Typically a psu starting to go bad the pc has random reboots and starts up for a few seconds then restarts repeatedly or won't start at all. PSU's loose efficiency over time - puts out less maximum dc voltage amps available, but a well built psu may not have an issue unless used near the max (gaming) for the years used. Adding a high power graphics card and overclocking the cpu demand more of the psu. If your pc is working ok then no need to replace it. You could get a watts meter to show your pc's total watts used which would tell you how much of the psu watts you are using (test with a demanding game or a test benchmark). 500W+ means using 80% (heavy usage), 350W (good usage). Using 20% to 60% of a psu's rated watts is good, not heavy usage of it and not underpowering it either.
Really? if i remember JSC, you were in another post that asked "what happens when a PSU dies?" dunno maybe it was someone else :S The experience with my PSU was that it was a suicide bomber. Took everything out in my vintage P4 rig. (Ofcourse it was a cheapo 300W Chinese junkbox)
I own a Thermaltake TR2 420W PSU been in service for 6 years and the ^600W^ for 4 years.
Hmmmm, what dya mean by "die quietly, in their sleep "?
@Orac - i'll go look for that kill-a-watt meter or is it referred to another name?
Power supplies last forever unless something goes wrong but there are 2 issues:
1. It just plain dies and nothing works.
2. Due to capacitor aging over time, it can supply less power. This will only be relevant if are already running your PSU close to the max power it can output.
Back in high school, my library had just moved up to brand new machines. The science lab had an old windows 95 computer running RD-RAM and a CPU so old it ran with a small heatsink and no fan. It was socket though, not slot. The power supply still worked fine. So did the hard drive actually. A 600mb drive, if I remember correctly. Well, everything in it still worked fine.
i replace every 2 years.. but then again i also replace surge protectors every 12 months and just give the old ones away.
of coarse i live in florida where we get really rain and thunder 5 days a week so you kinda have to if you want your electronics to stay in good shape. basically depends on where you lie and how dirty/spike prone your electricity is
as long as you have a ups it should be fine, that should clean the current and cause less stress to your powersupply so it should last a while. so i don't see any reason to quit using /pass it down.. i'm just one of those uber safe types who would use 4x4 lumber to build a birdhouse frame
I had a 486 (11mhz with 33mhz turbo) for 10 years and the psu was never changed and the thing did not stop working, just got rid of it after the Y2K thing for a 700mhz K7 amd. If you don't abuse computer parts and they are good quality, they will alst a long time.
@ G00fySmiley - I live in Bangladesh , look it up on the Atlas , we have blackouts every 3-4hrs after sunset. Daytime we see hourly blackouts.
Because of this, and because you have a reason to sell/give away your old PSU (for your brother's rig), then I would get a new PSU. I would attempt to find one that is at least 90% efficient. I dunno much about PSUs in the regard though, so it might be more difficult to find.