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Will my current PSU support planned upgrades?

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  • Corsair
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July 5, 2011 10:31:22 PM

As per thread title, I am planning to upgrade my current system. My PSU is the Corsair HX 520.
I'm looking to run a Phenom II X4 955 with an ASUS M5A88-M Evo mobo and 4Gb of Corsair DDR3 XMS3 (1333). I'm not looking to do much in the way of overclocking (at least not yet!) and I'll probably plump for the Corsair H50 Hydro self contained watercooler - unless it won't be up to the job of cooling a 125W cpu?
In addition, I expect to have 2 HDD's and a DVD re-writer (all SATA) , 2 or 3 case fans and a couple of usb devices.
Videocard wise I'm hovering between a HD 6850 or a GTX460. Reading reviews both cards are similar in performance but I'm led to believe the HD 6850 draws less power but I must admit I've only ever had Nvidia cards before and my temptation is to stick with what I know.
I'd like to stick with my current PSU as the budget is strained already (and it is a great PSU in its own right.)

Any opinions or knowledge gratefully recieved!

More about : current psu support planned upgrades

July 5, 2011 10:48:54 PM

The Hydro H50 isn't anything special. Save your money and get a Xigmatek Gaia air cooler for $30. It's a better cooler from what I've gathered. Look up some reviews to compare them if you don't wanna just take "what I've gathered" as truth.

The 6850 and GTX 460 1GB (not SE version) are comparable: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/313?vs=291

I'd get whichever card is cheaper. Your Corsair 520W can handle more than you're throwing at it.

If you plan on Crossfiring the 6850, there's a possibility that PSU is not enough (although it's probably adequate). I think SLI'd GTX 460's require a bit more power--someone chime in and correct me if I'm wrong.

Btw, if you're only planning for a single card in the future, a Radeon 5850 can sometimes be found for cheaper than either and is more powerful than either.
a b ) Power supply
July 5, 2011 10:55:39 PM

I agree with everything mentioned above. If you like nVidia then the GTX 460 will do a good job.
What's unclear is whether you have any of these parts already. If you're upgrading, you know AM3 is a dead end, yes? Even though we don't have bulldozer yet, if you still need to get a motherboard I would go with AM3+. This is also the only way you'd be able to sli, if that was a future desire.
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a b ) Power supply
July 5, 2011 11:02:32 PM

Oh yeah, the H50 is ok but you can find superior cooling with a Thermaltake Frio, or Xigmatek Aegir. But if you really just want to get your feet wet so to speak, then I suggest looking at the H70.
However, either of the Corsair units will be just as loud if not louder than an air cooler. They do not have the benefits of a full water cooling loop.

I mention the Xigamtek Aegir because it does an excellent job of cooling at acceptable noise levels.

I certainly wouldn't SLI GTX 460s with less than a 600W PSU, I believe that is the recommended minimum.
July 5, 2011 11:48:28 PM

Cheers for the quick replies guys.
I don't have any of these parts yet Buzznut! I wanted to be sure my PSU would be adequate before purchasing. The M5A88 - M Evo is an AM3+ board so it should be "reasonably" futureproof.
As I am merely a casual gamer I'm not really interested in crossfire or SLI so a single mid range card will do me fine. (If I could get away with using my current passively cooled GT7950 with the newer games I would!)

One of the reasons I've been looking at the Hydro H50 is down to the design of my case. It has one 14cm intake fan at the front a single 12cm extractor fan on the rear and a 12cm intake on the side panel (which I have ducted to blow down across the videocard) and of course the 12cm extractor fan on the PSU.
If I were to use a tower type cpu cooler it would preclude the use of the side panel fan entirely as there simply isn't enough room. Whereas my thinking was using the H50 in place of the rear 12cm fan, pulling air in through the radiator as per Corsair's recommendation and reversing the side panel fan to extract air as these would be at right angles to one another, so that the hot air pulled in is immediately extracted. (Thats my plan anyhow!)
July 6, 2011 12:14:19 AM

Great catch Buzznut! I assumed he already had the Phenom II x4 955 BE.

If you don't have any parts yet, you should start by filling this form out and we'll help you rework your whole build: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261222-31-build-advic...

I can't recommend anything but the cheapest AMD builds right now. If you're not going super cheap, you may as well go i3-2100 and plan to upgrade down the line. Then you also save money by using the stock CPU cooler today.
a b ) Power supply
July 6, 2011 12:20:12 AM

Sorry, didn't realize it was AM3+.

What kind of case? If its a midtower, there are plenty of coolers that would fit. The fresh air for the graphics card doesn't need to be ducted on the side intake.

This is not a good setup. The air flow would go from your intake out the side without blowing air across your motherboard, where its needed. If you had a top exhaust that would be different. I highly recommend against doing it that way.

Airflow should go from lower front to upper rear as hot air rises. This is the most efficient way to remove hot air from your case. Considering your case design, I would not use the H50.

If you got a 92mm cooler you could be assured of plenty of space for you side intake, such as this one:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Besides you don't need water cooling if you're not overclocking, you're a casual gamer so you don't need a screaming fast benchmark buster. In fact, you'd probably be just fine with the stock cooler which is good enough for mild overclocking. Or you could use an Arctic cooler which would be a good budget solution:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
July 6, 2011 12:37:04 AM

@buzznut--Do you have any reason to recommend the Hyper N520 over the Xigmatek Gaia? I was recently converted to being a fan of the Gaia (after I looked up reviews).

With an i3-2100, the stock cooler is right for it. With an AMD build, I'd say go Phenom II x3 720BE. AMD's only worth it if you go super budget.

We'll need your budget OP before we can give much more meaningful advice.

Btw, what case do you have? The Antec 300 Illusion is on sale for $55 right now and would be an excellent choice.
a b ) Power supply
July 6, 2011 4:19:28 AM

dalauder said:
@buzznut--Do you have any reason to recommend the Hyper N520 over the Xigmatek Gaia? I was recently converted to being a fan of the Gaia (after I looked up reviews).

With an i3-2100, the stock cooler is right for it. With an AMD build, I'd say go Phenom II x3 720BE. AMD's only worth it if you go super budget.

We'll need your budget OP before we can give much more meaningful advice.

Btw, what case do you have? The Antec 300 Illusion is on sale for $55 right now and would be an excellent choice.


No reason at all-except its a 92mm cooler instead of a 120mm and the OP was worried about clearance for his side intake fan. The Gaia is nice, but for a 120 fan I'd sooner recommend the Coolermaster Hyper 212+. But the Best for AMD would be the Xigmatek Aegir, quite a bit better than the Gaia. However those are large coolers.
July 6, 2011 4:42:08 AM

I actually just switched from recommending the Hyper 212+ to the Gaia based off of noise and 775 temps. But the 212+ appears to do better than the Gaia on AMD rigs based off of reviews I just looked up. It's so tough to get conclusive heatsink info.
I guess I can just assume all the good heatsinks are good (but not conclusively better than others) and all the cheap good ones are great for the money. And quiet is preferred.

That smaller size sounds good about the N520, but I can't imagine a way to justify a $45 heatsink in an AMD build--I can barely justify an AMD build for gaming in any scenario.
a b ) Power supply
July 6, 2011 5:00:22 AM

dalauder said:
I actually just switched from recommending the Hyper 212+ to the Gaia based off of noise and 775 temps. But the 212+ appears to do better than the Gaia on AMD rigs based off of reviews I just looked up. It's so tough to get conclusive heatsink info.
I guess I can just assume all the good heatsinks are good (but not conclusively better than others) and all the cheap good ones are great for the money. And quiet is preferred.

That smaller size sounds good about the N520, but I can't imagine a way to justify a $45 heatsink in an AMD build--I can barely justify an AMD build for gaming in any scenario.


Actually a $70 AMD triple core can game just fine. Yes, core i5 and i7 are faster, even certain i3 CPUs are quicker. But with a X3 at around 3.0 Ghz, you can really play anything you want.

I do understand what you are saying though, AMD fan that I am, I am not recommending people adopt now unless they're getting an AM3+ board with plans to upgrade to bulldozer.
I wouldn't recommend a $45 heatsink for AMD either, unless overclocking was a goal. Then its just like Intel, get the best you can.

I also consider noise when recommending a cooler. Thats why the Aegir is so nice, it stays quiet and still performs right up there with the best:
http://www.frostytech.com/top5heatsinks.cfm

I cannot recommend the Spire Thermax Eclipse II, because of the absolutely horrible fan mounting. That thing is an overpriced, loud, piece of crap. I know, I have one sitting in my garage where I am tempted to throw the damn thing in the garbage. Also the damn things too heavy and the socket mounting also leaves a helluva lot to be desired.
The thermaltake frio is a great cooler and looks sharp too, but its loud as hell. So there's a lot of give and take.

Thats why the Hyper 212+ is such a good recommendation. Its not too enormous, it performs fantastic for the price (around $30) and its a smart design too. Can't really go wrong for budget overclocking. :D 
July 6, 2011 5:11:34 AM

Yes, you named the one scenario where an AMD is worth building: the $70 AMD triple core. Any more than that and you should go i3 w/ H61 (since it's the cost of cheap AM3 boards).

Strangely, this guy's insisting on an AMD build w/ $200 graphics: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/314929-31-rate-build#...
We've worked in a GTX 560Ti and Windows 7 for $800 total but I still wanted to see him go with an i3-2100.

The $30 Gaia is quieter than the Hyper 212+ by a wide margin though--so it's hard to not recommend that since most of these good coolers too loud to run on "high" (the BEST run quietly on high).
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