Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Should I upgrade my PSU? People telling me I have to :S

Last response: in Components
Share
January 13, 2010 7:18:11 PM

My System:

Asus P6T Mobo
Intel i7 920 (oc: 3.8 ghz 1.2125V )
6 gb ocz 1600 ddr ram (3x 2gb)
EVGA gtx 260 (216 core factory SC)
Cooler Master V8 CPU cooler
Cooler Master HAF 922 Case (stock fans no addional ones)
22x sata dvd-rw
4x WD 640gb HD sata (7200 rpm)
1x 200 gb IDE drive (7200 rpm)

My PSU:

500 watt Antec (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817103940)

I've been running this build for a couple of months now without problems. I got talking with some friends about this system and they told me I needed like 650 watts minimum 750 recommended for this kind of build. I was like I'm running great at 500 watts. So I went to some online calculators and they told me I needed like 450-480 watts, and so I was like maybe I'll be okay. Then I read something about capacitor aging and that I might need more power later on.

So My questions are:

1. How do I know if my computer has enough power? Are there signs to look for to see if its running low? (I can run stuff like prime95 for hours)

2. Is there any program that can tell you how much power your PSU is drawing, or do you need some kind of hardware meter?

3. If I decide to buy a new PSU I would get one good enough so that if i do two video cards later and add extra fans that it could handle all this.

Thanks All!
a b ) Power supply
January 13, 2010 7:31:21 PM

The reason your PC is working fine is due to the PSU actually outputting a bit over 500w. Your friends are right, you need at least a good 650w if you plan on doing any future upgrades. Your GPU alone requires at least a 500w PSU so a future PSU upgrade is beneficial to your system =)

Not sure of any programs that tell you how much power your system is pulling but you can use this calculator just to get an idea of what you need :

http://www.corsair.com/psufinder/default.aspx

My suggestion would be at least a TX650 :

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
m
0
l
a b ) Power supply
January 13, 2010 11:37:25 PM

plug in a wattmeter to the wall. then plug your computer into the watt meter. this will tell you the power draw. Now load up your CPU with prime 95 and your GPU with something GPU intensive. The read the watt meter.
This is 100% accurate and failproof.
The GPU alone does not require 500W. When they do this calculation, they take into account "average" other components. The PCI-e connectors can output only a maximum of 300W anyway and only the 5970 approaches that.
But seriously if you have been running fine and you've loaded up your CPU and GPU at the same time and your computer doesn't lose power and reboot- you are probably fine. Doesn't hurt to check with a Watt meter anyway.
The PSU will not output more than 500W. The best power supplies right now are in the 80-90% efficiency range. Efficiency in this case is power output to the computer divided by power drawn from the wall times 100%. ie, the percent of power actually being able to be used for the computer.

You could also check to see how much power the PSU has on the +12V rail and compare it to the power requirement of the CPU and GPU combined plus a little extra.
m
0
l
Related resources
a c 248 ) Power supply
January 14, 2010 1:48:59 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.

In addition the power supply should be at least 80+ Bronze certified for energy efficiency. There are some models available which have achieved 80+ Silver and 80+ Gold Certifications.

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

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. One example would be the Antec Earthwatts series which is a major improvement over Antec’s older psu’s like the Basiq models.
m
0
l
a c 140 ) Power supply
January 14, 2010 3:02:39 AM

One big mistake people make is judging PSU's by the brand name slapped on them. Very few PSU vendors actually make their PSU's.....they usually carry 4 or 5 lines and quite often, each one of them is made by a different vendor. The Antec Neopower is a mid range PSU. The Earhwatts line is a step up and is comparable to the Corsair TX line. Step up a little further and you hit the corsair HX line....a bit more the Antec Signatiure (SH) series. Seasonic, Enermax, Antec, Corsair all have PSU'
s that garner 10.0 perofrmance ratings on te PSU test sites....but many of them also have other lines that get a 8, a 7 or even a 5.

However, those hi end PSU's are reserved for serious enthusiasts w/ twin video cards and running heavy Overclocks. If ya start to feel the pinch, upgrade to an Antec Earthwatts or Corsair T series. Try this calculator to check your system:

http://www.antec.outervision.com/PSUEngine

With 4 USB and 1 firewire externals, I came up w/ 482 watts (10% capacitor aging) ....a 650 watter would therefore provide enough headroom to give you plenty of voltage stability.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (9.0 performance rating)
http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (8.5 performance rating)*
http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...

* That rating is for the TX-750 not the TX-650.
m
0
l
a b ) Power supply
January 14, 2010 3:33:33 AM

If it works leave it alone.
m
0
l
a b ) Power supply
January 14, 2010 4:01:24 AM

My point is that if he does decide to add a second GPU or anything else that will pull juice he will need to upgrade...
m
0
l
a c 144 ) Power supply
January 14, 2010 4:28:36 AM

Agree with pj. If your system has been running the past few months with no problems, leave it alone. You clearly do not to replace your PSU. Who are you going to believe, your friends or your lying eyes?
m
0
l
January 14, 2010 8:08:13 PM

From the responses I've seen, I think I should be okay with my PSU and setup for now. To be safe, I think I'll down-clock my CPU from 3.8 to 3.6 and cut the CPU voltage to Intel stock. If the PSU becomes a problem in the future with capacitor aging I'll upgrade my PSU. I built my computer so it could be upgraded, so if i buy a new PSU it will support dual video cards because one day I'll go there.

JohnnyLucky said:
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.

In addition the power supply should be at least 80+ Bronze certified for energy efficiency. There are some models available which have achieved 80+ Silver and 80+ Gold Certifications.


My PSU has 3x 12 volt rails that have 17A each, does that mean 17 x 3 = 54 amps from my 12V rails or 40 amps each rail?

Few questions I still have:

1. Capacitor aging? Does this mean that as capacitors get older they become more inefficient and require more power, or something else?

2. What is this 80+ certification and what does it mean to me in terms of buying a new PSU?

3. What PSU should I buy to support my current system with 2x GTX 260s instead of 1x?

Thanks everyone for the replies!
m
0
l
January 14, 2010 9:08:26 PM

enzo matrix is spot on, get yourself one of those watt meters and plug your PC power strip into it and see what you are actually using...

My setup:

Q6600 @ 3.6 GHz
8800GT
6 HDD's
lots of case fans in P182, fan controller etc
X-Fi Gamer Fatality Pro sound card
G19 + G5
and including my old 22" Mitsubishi CRT which draws 105 watts
Technics 530 watt amp (draws only 60 watts and is close to blowing my set of 4 floor standing speakers LOL so count this as 25 watts at normal listening volumes)


All this under load Only Rarely pushes 395 watts total !!!
Can't remember seeing a higher figure - unless boiling my kettle :) 

Never seen it draw more.

I have tested two different watt meters - were accurate to within 10 watts of each other.

In other words my PC's 500watt Seasonic only ever has to supply 265 max roughly.

Get one and check it out maybe.

I wouldn't even bother down grading your OC ;) 
m
0
l
a b ) Power supply
January 15, 2010 12:33:49 AM

In answer to question 1.When capacitors age the ESR (Equivalent Series Resistance) increases. The ESR of a capacitor is like having a resistance in series with the capacitor which reduces the effective value of the capacitor. The ESR of a capacitor increases with time due to the lead termination resistance to the foil of the capacitor increasing due to high pulse currents and the condition of the electrolyte which can leak or chemically change.
Capacitors can also become leaky and lose their capacitance with time.
m
0
l
a c 144 ) Power supply
January 15, 2010 6:06:51 AM

betacase said:
To be safe, I think I'll down-clock my CPU from 3.8 to 3.6 and cut the CPU voltage to Intel stock.

Overclocking will not cause a significant increase in overall system power use.

Case in point:
When I got my Q6600, I was curious to see what overclocking the CPU would do to power consumption. I separated the yellow wires on the CPU power plug and uses a lab calibrated clampon ammeter (borrowed from work) to measure the current going into the motherboard power regulator. Stock speed, I measured 8 amps (96 watts). OC'd to 3.6 GHz, I measured 9.5 amps (114 watts).

I also wouldn't bother downclocking your CPU.
m
0
l
a c 243 ) Power supply
January 15, 2010 10:22:47 AM

betacase said:

My PSU has 3x 12 volt rails that have 17A each, does that mean 17 x 3 = 54 amps

No, 54a x 12v = 648 watts.
On the Neo 500, there's a total of 456 watts available for the 12vrail/rails, or 38 amps combined.
m
0
l
a c 248 ) Power supply
January 15, 2010 10:57:16 AM

^5 +1 what delluser1 said.

People have a tendency to add the amps listed for each +12 volt rail. It doesn't work that way. Typically the total combined amps will be less. The actual amperage is based on the maximum wattage for the +12 volt rails. The maximum wattage is normally listed in the 4th row of information on a power supply data label. The maximum wattage is divided by 12 (volts) to determined the total current (amps) available.

Here is a link to an explanation of the 80 Plus energy efficiency initiative:

http://www.80plus.org/80what.htm

m
0
l
!