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600 W for running a CPU??

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Last response: in Components
August 18, 2009 11:14:29 PM

I'm confused about the power chart posted in a recent Phenom II X4 965 article:,2389-...

  • A) How does the "590" there correspond to the actual power supply rating needed in a PC? Does this mean that you need a 600 W Power Supply minimum JUST for running the CPU and nothing else? (If so, then what's the point of the "125W" rating on the product specs??)

  • B) I have a 500W Power Supply, the Cooler Master eXtreme Power 500W (Model R-500-PCAR). Is this enough for running a Phenom II X4 955? (Along with one sata hard drive, one DVDRW, and a Radeon HD 3850.)

    The above chart confused the hell out of me, so I'd like to learn more before purchasing a 955 (which I may do as early as tonight!).
  • More about : 600 running cpu

    August 18, 2009 11:46:29 PM

    Newf said:
    A) No, that's for the whole system, including whatever Video card(s) are a part of it.
    B) Yes.

    Check out for a rough calculation of the power you need.

    Ahhhh, ok thanks.

    I entered my info into that calculation, and for an OC'd 940 to 3400 MHz it gave 302 W for my system. Does that sound right?

    I'm just wondering if I will run into problems if I don't buy a new PSU. Is 500W safe, even for overclocked?
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    a c 248 ) Power supply
    August 19, 2009 12:18:43 AM

    Well, the original questions have already been answered. The top of the chart indicates measurements were taken at the AC source which means the power draw was measured at the electrical wall outlet. If go to the article's test set-up page you will see a list of components used for testing. The list includes power hungry graphics.

    A high quality 500 - 550 watt power supply can power any single video card and overclocking. In some cases it might even be able to handle two video cards operating in dual mode. In your case a single HD Radeon 3850 video card uses about 73 watts and 6 amps at full load. From what I remember from yet another THG article your system will probably use about 300 watts at full load during a gaming session.
    August 19, 2009 12:46:40 AM

    JohnnyLucky said:

    A high quality 500 - 550 watt power supply can power any single video card and overclocking. In some cases it might even be able to handle two video cards operating in dual mode. .

    Wow, awesome. I thought 500 W wasn't going to cut it for a new Phenom X4.

    Is there any way to see how many watts your system is currently using (without having one of those devices you attach to the wall)?
    a c 248 ) Power supply
    August 19, 2009 2:07:57 AM

    A few of the regular veterans at this forum use a meter that measures the power draw at the wall outlet. Some of the online vendors sell the meter for about $15.00 - $30.00. I think there is a Tom's hardware article or articles about individual AMD Phenom II cpu's that mention the cpu power consumption. I'm not sure about that.
    August 19, 2009 2:11:55 AM

    The CPU isn't the main problem in deciding what PSU to get.The power hungry ones are the video cards. Overclocking CPU won't take that much hit on power requirements unlike when you include a graphics card to the system.

    Is there any other way? Use a multimeter (if you know how to use one)
    a c 248 ) Power supply
    August 19, 2009 2:29:29 AM

    +1 what masterjaw said. That's why a lot of the threads in this section typically wind up being about psu requirements for video cards. It's not unusual to see a list of components where high end video cards operating in dual mode use a lot more power than the rest of the components combined.
    August 19, 2009 3:12:54 AM

    Do video cards use a set amount of power (and is it listed anywhere) or does it fluctuate like cpu's as well?

    Edit: I see on newegg, video cards say "minimum 500 W psu" etc, but not the actual usage. Is there a good place to see a list of these?
    August 19, 2009 3:27:36 AM

    Video cards's power consumption is at min when idle and at max when at full load. The best place to inquire is to check the manufacturer's site and see the rated power consumption for the cards.
    August 21, 2009 12:58:44 AM

    :bounce:  :D  :D  :bounce: 

    [Edit]: Anyone know what "apparent power" is?
    a c 144 ) Power supply
    August 21, 2009 2:50:55 PM

    Google is your friend.