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How many watts should my PSU provide?

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March 28, 2011 12:13:10 PM

Hello all;

This is my first post to the Tom's Hardware forum, though I have been heavily frequenting the site for quite some time now. My question is simple, and is likely prevalent among first-time desktop PC builders such as myself: how many watts should my PSU provide? To make things easier for you guys, here's a finalized list of my new build's components (most of which haven't been ordered yet):

Case: COOLER MASTER HAF X RC-942-KKN1 Black Steel/ Plastic ATX Full Tower Computer Case
CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52500K
Mobo: ASUS P8P67 PRO LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL
GPU: SAPPHIRE 100312SR Radeon HD 6950 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Heat Sink: Noctua NH-D14 120mm & 140mm SSO CPU Cooler
Optical Drive: ASUS Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 24X DVD Burner - OEM
OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
Display: SAMSUNG SyncMaster B2240W Black 22" Height Adjustable Widescreen LCD Monitor

Thanks in advance; I've been facing serious difficulty when trying to figure out just how much power I will require. Some additional information concerning the build (and, thus, its power consumption) include the fact that I will be using it primarily for hardcore gaming, and that I am going to flash the BIOS of the Radeon HD 6950 in order to convert it to an unofficial Radeon HD 6970. Also, I plan to significantly overclock the CPU to at least 4.5Ghz, and will eventually venture onwards towards overclocking my RAM and other components, as well.

Regards,
John

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a b ) Power supply
March 28, 2011 2:50:10 PM
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Hi and welcome to Tom's forum.

Very solid rig dude, excellent configuration and components. Do you want Crossfire in future? A good 600W can handle your rig with a single GPU, but I suggest you go with a 750W PSU from Crosair, Seasonic, Antec, XFX that are trusted brands. The 750W PSU gives your the future Crossfire possibility.

Why not an SSD?
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March 28, 2011 7:48:50 PM

saint19 said:
Hi and welcome to Tom's forum.

Very solid rig dude, excellent configuration and components. Do you want Crossfire in future? A good 600W can handle your rig with a single GPU, but I suggest you go with a 750W PSU from Crosair, Seasonic, Antec, XFX that are trusted brands. The 750W PSU gives your the future Crossfire possibility.

Why not an SSD?


Thank you! I've spent a considerable amount of time during the past month researching all of the possibilities for each component, and have learned a tremendous amount of computer knowledge in the process. This is the first time I've revealed the specs of my planned build to anyone on the 'net, so I am very pleased to hear such high approval, especially from a moderator.

Crossfire is very appealing to me ;) . "Trifire"...not so much, due to AMD's and NVIDIA's current sub-stellar gains from 3-way setups. It is not out of the question, though. I am a large advocate of future-proofing my machine; therefore, I am curious to know if an 850W would guarantee me the possibility of a future 3-way Crossfire or SLI configuration (still using BIOS-flashed Radeon HD 6970s)? Also, are there any other upgrades that will significantly increase my power consumption, aside from a change in CPU or GPU/#-of-GPUs? It seems as though these components (CPUs and GPUs) together easily comprise the majority of power consumption within a build, but please correct me if I'm mistaken. In any case, thank you for the wattage and brand recommendations. For hopes of future-proofing, I think I will go with a 750W PSU, unless a convincing case can be made for me to purchase a 800-850W PSU.

As far as SSDs, if I could afford a 1TB SSD, I would gladly purchase one. Unfortunately, I do not have $3,000 laying around :( . Realistically, I could go with an 80GB SSD for my OS and a 250GB SSD to house all of my games and programs...but that would still easily tack on an extra $1,000 that I don't want to spend. While choosing a data storage system, I looked extensively into RPMs, caches, platter sizes, RAID levels, and SSDs, and determined that a single, well-partitioned, non-RAIDed, 1TB, 7,200 RPM, high-density, reliable, value-priced hard drive was my best bet for my needs. I will back up an .iso of it regularly onto a 1TB external HDD. The 64MB cache and Sata III features are just freebies :kaola: , and certainly aren't necessary for an HDD.


oc_mania said:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... Nice brand,price and you can go Crossfire with it :) 


Wow, that's a great looking 750W PSU :) . Thanks for the suggestion. I have been looking at Cougar PSUs, primarily because of their superior ratings and reviews, and because they have been up to $60.00 off lately on Newegg (but, admittedly, also because of their great looks ;) ). This one, however, appears to be having a similar deal right now (after the mail-in rebate :pfff: ), and is slightly cheaper than its Cougar equivalent. Just out of curiosity, have you ever purchased Corsair and/or Cougar PSU(s), and if so, were you particularly satisfied or dissatisfied with any of them? (Anyone reading this can feel free to jump in with their own experiences, as well).
a c 164 ) Power supply
March 28, 2011 8:06:11 PM

corsairs have an excellent brand reputation. cougar is solid, its the upper tier of HeC PSU. HeC make PSU for a lot of other brands and do make their share of junk, but like the I said the cougars are solid. I have never had an issue with my corsair PSU but that being said if I wanted a 750w PSU, I would get this one below. it's cheaper, more efficient, and modular. antec is just as solid as corsair in brand quality.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
a c 91 ) Power supply
March 28, 2011 8:22:23 PM

+1 to Ct's recommendation.. That is an excellent PSU for a stellar price and will take care of all your current & future needs adequately..
a b ) Power supply
March 28, 2011 8:24:12 PM

You don't need an SSD for the entire rig, a good SSD for OS and most used programs (not games) is perfect for give to your rig a boost in performance. My 64GB SSD fit OS and commune programs and still have 10GB free.
March 29, 2011 5:18:41 AM

Thanks for all of the helpful input so far.

Here's everything I'm considering now:
Cougars (pros): seem very solid, powerful, and efficient; make for some serious eye-candy; are currently priced very reasonably; and have fully modular cables! :D 
Cougars (cons): the closet wattages for my needs are 700W and 850W :(  (no 750W or even 800W models are available); the 700W model does not future-proof my machine; I would feel sick paying for the considerably-more-expensive 850W model, especially knowing that I may never even approach its power capabilities even after future upgrades.
Corsair 750TX (pros): Corsair has fantastic brand recognition (i.e., is trusted by many consumers), and has been in the industry for a very long time; appears to be extremely solid, powerful, and reliable; looks nice; is very heavy, durable, and physically well-made; has a single-rail +12V rail (not necessarily a pro, but I favor the idea); is extremely affordable.
Corsair 750TX (cons): does not have modular cables :( ; is a relatively older PSU; has created horror stories of bursting into flames and melting the innards of PCs due to its single, immensely powerful 60A/+12V rail; does not appear to be as efficient as its competitors (only 80-Plus certified, not 80-Plus Bronze or higher).
Antec TP750 (pros): Corsair also has great brand recognition, and is a veteran in the PSU industry; appears to be very solid, powerful, reliable, and efficient; has been shown to easily exceed rated wattage, and is supposedly capable of 850W (I'm not planning on pushing my luck though, so I'll stick with a 750W max ;) ); is semi-modular :??: ; is currently $60.00 off (which makes it very well-priced)!
Antec TP750 (cons): is very ugly in appearance (if was just all black, I'd be more than happy...but the weird grayish color just doesn't work for me, especially in combination with the purple sticker); is only semi-modular :??: ; has its power split between multiple rails (not necessarily a con...can even be viewed as a pro; however, I personally lean slightly towards the single-rail approach, from the research I've done).

Unfortunately, it looks like Cougar is out :cry: . Therefore, I definitely think that out of all of the 750W PSUs on the market, my logical options are the Corsair 750TX and the Antec TP750. I'm leaning towards Corsair for the single-rail approach, price, and awesome appearance, while also leaning towards Antec for the higher efficiency, better reliability and safety, semi-modular cables, and the fact that it is worth $160, yet I would only be paying $100 (i.e., I'd be getting a higher-quality PSU for the price of a typical mid-quality one). Any further insight would be greatly appreciated! :) 
March 29, 2011 6:29:49 AM

Actually guys, after some further research, I've decided on the Corsair HX750 PSU, due to it's fantastic modularity and 80-Plus Silver efficiency rating, as well as its current discount + MIR on Newegg.

Thank you all tremendously, though, for your valuable and rapid feedback! I am very glad to be a member of the Tom's Hardware community.
March 29, 2011 6:32:05 AM

Best answer selected by Necrodread.
a b ) Power supply
March 29, 2011 12:53:08 PM

Solid choice, enjoy it.

See you around ;) 
!