Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

PSU comparison - opinions wanted

Last response: in Components
Share
January 21, 2011 5:22:37 PM

Newbie calling! Posting from my second build, but my first was only about a week earlier.

The old power supply I had in the case initially has failed, so I replaced it with the first decent one I could get my hands on quickly. Or at least I thought it was decent. It was recommended by a possibly somewhat unreliable salesman at a local shop, and since he'd been the one to verify my old PSU as kaput - I was only 99% sure, it could've been the mobo itself based on my observations and I had no PSU tester or multimeter - I felt like I owed it to him to buy something.

Anyway, what I ended up with was an old Antec SP500P, which I've since had the opportunity to research and seen described in a couple of places as "the worst power supply ever made" and similar words to that effect.

So, bearing in mind that I'm an unemployed student with zero cash to spare who intends to add a graphics card to this rig, I figure buying a better PSU is a better bet than hoping my current one doesn't bugger my entire system. I've been recently looking at the Silverstone Strider ST50F-ES, but have some possibly misguided concern about the two 6-pins being on the one cable. I've also seen the Seasonic S12II-520 recommended, but that's really quite expensive based on a budget of £0.00.

I've had a look at the big PSU guide on the forums, and that was what led me eventually to the Silverstone (I had been looking at the Antec EarthWatts and the former was suggested to be slightly better by HardwareSecrets).

Note also that I've not installed any case cooling save for the PSU fan and CPU stock cooler, but my running temps seem decent enough so far. I've not gone near any OCing yet, though I am considering trying this with my CPU since it's pretty slow. Some examples from Speccy in °C:

CPU: 27
Mobo: 35
HDD1: 45
HDD2: 47

Any views, people?

Last thing: if it's particularly valid, the graphics card I'm looking to add also needs to be cheapish but also long-term; I've been considering the Asus ENGTX460 DirectCU (possibly TOP, the factory OC model since I've yet to try an OC myself) and also potentially the EVGA GTX460 SuperClocked, which is significantly cheaper than the OCd Asus. I notice the Asus has better cooling, but don't really know if that is enough for it to beat the EVGA. I'm looking for some advice on the GPU front too, but if you'd rather I post that in the GPU subsection I'll do so (I'm in no rush; I'm holding off activation Windows until I get the GPU in, but I haven't put the product key in yet).

EDIT: I have my spec in my profile, but didn't realise it wouldn't post as a sig, so here it is for quickness.

ASUS P7H55-M SI
Intel Core i3-540 @ 3.07GHz
2x2GB Corsair XMS3 DDR3
1TB Samsung Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ
160GB Maxtor DiamondMax Plus9 6Y160P0
Sony Optiarc AD-5260S
(and will be adding an old floppy drive if I can get my hands on it again)
Antec SP500P

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
Related resources
a b ) Power supply
January 21, 2011 6:07:50 PM

Cooling for what, the case? What case? Or the CPU?

BTW I have the Asus GTX460TOP and the cooler is awesome.
Mine are OC'd at 865mhz with no voltage increase and chugg along @55C ish.
January 21, 2011 6:19:48 PM

beanoslim said:
Cooling for what, the case? What case? Or the CPU?

BTW I have the Asus GTX460TOP and the cooler is awesome.
Mine are OC'd at 865mhz with no voltage increase and chugg along @55C ish.


Well, I was referring to the case, although if you reckon I genuinely need to add a CPU cooler for a pretty mild OC then that too. You'll know better than I do if the running temps I posted are reasonable. The case is this rather cheap and fiddly thing. It seems fine for my purposes, although infuriatingly the rather slack power LED livewire ripped out of the Molex connector, meaning I now have it sitting fairly precariously in the CPU Molex without a connector. I'm sure that's not ideal, but it's worked for a while now.
a b ) Power supply
January 21, 2011 6:27:03 PM

I would spend the money on a new case.
The best way to cool that baby is to have the side off and a 20" deskfan blowing into it.

The spec doesnt list fan setup but I would fill every available fan space with a fan.
Things are going to heat up pretty quick in there.

Your stock cooler should be fine if you install it properly, just a small amount of paste.
http://www.arcticsilver.com/methods.html

This would give you a massive cooling improvement.
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/143854?utm_source=google&...
January 21, 2011 6:35:38 PM

beanoslim said:
I would spend the money on a new case.
The best way to cool that baby is to have the side off and a 20" deskfan blowing into it.

The spec doesnt list fan setup but I would fill every available fan space with a fan.
Things are going to heat up pretty quick in there.

Your stock cooler should be fine if you install it properly, just a small amount of paste.
http://www.arcticsilver.com/methods.html

This would give you a massive cooling improvement.
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/143854?utm_source=google&...


Trouble is, I'm pretty space-limited: there really isn't room for a big tower, hence the small choice. The reason I posted the temperatures were for direct reference as opposed to estimation based on the case's size. And by "the money" do you mean money otherwise spent on case fans?

Regarding the Intel cooler, it came with a preapplied compound and I've just kept that for easiness. Again, example temperature posted there should give you a rough idea. Obviously it gets hotter than that, but not hugely as yet.

Thanks for the continued advice; sorry if I'm not following you completely.
a b ) Power supply
January 21, 2011 6:40:43 PM

Yep, the cost of a decent cooler and couple of case fans would be a bit less than the case but the case would give you the biggest improvement. The Antec is actually one of the smaller options but hey ho.

You really want to check your temps under load, they are more important.
Run OCCT or Prime95 with HWmonitor or Coretemp open and see what the temps hit.

You would probably lower your temps with a fresh application of AS5 or something similar.

If you decide to get case fans post the sizes you need and I'll rec a few.

Cable management will also play a part in a smaller case, tie wraps anyone? :D 
a b ) Power supply
January 21, 2011 6:48:29 PM

Your CPU idle temps look fine. What are they under load (use prime95 to test)
January 21, 2011 6:54:09 PM

beanoslim said:
Yep, the cost of a decent cooler and couple of case fans would be a bit less than the case but the case would give you the biggest improvement. The Antec is actually one of the smaller options but hey ho.

You really want to check your temps under load, they are more important.
Run OCCT or Prime95 with HWmonitor or Coretemp open and see what the temps hit.

You would probably lower your temps with a fresh application of AS5 or something similar.

If you decide to get case fans post the sizes you need and I'll rec a few.

Cable management will also play a part in a smaller case, tie wraps anyone? :D 


Out of interest, what would you consider to be too high in terms of CPU temp under 100% load? Running OCCT now, dunno why I didn't think to do so earlier (I installed it to check potential OC a while ago).

Will probably seriously consider the Antec case having had a closer look at it, the only small annoyances being that I've gone and stuck my Asus and Intel stickers on the cheap tiny case, and I'll have to refit everything. I'll also probably reseat the CPU cooler with some paste, although I'd be unsure about that - for instance, do I really need to somehow get the old stuff off or is it reasonable just to leave it there?

EDIT: after a few minutes, Core Temp's reporting highs of 66 and 65 per core at 100% load (this is at 3.07GHz, i.e. before any OC attempts). And by the way, I've got everything tied up pretty well, forgot to mention that. As far as case fans go, I really don't have any confidence in either knowing what to get (I've no idea how to measure the case for sizes, even) or fitting them, so you might be right in that a decent case is wiser. Kinda kicking myself right now for not just getting a better one in the first place, was trying to keep the cost at an absolute minimum but will almost definitely end up having to lay down more cash regardless.
a b ) Power supply
January 21, 2011 7:32:55 PM

Max temps 72.6 but 80C under heavy load would be ok for testing.

You would still want a couple of 120mm fans in that Antec to max out the cooling.
The Scythe Slipstream and Enermax Cluster a nice.

You would reduce your temps a bit with re-ap and a new case then you could see what they are with stock and OC.
Stock coolers always struggle with heavy OC'ing.
An example is I just had an i7 920 running at 92C under OCCT on stock cooler, just whacked a Venomous X on and with the same settings it dropped to 58C under load, unreal. :D 

The case fans will be 80mm/92mm or 120mm probably, just measure the screw holes and tie them to the fan sizes.
January 21, 2011 9:36:07 PM

beanoslim said:
Max temps 72.6 but 80C under heavy load would be ok for testing.

You would still want a couple of 120mm fans in that Antec to max out the cooling.
The Scythe Slipstream and Enermax Cluster a nice.

You would reduce your temps a bit with re-ap and a new case then you could see what they are with stock and OC.
Stock coolers always struggle with heavy OC'ing.
An example is I just had an i7 920 running at 92C under OCCT on stock cooler, just whacked a Venomous X on and with the same settings it dropped to 58C under load, unreal. :D 

The case fans will be 80mm/92mm or 120mm probably, just measure the screw holes and tie them to the fan sizes.


The max I got to was 67 deg at 100% load, seems ok then? And you mention I'd benefit from a better CPU cooler for a heavy OC, but I assume this is something I can add later on (i.e. if I decide to overclock more further down the line) and for the time being I could stick with the stock cooler and existing heatsink wax/gel/whatever that's already on it? If so, I think I'll save the £40-50 on that front at least for the time being, but let me know what you think.

Do you mean I should either just run the Antec case OR add a couple of fans to my existing one? As far as measuring the case goes, I'm slightly confused about where the fans are intended to be put. There is a space in the front-bottom, which I assume might be intended for cooling, but no screws I can see and obviously no vent (power buttons). Otherwise, there is one spot with screws about 100mm diagonally (72 across) in the side towards the back - almost but not quite directly in line with the CPU cooler - and one directly below that which is about 150 diag/105 across. There's also one in back that's either 100 or 120mm (holes for either) diagonally, but rectangular such that it's wider vertically than horizontally. This seems bizarre to me though; I thought there was pretty much always a front fan? Also, those measurements seem odd.

So basically:

1. If I max out at 67 degrees with a 100% load, surely I don't need better cooling just yet (and is redoing the thermal compound necessary at this stage)?

2. If you reckon I do, should going for something like that Antec case be enough or do you reckon I'd still need a better heatsink (with new thermal compound) as well?

3. If I did go for the Antec, are you saying I should be adding more fans even to that, or did you just mean that I should EITHER add fans to my existing case OR switch into the Antec?

Sorry to be a pain, I've just got rather more than I bargained for. Figured you might suggest slapping a fan or two into my case, didn't think we'd be discussing new cases and CPU heatsinks :o  Glad to have such a confident PSU recommendation however, so I'll almost definitely be going for that ASAP at the very least.
a b ) Power supply
January 21, 2011 9:58:01 PM

Quote:
The max I got to was 67 deg at 100% load, seems ok then? And you mention I'd benefit from a better CPU cooler for a heavy OC, but I assume this is something I can add later on (i.e. if I decide to overclock more further down the line) and for the time being I could stick with the stock cooler and existing heatsink wax/gel/whatever that's already on it? If so, I think I'll save the £40-50 on that front at least for the time being, but let me know what you think.


Yes thats acceptable, and yes you can always add later, a re-app with high quality paste would probably lower your temps a few degs but isn't absolutely necessary, would be a bit of practice for you though. ;) 

Quote:
Do you mean I should either just run the Antec case OR add a couple of fans to my existing one?


If you are keeping current case add some fans if you have any intention of upgrading don't waste any money on it.

Quote:
As far as measuring the case goes, I'm slightly confused about where the fans are intended to be put. There is a space in the front-bottom, which I assume might be intended for cooling, but no screws I can see and obviously no vent (power buttons). Otherwise, there is one spot with screws about 100mm diagonally (72 across) in the side towards the back - almost but not quite directly in line with the CPU cooler - and one directly below that which is about 150 diag/105 across. There's also one in back that's either 100 or 120mm (holes for either) diagonally, but rectangular such that it's wider vertically than horizontally. This seems bizarre to me though; I thought there was pretty much always a front fan? Also, those measurements seem odd.


Are you saying your case has no fans in it??
72mm across must be 80mm fans, 105 must be 120mm, don't know about the other, usually fans are square. :pt1cable: 

So basically:

1. If I max out at 67 degrees with a 100% load, surely I don't need better cooling just yet (and is redoing the thermal compound necessary at this stage)?

Answered above

2. If you reckon I do, should going for something like that Antec case be enough or do you reckon I'd still need a better heatsink (with new thermal compound) as well?

If you are going to start OC'ing heavily then yes whatever case otherwise stock will do. I personally always go aftermarket for lower overall temps and larger fans for quieter operation. If you imagine the heatsink is drawing air from inside the case, if the air circulating with your case is warm and stagnent then its trying to cool the cpu with warm static air. The Antec would have much better circulation and draws in much more cool air that is then transfered to the cpu cooler.

3. If I did go for the Antec, are you saying I should be adding more fans even to that, or did you just mean that I should EITHER add fans to my existing case OR switch into the Antec?

The Antec comes with 1x120mm rear exhaust and 1x140mm top exhaust, it has space for 2x120mm intake and 1x120mm side intake that blows onto the graphics card. Realistically you could use the supplied 120mm rear in the front as an intake and use just the 140mm top as exhaust. Ideally you would put 2x120mm additional fans in the front to create a mass of airflow through the case and out of the supplied exhaust fans.

Quote:
Sorry to be a pain, I've just got rather more than I bargained for. Figured you might suggest slapping a fan or two into my case, didn't think we'd be discussing new cases and CPU heatsinks :o  Glad to have such a confident PSU recommendation however, so I'll almost definitely be going for that ASAP at the very least.


No worries, hope it helps you for future decisions. :D 
January 21, 2011 10:21:43 PM

Quote:
Yes thats acceptable, and yes you can always add later, a re-app with high quality paste would probably lower your temps a few degs but isn't absolutely necessary, would be a bit of practice for you though. ;) 


I'll probably do that in the near future, particularly if I manage the very first couple of steps of OC and feel confident enough to push it up enough to be worthwhile.

Quote:
If you are keeping current case add some fans if you have any intention of upgrading don't waste any money on it.


With my confusion regarding the fan situation, I'm uncertain on this one; if I can work out what fans can actually go into my current case (e.g. if that front space is indeed for a fan to haul fresh air in) I might stick with that idea, but if it's going to cost almost as much as the Antec I'll just upgrade to that. Only real loss is the shiny Asus and Intel case stickers... but ho hum, in a way they just make it look less believable to the clueless that I put the damn thing together anyway.

Quote:
Are you saying your case has no fans in it??


Yes. Yes I am. :sweat:  I know this is a terrible idea, but apparently it's not actually posing a problem right now. I have my hard drives set to auto-off after a while so they aren't heating themselves up too much if the system sits idle, and apparently my mobo and CPU temps are perfectly fine.

Quote:
If you are going to start OC'ing heavily then yes whatever case otherwise stock will do. I personally always go aftermarket for lower overall temps and larger fans for quieter operation. If you imagine the heatsink is drawing air from inside the case, if the air circulating with your case is warm and stagnent then its trying to cool the cpu with warm static air. The Antec would have much better circulation and draws in much more cool air that is then transfered to the cpu cooler.


Right so I take that to mean I should just stick to the Intel cooler unless I'm doing a huge OC, which is highly unlikely since I've never done any in my life. If I do any at all, it'd probably still be well under 4GHz (I'm taking that definition of "light" OCing from this guide, since I'm clueless, although to me nearly a full 1GHz seems huge). So, at least for the time being, I think I'll stick to the Intel, and possibly upgrade some way down the line.

Quote:
The Antec comes with 1x120mm rear exhaust and 1x140mm top exhaust, it has space for 2x120mm intake and 1x120mm side intake that blows onto the graphics card. Realistically you could use the supplied 120mm rear in the front as an intake and use just the 140mm top as exhaust. Ideally you would put 2x120mm additional fans in the front to create a mass of airflow through the case and out of the supplied exhaust fans.


I'd probably test out shifting the 120 to the front first off, then moving it back and adding more if things still seemed to be really hot.

Quote:
No worries, hope it helps you for future decisions. :D 


Thanks a lot! Very helpful. Thanks to Snipergod87 too, also useful information. And by the way, I went ahead and ordered that OCZ, seeing as it's a heck of a lot cheaper than anywhere else I found it and only a few quid more than the less powerful Strider. I'll probably get some thermal compound ordered as soon as I feel it's worth doing as well.
a b ) Power supply
January 22, 2011 9:02:17 AM

I would just run it with the side off until you get your case, it will lower temps.
3 or 4 decent case fans will cost you £24-£40 and you will still have a limited case.
Get these with case.

http://www.ebuyer.com/product/139175?utm_source=google&...
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/126410

The thing with the OC is all chips are different so you might hit say 3.8ghz with one chip needing a small voltage increase but the same chip might need more of an increase for the same OC, its just a case of trying your chip and keeping an eye on temps, I would assume just switching cases, getting 2 fans and re-applying paste you should see a 3-6 deg drop across the board. 4ghz isn't a light OC. :na: 

I know you are on a budget but its like putting expensive wheels on a mini metro, if you start with a Golf GTI you don't mind spending money on it and it will last you a while. :D 

These are great fans for the Antec, good luck.
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/120mm-scythe-kaze-jyuni-...
Or smart white LEDs
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/120mm-enermax-uccl12-clu...(mbt)-veri-speed-white-led-(on-off)-inc-rubber-a-v-plugs

P.S. Will a GTX460 even fit in that case?
January 22, 2011 10:49:14 AM

Quote:
4ghz isn't a light OC. :na: 


Yup, pretty much what I figured. I was going to try getting to maybe 3.5 or so and probably leaving it at that for safety. However, as it turns out, my damn "Systems Integrator" motherboard won't allow any OC whatsoever so apparently that's a total impossibility. Which really irritates me, seeing as the whole reason I settled for the 3.06GHz i3-540 was that I had heard all over the place that it overclocks incredibly well (I certainly can't afford an i5/7). Incredibly gutted right now. Considering attempting to ask Scan for an exchange, but I doubt I have any right to (aside maybe from the fact they didn't mention the Systems Integrator thing; hadn't a clue what the SI stood for 'til last night, and it wasn't a particularly easy find).

Quote:
P.S. Will a GTX460 even fit in that case?


Pretty sure it would, but yeah there's a decent chance of me plumping for the Antec anyway.

Oh and I found someone selling a pack of that thermal with the cleaning fluids for slightly less than that on Amazon Marketplace, likely to go for that. Especially if Scan agree to send a new mother board, since it'll mean having to reseat it anyway.
a b ) Power supply
January 22, 2011 1:19:18 PM

Annoyance indeed!
January 22, 2011 1:58:54 PM

So this is pretty off-topic by now but here's the plan:

1. Order this board, swap it for my existing one, seating my i3 and stock heatsink with this.

2. Return my existing board (Scan accepted an RMA, thankfully).

3. When the GTX560s launch in a few days, hopefully the GTX460 prices will drop and I'll grab one of these or one of these, and much later on will likely get another for SLI when its performance starts to fail to keep up with new releases.

I'll then attempt a fairly mild overclock, watching the temperatures closely. If things start to get too hot, I'll go for that Antec case and if they're still unreasonable I'll start considering extra fans and/or a cooler like the one you mentioned.

Thanks for all the help, it's very much appreciated. :hello: 
January 22, 2011 2:38:01 PM

Quote:
That ATX board won't fit in your Micro ATX case.

If you can push to the P8P67 PRO that would be a nice board to have.


Oh bloody hell. I really don't have the money for all this... starting to wonder if I should just accept that I'm going to have to upgrade when it comes to it, and take the £65 hit for not getting a motherboard refund in the meantime.



That's not the TOP though, so it's not factory overclocked. Besides, I'm holding off to see if the prices drop when the GTX560 hits.

Thanks for pointing that out, I'm doing so much at once today that I probably would've ended up ordering the ATX board without noticing. Totally forgot to check that.
February 1, 2011 3:15:53 PM

Problem: 11 days after ordering, Play.com still haven't got that OCZ in stock, never mind shipped. Product page claims 4-5 days delay, not 11. I contacted them to ask if they could provide better detail, and they got all shirty with me, talking to me like I was an illiterate idiot and quoting 4-5 days.

I need a PSU fast, but I don't want to buy crap either - I already did that once with the old Antec SP-500P.

Anybody got any suggestions, bearing in mind the spec I'm running (and the fact I wouldn't mind the option of going into SLI in future)?


mobo: ASUS P7H55-M SI
cpu: Intel Core i3-540 @ 3.07GHz
ram: 2x2GB Corsair XMS3 DDR3
gpu: ASUS ENGTX460 1024MB DirectCU TOP
hdd1: 1TB Samsung Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ
hdd2: 160GB Maxtor DiamondMax Plus9 6Y160P0
dvdrw: Sony Optiarc AD-5260S
a b ) Power supply
February 1, 2011 4:17:53 PM

Never had any trouble with Play, anyway if you want to cover yourself for SLI that psu only has 2xpci-e.

You really want a minimum of 650w and 4xpci-e, heres my selection some modular some non all capable.

http://www.scan.co.uk/products/650w-xfx-xxx-edition-mod...
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/750w-xfx-p1-750s-nlb9-pr...
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/750w-corsair-cmpsu-750tx...

Corsair if you can afford it, XFX if you have to have modular.
February 1, 2011 6:54:54 PM

Right well it looks like I'm going to have to upgrade the PSU later if I go SLI. I just do not have this kinda money right now.

Realistically, would the 500W OCZ ModXstream be enough for my existing rig? I'm thinkin' yes, and at sub-£50 with next-day delivery it's looking tempting right now. Either that or wait to see if the £52 700W ever turns up.
February 1, 2011 7:23:51 PM

Done. Thank you yet again, good sir.
a b ) Power supply
February 1, 2011 8:23:07 PM

xandermac05 said:
Done. Thank you yet again, good sir.


No worries, I was running 2xGTX460's with this psu OC'd to 850mhz.

Wouldn't fancy any less though and you have to use pci-e adapters which isn't the best setup.
February 1, 2011 8:24:12 PM

Quote:
No im not saying to get it i noticed the pound sign and newegg dont ship to you guys just gave you a example whats enough


Ah ok well fair dos. Sorry if I
!