Well my antec 500W power supply is on the verge of death and needs to be replaced. I need you advice on a new psu. Here are my system specs:
Core 2 Duo E6600@2.4ghz
2 SATA HDD (500GB) RAID 0
DVD R/W Drive
I was thinking I need at least a 550W. I also know that a lot of power supplies out there are junk and I should stick with well known brands like corsair, thermaltake, etc. I am using an antec p180 case so it needs to fit in that. What would you guys recommend? I know newegg has a corsair 550W for ~$70 shipped but was just wondering if there was any decent brand cheaper ones out there.
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 and Seasonic are two 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.
A lot of people think that adding mutiple +12 volt rails will equal the actual combined total. Doing that could sort of serve as a very loose general rule thumb. The actual combined total will vary and is usually less. Sometimes it is a lot less in low budget models. Sometimes it is higher in a high quailty psu.
The correct way to calculate the combined current (amps) is to take the combined maximum wattage of the +12 volt rails and divide by 12 volts. According to the data label on that OCZ psu the combined maximum wattage on the +12 volt rails is 450 watts. Dividing that by 12 volts results in a combined total of 37.5 amps. That is actually very good for a 500 to 550 watt power supply.
I should point out something else about multiple 12 volt rails. The vast majority of power supplies advertised as having mutiple +12 volt rails do not have true separate rails. Think of them as "virtual rails". It was an advertising gimmick the marketing types dreamed up. There was a big stink about it a few years ago. There are a few psu's that actually do have true seperate rails. Almost all of them are high end, high wattage psu's designed for overclocked systems with three or four video cards operating in tri or quad modes.
I checked several technical references. The OCZ power supply is quite adequate for middle level gaming.