April 14, 2009 6:52:46 PM

it also helps that some 1200w psu's are modular which means more power to the people!!!!...Or graphics cards, cpu's etc. if you don't have too much stuff plugged in.
April 14, 2009 6:54:08 PM

The new BFG EX 1200 looks to be something to really consider. Great efficiency from 10% to 100% semi modular and life time warranty all in a standard atx size. It is like a one size fits all.

Here are links to a couple reviews.

TweakTown

Guru3D
April 14, 2009 7:09:12 PM

10% efficiency is way too low, thats only 120w.

thats only just more than a full P2 720 pc minus a gfx card in idle.
April 14, 2009 7:11:05 PM

why not build this computer yourself you would save money, uy the parts and put it together

and 1200w is probably way overkill, 1000w might be too, but if you are that worried about future upgrades and might need the power, go with the 1000w
April 14, 2009 7:13:25 PM

Helloworld_98 said:
10% efficiency is way too low, thats only 120w.

thats only just more than a full P2 720 pc minus a gfx card in idle.


The statement "Great efficiency from 10% to 100%" means that it is very efficient between 10% and 100% load. Also, power supplies are rated by their output, so a 1200W 10% efficient PSU would still be able to output 1200W. It would just need 12 kW input to do so.
April 14, 2009 7:15:03 PM

Helloworld_98 said:
10% efficiency is way too low, thats only 120w.

thats only just more than a full P2 720 pc minus a gfx card in idle.

Uhh....

By 10%-100% hes referring to LOAD not efficiency
So at 10% or 100% load it keeps high efficiency
April 14, 2009 7:21:16 PM

Helloworld_98 said:
10% efficiency is way too low, thats only 120w.

thats only just more than a full P2 720 pc minus a gfx card in idle.



i think he was referring to 10% load, not efficiency. Yes, 10% efficiency would be really bad.
April 14, 2009 7:24:18 PM

mindless728 said:
why not build this computer yourself you would save money, uy the parts and put it together

and 1200w is probably way overkill, 1000w might be too, but if you are that worried about future upgrades and might need the power, go with the 1000w
First pc I bought was from Dell, ten years ago now. I never had a problem, good customer service. Dell owns Alienware, so I'd expect the same. And I'm loyal like that, and somewhat too lazy to build my own.

I've been procrastinating over this question for two weeks now. Someone mentioned that newer gpus and cpus are actually starting to use less power. If that's the case, I'd definitely just go 1000w but I'm having a hard time finding evidence of that.
April 14, 2009 7:35:10 PM

I have a 1kW PSU (Corsair HX1000) that is currently running 2 4870x2s and a highly overclocked i7, as well as 3 HDDs. It isn't even under that much strain - I never even hear its fan start working hard or anything like that. I would honestly say that 1kW should easily power anything you will use for quite some time.
a b ) Power supply
April 14, 2009 8:03:46 PM

Helloworld_98 said:
it also helps that some 1200w psu's are modular which means more power to the people!!!!...Or graphics cards, cpu's etc. if you don't have too much stuff plugged in.


There is no difference in power between a modular and non-modular.
April 18, 2009 2:13:40 AM

Futureproof. Though for the price of the other 1200w PSU's in the market get the Ultra 1600w PSU and get EXTREME futureproofness.
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