I'm planning a new build in 6 months or so to replace my dated Athlon 3200+ based machine, and have some questions. Most of the PSU's I'm looking at are 80+ Bronze and SLI certified (Antec, CoolerMaster, and maybe Thermaltake are what I've been looking for mainly), but I don't see many at all that are both SLI AND CrossfireX ready/certified.
Is the "CrossfireX ready" label really that big a deal? Due to budget constraints, my build will almost certainly be AMD/ATI based for CPU/GPU. And while I plan spend my money on a better single card up front, I'd like to be ready for Crossfire to extend the usable life of my platform.
My tentative plan calls for a PII 965, ASUS Crosshair IV, and something along the lines of a single HD 5850 in an HAF 932 case. But as I said, I want to be ready to drop in a second 5850 sometime down the road when more horsepower is needed. For this same reason (to keep as much of this build re-usable for as long as possible), I'm looking at 1kW PSU's (knowing quite well this is overkill).
So lo-and-behold, New Egg has a combo up for my HAF 932 and this CoolerMaster Silent Pro M1000 supply: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168.... It's a 1kW, modular supply with a single 80A 12V rail, plenty of plugs, and 80+ Bronze and SLI cert. It's from a quality brand, but I'm a bit concerned about the lack of CrossfireX cert. Normal price for this supply alone is over $200, but they've got this supply AND the HAF 932 for only $255. It's a heck of a deal, but given my intention to eventually use CrossfireX would you recommend it?
I guess I'm unsure as to exactly what "SLI ready" and "CrossfireX ready" really mean. I would think any swithing PS from a quality vendor with a modern PFC controller, reasonable regulation and ripple specs, and the usual OCP, OVP, etc. would do the trick. I've heard both protocols "prefer" single 12V rails as well (much to Antec's consternation), but this unit has that covered too. Are these "SLI/Crossfire ready" terms just marketing gimmics as I suspect, or is there something else going on that I'm missing?
Any clarification you folks might be able to lend would be greatly appreciated. Thanks a lot!
Well, I kept on looking, and think I may have answered my own question (googled kicked back an older Toms article, ironically). Sounds like it's a combination of marketing games, which company (Nvidia or ATI) the PS vendor was cozy with at the time, and whether the PSU has 8-pin or 6-pin PCIe connectors.
Also may mean that either ATI or Nvidia, depending on the label, may have tested and blessed the PS at one point or another. But a lack of certification shouldn't mean it won't work. I also read an interesting comment from someone who suspected that the contracts between Nvidia/ATI and the PS supplier specifically state that if you want certification from "us," you can't go and get certification from "them" as well - it's one or the other only.
Does that sound about right? Anyone else want to pitch in, or comment on my Newegg find? Here's a link to the combo deal itself in case anyone's interested: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite.... They have several other combo deals with this case and other sized CM PSU's from this same family as well if 1000W is more than you want.
Funny you mention the words 'budget constraint' coz your hardware selection speaks otherwise.. Anyway, you do not require a 1KW PSU to power two or even three 5850's.. Get yourself a nice Corsair HX 750 and you'll be good.. Also, no point getting the Phenom II 965 when for a little extra you can get the X6 1055T or for a little saving, you can get the 955.. They all perform the same when it comes to gaming.. Also, be sure about your multi gpu selection as crossfire does not tends to run efficiently for a two card setup when compared to SLI..
Anyway, you do not require a 1KW PSU to power two or even three 5850's.. Get yourself a nice Corsair HX 750 and you'll be good..
Is your objection to the CM based on the brand, or the output power (or both?) I recognize that Corsair is probably the best quality PSU out there, but thought that CoolerMaster and Antec were both pretty high quality as well. As for the 1kW figure, I didn't really choose it specifically to be able to power THIS system (I've used a few different calculators already, and know this is overkill even for 2 5850's), but more as future-proofing. I'd rather spend a tad more now on a beefier supply that will be overkill now, but will be sufficient for my next build 2, 3, 4, etc. years down the road so that I don't have to spend another $100-200 on a power supply then. Of course I run the risk of changes to the ATX standard rendering this PS obsolete before then (such as the 20 to 24 pin change a few years back), but still... The Antec 430W PSU I'm using right now was ridiculous when I got it back in 2002, but look how long it's lasted for me.
I guess my technology refresh schedule is a bit longer than most people - I tend to go 4-5 years or so between new builds (with some minor upgrades along the way sometimes). This was also the reasoning behind my crosshair IV choice - I'm looking for something with SATA 3 and USB 3.0 support (not because I need to make use of them now, but so that I'm ready to use them when devices start supporting them and it becomes the standard) , as well as enough PCIe lanes to run a pair of GPU's at 16x each.
For AMD-based builds, that pretty much means an 890 chipset with no onboard graphics. Only the crosshair, and the Gigabyte and MSI 890 boards meet those requirements that I know of.
I guess I should also back up and clarify that my AMD choice was not necessarily due to "budget constraints" so much as it was for AMD's "price per performance" figures. And if you choose AMD, you're also somewhat forced to go ATI vs. NV.
Also, no point getting the Phenom II 965 when for a little extra you can get the X6 1055T or for a little saving, you can get the 955.. They all perform the same when it comes to gaming..
Most of the benchmarks I've seen show the 965 just barely edging out the 1055 (and 1090 for that matter) with today's games. This seems to be because of the 965's (slightly) higher clock speed, and the inability of today's games to make use of 6 cores. Looking to the future, I suppose it might make more sense to go 6-core in preparation for tomorrow's games that will (?) utilize more threads. I understand the argument for the 955 too. But even if they are the same processor binned differently, there's a part of me that says the "higher quality" processor is worth the extra $10... I go back and forth on that one (it seems to be a popular topic for debate on here as well).
Also, be sure about your multi gpu selection as crossfire does not tends to run efficiently for a two card setup when compared to SLI..
This doesn't concern me as much as AMD and ATI's reputation for poor quality drivers. Last thing I want to do is pour $1200 into a new build only to spend the next 5 years fighting with buggy drivers. I think my (tentative) MB, CPU, and GPU selections to this point are fairly well established, mainstream components though. So I'm hoping most of the bugs have been worked out of them already
Thanks again for your input. I'd welcome any more comments from my response as well.
1. I did not lay any objections.. It was just a suggestion that you wont be needing so much power right away.. If you've your future plans well laid out then no compelling reasons to not go for high wattage ratings which comfort your calculations.. CoolerMaster is not a bad PSU maker as suggested by reviews on their UCP and silent pro series.. They are just not as good as Corsair and hence my recommendation..
2. The doubt over the CPU has been well handled by you i guess so no comments on that..
3. I personally avoid SLI vs crossfire by always opting for a single more powerful card.. No compelling reasons that you should too.. And yeah, its more a driver problem then hardware with ATI cards so i guess it can be expected to improve with time..
1. Gotcha. I like the looks of the Corsair TX950 too (and I think JonnyGuru is STILL drolling over that HX1000, but that's got quite a price tag). But the CM is a real steal at this price, and it's modular as well... The HX750 is modular too though, isn't it? On the other hand I don't think I'd have a problem hiding the TX950's permanent cables in an HAF 932.
2. The debate rages on. There's also Bulldozer coming soon... I'm thinking my best option may be to go with the 955 or 965 for now, and upgrade to Bulldozer later on if/when the additional cores begin to be better utilized.
3. I agree - I feel my money is best spent initially on the best single card my budget allows. Personally, I'm only considering crossfire (or SLI for that matter) as an upgrade path. I figure in 2, 3, or 4 years when whatever card I choose starts to show its age, buying a second card of the same model (at a fraction of my original purchase price) for crossfire will be a much cheaper way to double (well, more like add 60-70% to...) my GPU performance than buying a new single card.