Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Powering and Protecting my System

Last response: in Systems
Share
July 31, 2009 7:10:12 PM

So here's the story. There was a power fluctuation and my computer basically stopped working. I didn't have the parts lying around to self-diagnose how extensive the damage was, so I brought it to a shop my friend recommended (mom and pop type outfit). I was told I was lucky and it was just the power supply. Now I'm left with two questions/concerns:

1) They replaced my older 500W power supply with a Raidmax 600W Aurora II 2.0V (http://www.pcinfocomputers.com/pro [...] 31&scid=17 to be specific). Now they assured me it was a high quality power supply and that my old one was junk, and that this power supply would allow me to upgrade to any videocard I want as long as I was only running one of them at a time (I currently run a Phenom II 920 and a GeForce 7950GT).

However, research done since has suggested that Raidmax is crap, but I've only found older reviews. Did Raidmax get their act together, or was I given a crappy PSU?

2) My entire system was plugged into a surge protector which seems to have done very little to help me. The power in my building can be iffy (the lights flicker a little when the laundry is running) but it was a rather severe fluctuation that caused the damage. Still, my current surge protector did nothing to help the dip in power.

I'm wondering now if my best bet is to get a better (APC) surge protector and trust that it could have prevented what my crappy Dynex could not, or do I go all out on a UPS? Is a UPS overkill? I don't really need my computer to run in a blackout situation, I just want to prevent damage to my system.

If I do go for a UPS, what should I look for? The load will consist of the 600W PSU computer system, an LCD monitor, probably a modem and router, and that'll be about it.

As always, thank you all in advance for your advice, assistance, and above all patience with an ubernoob like me.

NOTE: Is there such a thing as a surge protector power bar that will also regulate or stabilize the power, thus preventing me from having to blow several hundred dollars on a UPS with a big hunking battery?
a b B Homebuilt system
a c 275 ) Power supply
July 31, 2009 7:16:27 PM

The only way to get power regulation is through a UPS, for best results get ones that goes AC-DC-AC so the battery is in the middle to absorb any spikes, they are more expensive but they are also better.

Raidmax isnt great, but it isnt a firework waiting to happen like some. What brand of PSU did you have before? I would suggest swapping out the raidmax for something more solid like a corsair, antec, pc power & cooling, seasonic, or OCZ before attempting to draw anywhere near 600 watts from it as it is likely rated at peak not continuous.
July 31, 2009 7:22:52 PM

I was told it WAS a 600W continuous PSU by the man who installed it. He seemed nice and trustworthy. Not being one of the better reputed brands, I can understand your assuming it was a peak rating and not continuous.

I honestly can't remember what the old brand was.
Related resources
July 31, 2009 7:25:10 PM

Higher-quality PSU's have active PFC (Power Factor Correction) which means that if the power going into your computer dips or raises, the PSU can compensate on the fly to prevent damage to your computer.

The one you got looks like it has at least passive PFC, but I can't really confirm it's exact specs. The PSU you got looks like an ok one; it's certainly not a "high quality" PSU, but it's undoubtedly leagues better than whatever you had in there previously.

I think the reason your old PSU failed during the power fluctuations were due to your old PSU being junk and not having any PFC. You're lucky that your computer only walked away with a broken PSU. When the PSU dies, it can take literally everything else out with it. I wouldn't worry about investing in a UPS or really doing anything differently though.
July 31, 2009 7:32:49 PM

You're lucky that your computer only walked away with a broken PSU. When the PSU dies, it can take literally everything else out with it. said:
You're lucky that your computer only walked away with a broken PSU. When the PSU dies, it can take literally everything else out with it.


Oh I know I dodged a bullet on that one! Waiting to hear back was not unlike waiting for a loved one's surgery to end.

Which says more about how unhealthy my relationship with my computer is than about the actual situation...
a b B Homebuilt system
a c 275 ) Power supply
July 31, 2009 7:35:19 PM

It appears that this is your PSU, its not great but its not as crappy as some
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Did your old one have one of the red voltage selector switches? If so then it certainly didnt have a PFC, the raidmax seems to have APFC so it should be able to handle things a bit better.
July 31, 2009 7:44:44 PM

ubernoob said:
Oh I know I dodged a bullet on that one! Waiting to hear back was not unlike waiting for a loved one's surgery to end.

Which says more about how unhealthy my relationship with my computer is than about the actual situation...

Hahaha! Ditto my friend, ditto. My friends don't understand why I don't want them screwing around on my computer when we've all been drinking and they want to get on the internet or listen to music or something... I may be a little overprotective, but I think after I drop a whole month's paycheck on the thing and nearly a month doing research on different parts, brands, technologies, and other stuff to get exactly what I wanted out of it for the best bargain, that I'm entitled to be a little anal about who touches my baby. :) 
a b B Homebuilt system
a b ) Power supply
July 31, 2009 8:14:16 PM

hunter315 said:
It appears that this is your PSU, its not great but its not as crappy as some
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Did your old one have one of the red voltage selector switches? If so then it certainly didnt have a PFC, the raidmax seems to have APFC so it should be able to handle things a bit better.

If that is your PSU, it's not as good as people are giving it credit. The pictures on Newegg clearly show a red voltage switch on the back which indicates it does NOT have active PFC. :( 
a b B Homebuilt system
a c 275 ) Power supply
July 31, 2009 8:20:23 PM

Oh crap right below the newegg logo so i didnt spot it the first time, yeah that baby is going to BURN! Try to get a good PSU from one of the brands i listed above soon.
July 31, 2009 8:31:27 PM

Yeah, the store website where I took it specifies no PFC on the PSU. Which if I understand everything you've all said isn't necessarily a disaster so long as I get a quality UPS.

Which sounds expensive. Am I right in my understanding that in order to cover the 600W PSU on a UPS I need one rated higher than that, which will probably run me over $200? I've found this: http://www.microbytes.com/computer/ordinateur/product_info.php?cPath=3700010&products_id=29816 which is rated as a 750 VA UPS, but the specs say that equates to 450W, which is way too low. Am I on the right track?
July 31, 2009 9:38:50 PM

Just to clarify, it has overvoltage and overload protection which means it's still got passive PFC right?

UPS isn't what you want to look at if you're worried about damage to your computer; what you want to get yourself is a Corsair 650TX for roughly $90.
August 3, 2009 8:04:34 PM

True or False:

If I go with an active Power Factor Correction enabled power supply, like for instance the Corsair 650TX mentioned above, and plug it into a modest APC surge protection power bar, I will be well protected and need not fear irregular power (either dips or spikes).

If this method will work (and well) then I wouldn't need a UPS, because I don't need to run my computer during power outages. I'm not worried about saving work, I'm worried about components frying.
August 3, 2009 11:04:18 PM

kufan64 said:
what you want to get yourself is a Corsair 650TX for roughly $90.


As a recovering POS PSU owner, I was able to snag a 750TX for $95 on Amazon (that's with a $10 MIR).
August 4, 2009 1:18:30 AM

Quote:
True or False:

If I go with an active Power Factor Correction enabled power supply, like for instance the Corsair 650TX mentioned above, and plug it into a modest APC surge protection power bar, I will be well protected and need not fear irregular power (either dips or spikes).

If this method will work (and well) then I wouldn't need a UPS, because I don't need to run my computer during power outages. I'm not worried about saving work, I'm worried about components frying.

A good active PFC PSU plugged into a surge protector should keep you from frying your computer in the event of electrical problems as far as I understand. It will certainly not be any worse than using a UPS. A UPS's sole purpose is to run the computer off of battery power in the event the building loses power. It's mainly used for servers or important workstations to give you enough time to properly shut it down to avoid damages from sudden power loss.
Quote:
As a recovering POS PSU owner, I was able to snag a 750TX for $95 on Amazon (that's with a $10 MIR).

That was a sweet deal my friend. Good find. :) 
August 4, 2009 1:14:29 PM

Well, an on-line topology UPS will basically power the load from the battery and recharge the battery from the line, which guarantees a steady, stable flow of power. The downside is that on-line topology UPSs seem to be hard to find and expensive, and it's a solution that is probably overkill for my situation.

Thanks for the response(s)! No disrespect to kufan (who has been very helpful) but I like to have as many different opinions on a matter as possible, so I'll leave the post up a bit longer. More opinions welcome!
!