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Upgrading, having trouble deciding on PSU

Last response: in Components
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September 7, 2009 9:20:44 PM

Ok I am having a little trouble with the current crop of PSU calculators on the web giving accurate readings. Mainly that the one on NewEgg gives me twice what others quote so hoping someone can shed some light on the subject.

My current setup - 500w Antec Smartpower modular PSU
Processor - Athlon X2 2.7ghz 7750 Kuma
CPU cooler -Rosewill RCX-Z940-SL 92mm 2 Ball CPU Cooler
Mobo - Gigabyte GA-MA770-UD3
GPU - SAPPHIRE 100265L Radeon HD 4830 512MB
RAM - Kingston HyperX 8GB (4 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066
Optical Drive - ASUS 22X DVD Burner with LightScribe SATA DRW-22B1LT
HDD#1 -Western Digital Caviar Blue WD3200AAJS 320GB 7200 RPM SATA
HDD#2 -Western Digital RE3 WD5002ABYS-01B1B0 500GB 7200 RPM SATA
HDD#3 -Western Digital Caviar RE WD2500YD 250GB 7200 RPM
Antec 300 w/ 2 LED 120mm intake fans, 1 120mm exhast fan, 1 140mm exhaust fan
Vista ultimate 64bit

now the plan is at some point to drop a Phenom II 940 and Sapphire Vapor-X 4870 in using all the same equipment and PSU however when I look up a PSU calculator the majority of them give me a required wattage of 350w-400w give or take, NewEgg's version says closer to 700w, 700w seems extremely high to me as a 650w is the recommended amount for 2 4870's in crossfire. Can anyone point me in the direction of the right answer, or even a closer to correct answer then i am getting now? All the time and effort spent helping me on this is much appreciated, thank you ahead of time.
a c 248 ) Power supply
September 7, 2009 9:25:43 PM

The general rule of thumb is a high quality 500 to 550 watt power supply with sufficient current (amps) on the 12 volt rail(s) can easily handle a system with any single video card made. A high quality 700 to 750 watt power supply can handle a system with two graphic graphics cards operating in dual mode.
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September 7, 2009 9:26:00 PM

High quality 500-600w. Corsair, PCP&C, Antec, Seasonic, etc
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September 7, 2009 9:41:18 PM

Ok so what you are saying is in a standard situation with no unseen variables the Antec 500w should be able to handle a quad core, 4870 and a couple of hard drives without too much issue? Obviously you cannot provide a 100% answer because there are always massive variables involved
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September 8, 2009 3:40:36 AM

It all depends on the amp rating on the 12V rails, not on the wattage.
A Corsair VX550, but if you are upgrading in the future(A really HEAVY upgrade), then a Corsair TX650W.
Both of them are good. But good quality comes at a price.
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a c 248 ) Power supply
September 8, 2009 3:59:34 AM

I checked a few references. A single Radeon HD 4870 graphics card will use about 130 to 150 watts and 12 or 13 amps at full load. Different tests produce slightly different results. The variations are normal.

A typical system would probably use about 300 watts at full load. Here's a link to a technical review with a power consumption charts for idle and full load for a variety of video cards:

http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3341&p=22

Note - The wattage in the chart is the combined total for an entire system.
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a c 144 ) Power supply
September 8, 2009 8:29:34 AM

An Antec 500 w Smartpower PSU has 36 amps on the 12 volt rails. That is about right for a good 500 watt PSU.

Figure 10 amps for the video board, figure 8 amps for an OC'd CPU, 5 amps for all the drives, and a couple of amps for fans and motherboard. You have enough power.

5 amps @ 5 volts for motherboard and drive logic, and 12 amps @ 3.3 volts for memory. My SWAG (Scientific Wild Assed Guess) is 360 watts. And I'm certain I overestimated a little in a couple of places.

I estimate that the PSU is running around 70% of capacity.
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a b ) Power supply
September 8, 2009 2:49:45 PM

My Corsair HX520 hasn't skipped a beat powering a Q6600@3.2-3.6, a 4870 and 2 HDDs for 12months.
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September 8, 2009 9:39:44 PM

Thank you gentlemen, you have confirmed my suspicions with numbers and facts, the things I was lacking. Much appreciation abound
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