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Explain PS connectors please

Last response: in Components
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November 23, 2009 12:19:17 AM

Is there a good website that explains all the power supply connectors that a modern ATX system uses/needs?

I am in the process of looking for a PS. I want to build an i7 system here in the next 3-4 months. I have an old Antec full tower ATX case I can use from a build I did about 8yrs ago and the power supply position is up top if that matters. I'm thinking I should probably go with about a 700w PS from what I'm reading, but not totally sure yet. My build will be an un-OC'd dependable workstation for Rhino, AutoCAD, and CS4 Suite. Two monitors for starters.

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a b ) Power supply
November 23, 2009 12:36:54 AM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATX
^Covers pretty much everything you need to know about ATX PSU's.


A good quality 700 watts PSU will run just about anything you can throw at it outside of CrossFire/SLI the high end GPU's.
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November 23, 2009 1:13:59 AM

Ok that explains some things. But when I look at specs listed at Newegg or such I see some have 24pin mains or other have 20-4 mains. So it looks like I should probably not buy one until I have the Motherboard. I'm not able right now to buy everything and I was thinking if a good deal came up, to snatch it. But maybe not...
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a b ) Power supply
November 23, 2009 1:28:36 AM

24 pin or 20+4 pin will suffice for any motherboard requiring a 24 pin power connector which is most motherboards. Only really low end crappy motherboards use 20 pin.
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a c 144 ) Power supply
November 23, 2009 6:24:14 AM

TheViper said:
Only really low end crappy motherboards use 20 pin.

Or really obsolete high end boards. :) 

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November 23, 2009 8:13:38 AM

That helps. So I could keep my eye out for a good deal on a power supply as long as I make sure it has the 24 pin main. I kind of want to piece my new build together with deals.
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Best solution

a c 248 ) Power supply
November 23, 2009 11:09:17 AM

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 power a system with any single video card made. A high quality 700 to 750 watt power supply with sufficient current (amps) on the 12 volt rail(s) can power a system with two video cards operating in dual mode. There are a few exceptions like the new ATI Radeon HD 5XXX series cards which use less power due to their energy efficiency.

A high quality 500 to 550 watt psu will have a +12 volt rail rated at 40 amps. A high quality 700 to 750 watt psu will have a +12 volt rail rated at 60 amps.

Before purchasing a new psu you will need to decide whether you will eventually have a pc with one or two video cards.

Modern power supplies come with a 20+4 pin motherboard power connector which can be used as either a 20 pin connection or a 24 pin connection. The manufacturers have it covered both ways.

Corsair, PC Power & Cooling, and Seasonic are some of the brands that have a reputation for high quality power supplies that consistently earn high marks in technical reviews. They are reliable, stable, and come with a 5 year warranty. Some of the newer models come with a 7 year warranty. Lately we've been seeing a few other brands offering some high quality units. An example would be the Antec Earthwatts series which is an improvement over Antec’s older series psu’s.

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November 23, 2009 2:29:59 PM

So I need to decide if I will need two video cards. I am building a PC that I will use at home for AutoCAD and 3D modeling and the CS4 Suite. I want to have two monitors. I've not researched yet how I will setup those two monitors. At work we only have one monitor for these programs.

But If I just get a good 750w unit to start with I'd be covered it sounds like.
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a c 248 ) Power supply
November 23, 2009 3:25:38 PM

You do not need two video cards for AutoCAD, 3D modeling, or the CS4 Suite. We've had posts in the past about pc requirements for the software programs you use.

Connecting two monitors to a single video card is not a problem. Modern video cards come with the necessary connections. Some cards like the new ATI Radeon HD 5000 series have the necessary connections for three monitors.

Yes, a high quality 700 to 750 watt power supply could be considered as future proofing but it is not necessary for what you will be doing. The software you will be using is cpu intensive rather than video card intensive.
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a c 248 ) Power supply
November 23, 2009 6:07:25 PM

NO! Must be a misunderstanding. The Antec Earthwatts EA650 is an excellent power supply. Like other modern power supplies it has a 20+4 pin motherboard power cable that can be used as either a 20 pin or 24 pin connection. The manufacturers gave users a convenient option. Older motherboards required a 20 pin connection. Modern motherboards require a 24 pin connection. The manufacturers make modern power supplies that can be connected either way. It is a matter of convenience.
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November 23, 2009 7:07:05 PM

I was misunderstanding. I think I might pick that supply up for my build, since I need one. And it seems like a good discount. Don't see myself ever getting two gpu's. Thanks again!
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a b ) Power supply
November 23, 2009 7:24:07 PM

Antec's Earthwatts series is currently made by Seasonic themselves. They are the king of PSU's - making their own line, Corsair's and PC Power & Cooling's. All which come heavily recommended.

Any PSU from those 3 and the Antec Earthwatts line can be trusted as high quality.

I also confer with all 3 of Johnny's posts.
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a c 243 ) Power supply
November 23, 2009 7:59:24 PM

The current Earthwatts series are all Delta built units, not that it takes anything away from them.
The 380, 430 and 500 were previously Seasonic built, the 650 never was.
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a b ) Power supply
November 23, 2009 8:28:36 PM

delluser1 said:
The current Earthwatts series are all Delta built units, not that it takes anything away from them.
The 380, 430 and 500 were previously Seasonic built, the 650 never was.

I was just coming in here to note that after I read more from Antec but I see you've beaten me to it.
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November 23, 2009 11:36:54 PM

Thanks to everyone for you help. I'm sure this supply will be at least as good or better than any pre-built system like a Dell or HP.

And I do understand PS connectors better now. I've been away from building for quite sometime. Things change and I've forgotten so much.
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!