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The Power Supply Adventures - We never can tell, can we?

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a b ) Power supply
March 9, 2010 2:59:45 AM

This is a funny and true story that I am still in the middle of at this very moment. I call it “Power Supply Adventures”. It won’t win an Oscar but I think that the people in the know will get a chuckle. 

I've used cheap, generic PSUs all my computing life, well all my PC life anyway. I never looked at the wattage ratings. Hell, I often had a 200W PSU running things. I had a 250W PSU fail on me after it ran my GeForce 8500 GT for 6 months...lol I went and got another 250W PSU for like $20CAD and the thing never died...lol My experience with PCs goes back 22 years. My first PC was the IBM PC in 1984.

NOW it gets good (and funny). I worked at tigerdirect.ca until last August because I moved to Quebec to go to University. I wanted a SOLID system so that it wouldn't be completely useless when I finally graduated Law School. As is ALWAYS the case with me since the age of 12 when I did my first PC build (a successful 286-16 venture)…
I built my current rig. Here's the specs:

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 940
Mobo: MSI K9A2 Platinum
HD: Seagate 1TB 7200.11
RAM:8GB OCZ Reaper PC6400 DDR2-800MHz
VidCard: XFX Radeon 4870 1GB ATi Reference Design
Optical 1 - LITE-ON 22X IDE DVD-RW
Optical 2 - LG 20X IDE DVD-RW

Knowing that I would eventually add more Radeon cards and having learned that it's actually dangerous to use cheap PSUs, I picked up an OCZ GameXStream 1010W PSU. God, are they ever nice! Black with blue LED and blessed with power to spare! Even better, it's an OCZ factory-recertified with the full OCZ 3-year warranty so it listed for only $165CAD/$155USD. With employee discount I think I paid only $112CAD/$93USD, far less than the cost of those god-awful Ultra X2's and X4's. We didn't stock them so I had to put them on order. Now, I didn't abandon my usual practice of never buying a case without a PSU in it because I like having spare parts. Sometimes I need it, sometimes someone else does. The case came with a TOTALLY GENERIC 450W PSU. All this thing says is “ATX SWITCHING POWER SUPPLY” in black letters on a plain white label with the output ratings below. Just for fun, I wanted to see what it could do so I let it run my HD 4870 for a while. It handled it alright and remained stable (but I wasn't gaming). After about 30 minutes the air coming out of it was getting too warm for my liking so I pulled out the 4870 and put the 8500 GT back in. Well I now find myself in that position 8 months later because... Yep, the GameXStream failed. The ONE time I spend any real money on a power supply and get one with a 4-digit wattage rating and 80A on the 4 +12V rails, it dies on me... It's like, of course right? Well my belief in only buying cases with PSUs paid off because I had to pull the 450W out of my old archive computer and I put it in the big rig because the 790FX chipset has no on-board video so I needed the 450W there. Pulled out my HD 4870 with a heavy heart and installed the 9800 GT. I had a brand-new, unused 285W PSU in my storage room that came with a case I once bought and installed it in my archive machine. (Celeron D with a VIA/S3 Unichrome IGP, it MIGHT pull 100W total…lol)

Now the other reason I got the GameXStream is because I had long known about OCZ's legendary customer service from working at tigerdirect. It really is fantastic and every bit as good as Corsair’s. Well I did up the RMA, packed up the GXS and I received an email from OCZ informing me that they were sorry but they no longer made the GameXStream 1010W so they would have to substitute something else as a replacement. I thought "Oh they’ll probably give me a ModXStream 1000W or something." I was puzzled as I read because I didn't see any part numbers I recognized. They said I'd be receiving part# OCZZ1000M. Well I looked it up, and almost had a heart attack. It's the OCZ Z-Series 1000W 80 Plus Gold certified PSU that costs $300CAD/$250USD. I swear it gets more surreal by the day...lol

You never can tell if something's going to be good or not just by reading the specs. Thank god for sites like tomshardware where we can cut past the marketing BS and just get the straight story! :sol:  :hello: 
March 9, 2010 3:19:18 AM

Reminds me of the time when my 10GB Maxtor 5400RPM died and when i sent it back (under warranty) they said they did not manufacture that model any more so they send me back a 20GB 7200RPM with a bigger cache! It also took 5 days and they delivered with courier to my door! Bloody amazing service!
a b ) Power supply
March 9, 2010 3:24:05 AM

Yeah, you gotta love it eh? I didn't do quite THAT well, I had to pay the $12 to ship it to them...lol I just used Canada Post Priority Courier 2-Day service. Jesus, 2-day service from FedEx or *gasp!* UPS was $35-$50! THAT good they're not! LOL
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a c 144 ) Power supply
March 9, 2010 1:37:52 PM

Your experiences are not unusual. Unfortunately, I haven't had the same experience. I've just never needed to return parts on any computer I have built.

Avro, I noticed that you have a 7200.11 Seagate hard drive. The larger .11 drives have been plagued with firmware problems that tend to turn the drive into a brick. Make sure you maintain backups, especially if you are going to use this computer for schoolwork.

Google "7200.11 problems".

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March 9, 2010 1:42:14 PM
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I love it when things like that happen! Reminds me of a time when I bought a PC off ebay with a Q6600 and 4GB RAM, 8800GTX only to find that it had a motherboard that I couldn't get to overclock.

After a month or so I ended up buying an ASUS P5N-T Deluxe (cost me around £150) motherboard to overclock my Q6600 and run Tri-SLi, never got round to getting a third or even second 8800GTX for that matter so sold it on ebay after 11 months. It went for about £65.

However a few days after I sent it out I received an email that the buyer couldn't get it to post. After being convinced that they knew what they were talking about I contacted ebuyer (UK Online PC shop) to see if I could get a replacement under warranty. They told me to RMA it as it was still within it's 12 month warranty.

Once they received it they told me that it was indeed faulty but they no longer stocked the item so offered me a full refund at the price that I bought it for :D 

So in the end I refunded the ebay person plus a little extra for the inconvenience and bought a new motherboard and still had change left over. Good times!
a b ) Power supply
March 9, 2010 5:32:11 PM

jsc said:
Your experiences are not unusual. Unfortunately, I haven't had the same experience. I've just never needed to return parts on any computer I have built.

Avro, I noticed that you have a 7200.11 Seagate hard drive. The larger .11 drives have been plagued with firmware problems that tend to turn the drive into a brick. Make sure you maintain backups, especially if you are going to use this computer for schoolwork.

Google "7200.11 problems".


Yes I know that. I've already had to send my hard drive to Seagate to get the firmware flashed...lol

It was only the drives that had a firmware number starting with SD. I used to work at tigerdirect.ca and I knew all about it. In THAT situation, Seagate let me print out one of their UPS labels and I just had to drop the thing off at the UPS store. I had it back and working in a week. All that happens is that your computer stops being able to see the drive. You don't lose any data or anything. :sol: 
a b ) Power supply
March 9, 2010 5:35:02 PM

clinomaniac said:
I love it when things like that happen! Reminds me of a time when I bought a PC off ebay with a Q6600 and 4GB RAM, 8800GTX only to find that it had a motherboard that I couldn't get to overclock.

After a month or so I ended up buying an ASUS P5N-T Deluxe (cost me around £150) motherboard to overclock my Q6600 and run Tri-SLi, never got round to getting a third or even second 8800GTX for that matter so sold it on ebay after 11 months. It went for about £65.

However a few days after I sent it out I received an email that the buyer couldn't get it to post. After being convinced that they knew what they were talking about I contacted ebuyer (UK Online PC shop) to see if I could get a replacement under warranty. They told me to RMA it as it was still within it's 12 month warranty.

Once they received it they told me that it was indeed faulty but they no longer stocked the item so offered me a full refund at the price that I bought it for :D 

So in the end I refunded the ebay person plus a little extra for the inconvenience and bought a new motherboard and still had change left over. Good times!


Yeah it's a pain in the a$$ but in the end, when you're taken care of, you feel something for that company that is golden. Trust. I have 8GB of OCZ Reaper RAM as well so I TRUST that if anything ever happens, I'm covered. I can never say anything bad about OCZ because when something went wrong, they not only took care of it, they went the extra mile. :sol: 
a c 248 ) Power supply
March 9, 2010 5:39:50 PM

I am not at all surprised by what happened. The quality of OCZ power supplies is inconsistent. That's why I never recommend them.
a b ) Power supply
March 9, 2010 6:12:16 PM

hey the z series is decent well as far as ocz goes
a b ) Power supply
March 9, 2010 6:41:06 PM

Well here's to hoping that they got it right this time. HardOCP called the Z-Series "the greatest OCZ product we've ever tested" and they said it would have gotten one of their silver medals if it wasn't so damn expensive! LOL

http://www.hardocp.com/article/2009/10/08/ocz_z_series_...

Man, it is so nice to be in a forum where people have brains. I'm usually in Yahoo! Answers helping people with their computer problems. It's fun but eventually questions like "Where can I get an adapter to put an Intel CPU on an AM3 motherboard?" make me want to chew on some grade 8 bolts. :pt1cable: 

I would have liked to quote a tomshardware PSU review of the OCZZ1000M but there weren't any. :sol: 
a b ) Power supply
March 9, 2010 7:09:57 PM

I'd be careful about which OCZ PSUs I'd buy. The Fatal1ty series are pretty good. I'd recommend them to anyone.
a b ) Power supply
March 9, 2010 8:08:04 PM

aford10 said:
I'd be careful about which OCZ PSUs I'd buy. The Fatal1ty series are pretty good. I'd recommend them to anyone.


Dude, I'm getting an OCZ Z-Series 80 plus-Gold Certified 1000W PSU for FREE. What care should I take, ask them for a Corsair instead? :sol: 
a b ) Power supply
March 9, 2010 8:17:36 PM

Avro Arrow said:
Dude, I'm getting an OCZ Z-Series 80 plus-Gold Certified 1000W PSU for FREE. What care should I take, ask them for a Corsair instead? lol


My comment was more in reference to JohnnyLucky. The OCZ ModXstream and StealthXstream are a little iffy. The Z series is expensive, but nice. The Fatal1ty series is a little better priced, and still good quality.
a b ) Power supply
March 10, 2010 12:25:00 AM

aford10 said:
My comment was more in reference to JohnnyLucky. The OCZ ModXstream and StealthXstream are a little iffy. The Z series is expensive, but nice. The Fatal1ty series is a little better priced, and still good quality.


You know, I've been finding out lately that MOST power supplies are not very reliable. I had thought that after buying PC Power and Cooling that OCZ would suddenly get better. Aside from the Z-Series and the Fatal1ty, it seems like it hasn't happened. :sol: 
March 10, 2010 3:30:02 AM

speaking of PSU's, i ordered a Corsair 450w for my HTPC, much to my dismay it had a really annoying buzzing sound so i have to send it back

in the meantime i ordered an antec earthwatts green 500w, i think when i get the Corsair back i will keep it in storage just in case
a c 248 ) Power supply
March 10, 2010 4:54:38 AM

PC Power & Cooling never manufactured any power supplies. Their Silencer models were made for them by Seasonic. That's why they were excellent psu's. The Turbo-Cool models were made for them by Win-Tact.

OCZ never manufactured any power supplies either. Their psu's were manufactured for them by Channel Well, Topower, Sirtec, FSP Group, 3Y Power, and Impervio. The Z1000m and the Z850m are currently currently manufactured for OCZ by Sirtec. The lower wattage Z models are manufactured by FSP group.

AvroArrow - You have the OCZ models and reviews mixed up. The Hardocp review you linked to was a review of the Z850M. That's the same model jonnyguru.com also reviewed. When the psu was opened for examination jonnyguru found loose atx connections. Actual performance

Two technical reviews of the Z1000m revealed some problems during testing at load. The units did not maintain their efficiency. The +3.3 volt voltage output and stability dropped below the minimum allowed. The -12 volt noise level was a above the maximum allowed. That why Hardware Secrets could not recommend the z1000m.
a b ) Power supply
March 10, 2010 10:50:41 AM

JohnnyLucky said:
PC Power & Cooling never manufactured any power supplies. Their Silencer models were made for them by Seasonic. That's why they were excellent psu's. The Turbo-Cool models were made for them by Win-Tact.

OCZ never manufactured any power supplies either. Their psu's were manufactured for them by Channel Well, Topower, Sirtec, FSP Group, 3Y Power, and Impervio. The Z1000m and the Z850m are currently currently manufactured for OCZ by Sirtec. The lower wattage Z models are manufactured by FSP group.

AvroArrow - You have the OCZ models and reviews mixed up. The Hardocp review you linked to was a review of the Z850M. That's the same model jonnyguru.com also reviewed. When the psu was opened for examination jonnyguru found loose atx connections. Actual performance

Two technical reviews of the Z1000m revealed some problems during testing at load. The units did not maintain their efficiency. The +3.3 volt voltage output and stability dropped below the minimum allowed. The -12 volt noise level was a above the maximum allowed. That why Hardware Secrets could not recommend the z1000m.


Yes, I had gotten it mixed up because I've read so many reviews on the thing. I know it's not perfect but it's free and I'm not going to be actually running it that hard. And yeah I know about Seasonic too. What I meant was I thought that OCZ would start using the same ones. When I got this PSU I got it because it was the best I could afford at the time. I REALLY wanted a Corsair but it was extra money that I didn't have. Believe me, I drooled over the Corsair and was forced to settle. Because I'd had so many cheap generics in my life that lasted for years with no problem, I certainly didn't expect this one to have problems. Oh well, I have what I have and regardless of what came up, every review said it at least came CLOSE to the gold level so it's an improvement over what I had in any event.

And at the end of the day, I'm being taken care of. My PSU just arrived at OCZ today. :sol: 
a b ) Power supply
March 10, 2010 1:19:45 PM

lol the best psu in my house is an ultra 550w modular. but i built a copmuter for someone, and i used a codegon either 250 or 300 and it still works after 4 month...its an athlon xp 1.2ghz, 1 gb sdram, 2 odd, 40gb 5400 hdd, and a sapphire radeon 3850 agp. shrug...
they never really stress it anyway so maybe thats why it still works... however, according to the outervision extreme psu calc it has enough wattage...

but the shiny used awesome-looking ultra psu squeaks-SUPER ANNOYING. i also usually use cheap generic used underwatted psus for evrything, and i have never had one die on me!!!
a b ) Power supply
March 10, 2010 1:19:45 PM

lol the best psu in my house is an ultra 550w modular. but i built a copmuter for someone, and i used a codegon either 250 or 300 and it still works after 4 month...its an athlon xp 1.2ghz, 1 gb sdram, 2 odd, 40gb 5400 hdd, and a sapphire radeon 3850 agp. shrug...
they never really stress it anyway so maybe thats why it still works... however, according to the outervision extreme psu calc it has enough wattage...

but the shiny used awesome-looking ultra psu squeaks-SUPER ANNOYING. i also usually use cheap generic used underwatted psus for evrything, and i have never had one die on me!!!
a b ) Power supply
March 10, 2010 2:07:05 PM

Umm, I think 1 post would've sufficed.
a b ) Power supply
March 10, 2010 2:23:48 PM

Sorry it was an accident!!! Lol
March 10, 2010 2:28:21 PM

nah he needs to drive the point home (or have tab back and it tab baked to post 2 extra times, i did that b4)

on this point, the z-series seems to be their high end series with MASSIVELY overspecced parts looking at the tear down and review

with some primary rectifying bridges that is specced for 4800 w opeation....... X.x

"The +12 V rail is also used by the +5 V and +3.3 V rails as well; if all power was pulled from the +12 V rail alone, we are talking about a maximum theoretical current of 400 A or 4,800 W at 100º C. Holy moly!"

Yeah... they out did them selves on the z-series here.

read the full thing:
http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/942/1

it, like many other well build items were able to stress the equipment the testers had, and they had to do a crossload test on it to get the 1000w and the 12 v actually held lol


granted, a HX1000w didn't fail the crossloaded tests, but that sucker is not 80+ gold and is based on an older design of two psu rather than this single psu design (which could be speculated as to why it is less efficient and better performing).
a b ) Power supply
March 10, 2010 2:43:24 PM

There...i deleted the extras!!!!
Delluser1 usually bugs me about the edit button so i finally tried it out. Yayyyyyyyyyyy!!!! Lol
a b ) Power supply
March 10, 2010 3:03:20 PM

:lol:  I still see 2
a b ) Power supply
March 10, 2010 3:26:46 PM

ULTRA?! OMG!!! Remember, I worked at tigerdirect I KNOW Ultra! (ick!) Here's a little snippet from HardOCP concerning the Ultra X2 Extreme 750W:

Ultra X2 Extreme Edition 750w Power Supply

Ultra hits rock bottom with a 750 watt PSU that claims NVIDIA SLI certification. Make a note to stay as far away from this flaming hunk of crap as you possibly can. If not, we highly suggest you make sure and have a fire extinguisher handy.

Whole story here:

http://www.hardocp.com/article/2008/02/06/ultra_x2_extr...


When I read this, I was in stitches! :sol: 

a c 243 ) Power supply
March 10, 2010 3:28:22 PM

shovenose said:

Delluser1 usually bugs me about the edit button so i finally tried it out. Yayyyyyyyyyyy!!!! Lol

That was when you first showed up and were making 3 or 4 new posts in a row in the same thread , I've pretty much ignored you since then, except for your motherboard issue.
a b ) Power supply
March 10, 2010 3:39:04 PM

aford10 said:
:lol:  I still see 2


Yeah so do I. I wouldn't worry about it... :sol: 
a b ) Power supply
March 10, 2010 6:50:43 PM

Oh well

@delluser1: sorry that i made that statement its true uve pretty much left me alo e
a b ) Power supply
March 13, 2010 8:40:59 AM

Best answer selected by Avro Arrow.
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