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How to tell if a power supply is compatible with my motherboard

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  • Power Supplies
  • Motherboards
  • Components
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August 1, 2010 8:56:18 PM

Hello everyone, I'm in the market to upgrade my PC to play SC2 at ultra settings and was about to buy a Radeon 5770 until I found out my power supply is complete crap with only 300 watts of juice. I was going to downgrade to less powerful graphics card until I discovered that there is no decent card out that that runs on anything less than 400 watts.

I have no idea what type of motherboard I have. But the computer itself was made my Lenovo. It is a Think Centre A63 with these specs.

Processor:AMD Athlon II 2.9 GHz 'tri-core' processor (it's a quad with one of the cores disabled by Intel for some reason)

RAM: 2GB DDR3

Video-Card: none/built-in ; PCI-express slot

The power supply unit is a LiteOn PS-5281-7VR with only 300 Watts of power.

Is there anyway I can tell whether or not a power supply can be compatible to my motherboard?

I'm in the market for around a 450 Watt power supply because I figure if I'm going to upgrade my power supply I mine as well go all out with the graphics card.

I'm a pretty frugal buyer and I was wondering if it would be wise to keep scouring the internet until I found a really cheap power supply to get me the watts I need. I figure watts are watts and namebrands don't really mean anything.

More about : power supply compatible motherboard

a b ) Power supply
a c 435 V Motherboard
August 1, 2010 9:00:15 PM

Try to find an antec, seasonic, pc power and cooling, ocz, enermax, or corsair. Some of the other brands are pure junk. Newegg has some good deals after rebate. They have an email promo: antec 400w with 120mm fan and 30 amps on the 12v rail for $29.99 with email promo code. Sorry I can't post a link.
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Best solution

August 1, 2010 10:46:06 PM

To solve your first problem - there are two quick ways you can find out the brand of motherboard. You can open up your PC and look for the title. Mine is printed sideways next to my RAM and CPU case when the motherboard is mounted in my case. You can also download the cpu-z program. This will tell you all sorts of useful information including the model of your motherboard.

I'm a frugal buyer too, but sometimes you want to go with name-brand items, especially power supplies. For instance, I just replaced a Viotek PSU rated for 450W ($20 retail). However, video cards run off the 12V rail, so you want to pay attention to the amperage and voltage. My old PSU had 22A on the 12V rail. Since the voltage is constant, 12V*22A = 264W. The power rating is so high because the other voltage rails offer more amperage and more wattage. Plus, I have no idea whether or not the PSU is efficient.

When choosing a PSU base it on brand and efficiency. I was surfing this site earlier today and found it very useful: www.hardocp.com . It tests all sorts of PSUs at standard testing conditions (the ones that gave them the ratings) and then "real-life" scenarios (ala sticking it in an oven at 45 C). Guess what? The brand names perform and the bargain buys do not. A bargain PSU is good for, say, office computers. A gaming computer (running SC2 ultra, no less) needs something more powerful.

I suggest going to the web site of your video card and looking up their recommendations. Pay close attention to required amperage and wattage for the 12V rail. You can also use a PSU calculator to get a general idea of how much energy you need, but realize they have limited accuracy and don't account for every element in your PC.

Once you have an idea of how much power you need start shopping for a PSU. A good brand will cost $50-$100, depending on how much power you need. If you find a cheaper unit that offers more make sure you research the crap out of it - it's probably too good to be true.

Also, if you want to compare your parts with SC2 users, use this site: http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_i...

To answer your original question, yes, a new power supply will probably fit your motherboard. There are two places the PSU plugs int othe motherboard. The first has 20 slots or 24 and the second has 4 or 8. Even my crap brand PSU had extra connectors. If you're looking on newegg click the "Specifications" tab to get the count and be certain.
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August 2, 2010 12:03:06 AM

I don't think that you'll have any motherboard compatibility issues with any of the new ATX power supplies. The ones that o1die suggested are the best brands to go for, and at $30 it's a bargain!

400W might don't leave much head room for upgrades, but it should suffice if the PSU can actually deliver 400W, with a minimum of 10A on the +12V rail. The HD5770 has a TDP of 108W, so anything above 10A on the +12V rail would do, but I would recommend that you go for a PSU that gives you at least 16A on the rail.
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August 3, 2010 1:15:54 AM

o1die said:
Try to find an antec, seasonic, pc power and cooling, ocz, enermax, or corsair. Some of the other brands are pure junk. Newegg has some good deals after rebate. They have an email promo: antec 400w with 120mm fan and 30 amps on the 12v rail for $29.99 with email promo code. Sorry I can't post a link.



Is there anyway you could PM me the e-mail promo code. I would be willing to downgrade to a lesser graphics card if I can get a better PSU at that price.
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August 3, 2010 1:35:20 AM

sf_torquatus said:
To solve your first problem - there are two quick ways you can find out the brand of motherboard. You can open up your PC and look for the title. Mine is printed sideways next to my RAM and CPU case when the motherboard is mounted in my case. You can also download the cpu-z program. This will tell you all sorts of useful information including the model of your motherboard.


Well after looking around on my motherboard, I found these numbers vertically 'lasered' between my RAM sticks and CPU: 15-Q18--011011 and to the left of it (below it technically), M3A780M V: 1.0. Located elsewheres on the motherboard was the 'lasered' Lenovo logo as well as two stickers with a barcode and serial numbers below them. One sticker had EA=002511A8C3C8 and the the other one has an extremely long line of numbers in it. Is there anyway you could link or PM the program you mentioned so I could find the information about my motherboard for sure out for sure? I want to be absolutely sure that the PSU unit I buy will be compatible with my motherboard, but I have no idea how to make sure it will be compatible even if I found out all the information I need about my motherboard.


sf_torquatus said:
I'm a frugal buyer too, but sometimes you want to go with name-brand items, especially power supplies. For instance, I just replaced a Viotek PSU rated for 450W ($20 retail). However, video cards run off the 12V rail, so you want to pay attention to the amperage and voltage. My old PSU had 22A on the 12V rail. Since the voltage is constant, 12V*22A = 264W. The power rating is so high because the other voltage rails offer more amperage and more wattage. Plus, I have no idea whether or not the PSU is efficient.


Where did you find a 450W PSU for $20? If it's a quality PSU than that's a bargain. Also should I only look out for wattage when I shop around for a PSU to power my upcoming gaming rig. As long as my PSU meets the minimum specs required by the GPU am I good to go? For example if my ATI Radeon 5770 requires 450W, can I just get a 450W PSU and be ready to go. I think I might be neglecting the power needs of the rest of the components of my PC, but I'm unsure how to factor them into the rest of my wattage needs. By the way what is the other stuff you referred to such as 22A and 12V rail.
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August 3, 2010 12:57:23 PM

I'm not sure about your motherboard. I tried a few internet searches and got results in Japanese. Alternatively, you can just call the technical help number and request information about your motherboard. Once you find the manufacturer you can download the user manual and look at your hardware specs for copmpatibility. I suggest just downloading cpu-z since it will tell you outright and makes specific searches easier.

I didn't buy the 450W PSU on its own, it came with the computer I bought last summer. If you want to game you're going to need a video card and good processor. Assuming you have those, you need a good power supply. What would define "good" in this case is a higher amperage on the 12V rail (you can look up these specs on any sale site and the label on the side of the PSU). My 450W had 22A on the 12V rail. Current video cards will not run on this. My current PSU is rated at 400W, cost me $50, and has 30A on the 12V rail. The overall wattage is important, but you want to focuse on 12V wattage (my old one is 264W and my new is 360W - THIS is what made the other one so cheap).

Cheap PSU's are good for office work, surfing the internet, and watching movies. Gaming rigs need a trusted, quality power supply. These will cost $50-$100 for the frugal buyer.
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August 4, 2010 5:53:20 AM

Best answer selected by boxmanboxman.
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August 4, 2010 5:55:00 AM

Alright well thanks for the help, I called technical support and discovered that my motherboard is pretty universal in terms of PSU's. Gonna do some shopping right to find my a good PSU with definitely good quality. No way am I going to let my computer burn out because of a crappy PSU. Thanks for all the help, I learned alot.
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