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Help me settle my indecision on replacing PSU

Last response: in Components
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November 8, 2011 4:59:51 PM

So, my PSU's 80mm fan has been dead for over a year, without any ill effect on the system. Its an Antec Earthwatts branded Seasonic 500W unit which came with my Sonata III tower. The combined 12V is 408W. (more details here: http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Antec-EarthWatts...) The PSU is top-mounted with vented intake from the bottom of the unit and the dead 80mm exhaust fan pointing out the back. For other cooling I just have a 120mm case fan together with another 120mm fan attached to a Hyper 212+ cpu cooler. The warranty is expired, I'm not comfortable with opening the unit to replace the fan, and I'm hesitant to fork over the money for an equal quality new unit.

This is the system which it powers:

Q6600 (95 tdp but overclocked @ 3.6 with vcore from1.26 --> 1.49)
GTX 260 Core 216 (up to 180W TDP)
Gigabyte P35-DS3L board
Vertex 2 SSD
WD Raptor 10krpm
DVD-RW drive

I was hoping to keep this PC until Ivy Bridge is released, with maybe just a temporary upgrade to a newer video card with a similar TDP so I can save some money without getting a PSU, but I'm unsure with the dead fan. I'm sure someone will suggest that I can buy a new PSU and transfer it to my new build but when I do a complete overhaul it will likely be made to support a very high resolution requiring some bigger cards in SLi and thus, more power.

I'm sure its only survived this long because its a high quality unit, but is this PSU a time bomb that I need to replace ASAP or will it likely sustain my system as it has, for another 6-10 months until I overhaul my entire system?

Any other advice for me?

Thanks in advance.
a b ) Power supply
November 8, 2011 5:11:55 PM

It does sound like it is a ticking time bomb, but that doesn't mean you can't get by for 6 more months on it without detonation.

If you haven't noticed any problems yet, I don't see any good reason to switch it out at this moment.

However, I also don't see any reason not to just get the PSU for your later system today either. At least it would prevent the later problem from actually occurring, potentially keeping the motherboard, CPU, and video cards from becoming paperweights.

That way you could potentially ebay the system later for some amount of money more than the $0 you would get from a blown up PC.
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a b ) Power supply
November 8, 2011 5:33:22 PM

I'm not sure why you didn't replace the fan right away. I mean now because it's been running hot for over a year, it's probably not got long left before it takes a dump.

If the psu is unplugged why wouldn't you feel comfortable replacing the fan? It would only require a screwdriver. lol
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a b ) Power supply
November 8, 2011 5:37:12 PM

Fans inside PSUs aren't always easy to replace. Some of them can't be replaced at all without cutting and splicing wires.
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November 8, 2011 5:41:13 PM

It is super easy to replace a PSU fan. Do it. Besides, this PSU is powerful enough to handle almost any single GPU card available. No reason to replace it until you go SLI.
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November 8, 2011 5:43:22 PM

Raiddinn said:
Fans inside PSUs aren't always easy to replace. Some of them can't be replaced at all without cutting and splicing wires.

easy peasy. It takes two seconds to strip and splice wires. You can strip the wires with a knife if you are careful so you don't even need any tools. And if you are really desperate you twist them together and wrap with electricians tape (although that is the cheapest splice to do)
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a b ) Power supply
November 8, 2011 5:44:01 PM

Not all PSUs are super easy, maybe quality ones, but definitely not all.

That one may be super easy to replace, but some don't even have connectors and the wires are just soldered directly onto the circuit board.

Just sayin.
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a c 87 ) Power supply
November 8, 2011 5:44:11 PM

What about just mounting a fan on the outside next to the PSU? Obviously not as optimal as the unit having its fan working, but potentially better than nothing.
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a b ) Power supply
November 8, 2011 5:46:21 PM

nordlead said:
easy peasy. It takes two seconds to strip and splice wires. You can strip the wires with a knife if you are careful so you don't even need any tools. And if you are really desperate you twist them together and wrap with electricians tape (although that is the cheapest splice to do)


For someone with a lot of experience doing those things, it isn't very difficult.

That being said, I would hazard a guess that 95% of people wouldn't feel confident going into something like that.
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November 8, 2011 5:46:32 PM

oh, you can also just run the wires through the case and into the computer case and just plug it in the motherboard or in a molex connector.
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November 8, 2011 5:52:01 PM

Raiddinn said:
For someone with a lot of experience doing those things, it isn't very difficult.

That being said, I would hazard a guess that 95% of people wouldn't feel confident going into something like that.

it isn't that hard to learn. Anyone who can read and cut with a pair of scissors can learn to do it in a few minutes. There are plenty of guides on the internet. I'd rather encourage people to learn then tell them it is too hard.

Here is a guide showing you how to replace a fan on an Antec 250W unit. - http://www.extensiontech.net/articles/howto/dk/psufan/
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November 8, 2011 6:01:59 PM

buy a cheap case fan and cable tie it to the back of the psu, make sure its oriented as an exhaust, that should keep it safe until you buy a new one along with ivy bridge, only cost about $10
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a b ) Power supply
November 8, 2011 6:14:57 PM

Oh great, now Newegg is paying people to promote their products on the forum.
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November 8, 2011 6:16:36 PM

or you could cable tie the case fan to the inside of the psu blowing down onto the components, no cable routing problems then, just plug in the molex
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November 8, 2011 7:51:51 PM

Thanks for the suggestions, guys.

So if I were to buy, say, a 1000W PSU to use in my current system and eventually transfer to a new build, wouldn't it be horribly inefficient at less than 50% usage for the time being?

My concern regarding opening the PSU is not the potential need to rewire the fan but rather being hurt by electrical current by mistakenly touching something I shouldn't. I'm relatively uninformed in this regard, but from what I can see, nobody can guarantee safety even if the unit is unplugged for a good amount of time, and I have no experience or tools for bleeding it properly. So unless you can convince me otherwise, I don't want to attempt that.

Strapping a case-fan to the outside of the unit, as suggested by we1ch, while it sounds amusing, is a considerable idea.
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a b ) Power supply
November 8, 2011 8:04:22 PM

Quality PSUs deliver power most efficiently with the least wear and tear on the parts (generally) between 40% and 60% of stated wattage.

You won't get hurt by any electrical current if you unplug the PC from the wall for 2 minutes before you do anything with it (not even 5 sec, tbh, its more to protect parts from you than to protect you from them).

On the same note, as long as you touch the metal part of the case early and often when you are doing things with the internals, the internals will be equally safe from you.
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November 9, 2011 12:16:58 PM

PSU's that are rated 80+ are 80% efficient from 20% load to 100% load. The problem with the huge 1kW PSUs is that most PCs idle under 100W and efficiency drops like a rock under 80%. The new PSUs tend to be better than the old PSUs but you can expect efficiency closer to 70% or less at 10% load depending on the PSU.

As for your PSU, unplug the PSU from the wall, then hit the power switch on the computer. Then take the PSU out of the case. At that point, any energy left in the system will only be enough to give you a nice shock (if that) and not enough to actually injure you.

Here is the reality. If the capacitors are only storing 12V, then your body's natural resistance is too high to feel it (unless maybe if you lick it, or you are wet). Even then, it isn't going to kill you since you'll only feel the shock on the surface of your body. If it is 120V, then you'll feel it for sure, but the amperage is going to be so low that it won't be enough to kill you. It isn't volts that kills, it is current.
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a b ) Power supply
November 10, 2011 9:17:24 PM

PSUs that are rated at 80% efficient tend to be about 88% efficient at 40 - 60% load. That is not an insignificant difference compared to 80%.

Ideally, it would be best to idle around 40% and max around 60% so both sets are well into the maximum efficiency range.
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