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PSU Conundrum that threatens to kill everything !

Last response: in Components
August 9, 2012 1:30:03 PM

(System specs below)

Yes another power supply issue, but I wanted to get some opinions based on experience and also alert any googler's and the like of PSU's that won't suit them if there set up is anything like my own. Unless of course through this someone detects I might have an issue somewhere else.

EZcool 650w PSU from scan. Sli ready ( with 2 PCI-E plugs ). Runs 3 days on my new set up, I run a bench mark or two, GPU's get quiet warm as expected but all running fine. Then that smell of subdued burning - " alas it is just the system settling in " I say to myself. And out the power goes, total shutdown. Cool everything off, restart, Reboot fine. Try running for a while, bam, shuts down again. Now that PSU will power the board ( as in light it up ) but won't turn on. Here is why ( maybe ):

Multi meter tests of this PSU:
- Yellows - 8v
- Reds - 6v
- Orange 3.3v
- Blue - ( minus/negative ) -14
- Grey - 1 and 5 respectively

Not right is it ? So my guess is the Mother Board will not power up as there is not enough power to start with.

So in haste I order an unbranded 850w Sli capable PSU from 'The dreaded ebay !' , I won't say who the seller is, but its an AlphaPower 850w psu for around £35. Yep I know - and I have learnt my lesson now.
It was in for about 4 hours, I was going real easy on it too, tried an easy low grade benchmark, powered off, had to turn on again. Then I was simply downloading a patch for STO truth be told. Then BANG !!!, nice blue flame out the top and that fabled smell and half way to spoiling myself in the process.

Looking inside the PSU through the vents in the casing I see the fuse gone and I hear rattling inside. I've asked the seller NOT to replace the PSU but refund me as I hope scan will do as well - though I know how they like to fight these things " It works perfectly Sir. If not its your fault, you must have done something wrong - we cannot possible have faulty components on sale - the ones we never test and stare at on the shelves until someone buys it " etc etc. Not looking forward to that.

But in any case, the EZcool died, though thankfully not so dramatically. But can it truly handle SLi ? NO !
The Alphapower 850w, can that ( even with all the cables and plugs it has, quiet a lot actually ) handle Sli ? CERTAINLY NOT ! And that may well have taken half my other components with it. Never touching one of those again for sure- HIGHLY DANGEROUS I feel. If I had my head over it, or a child or cat ( yes I have a sick sense of humour ) there would be a mix of burnt odours when then that PSU blew !

So my lesson is, 650w Sli by EZstool, not up to the task. AlphaPants 850w Sli ( a mere 10amps per rail, seriously ? But correct me if I read the specs wrong ) most deffinately not up to the task. Be warned ! And be safe !!

I am now looking at the other end of the spectrum, something like the Antec 1200w Truepower Quatrro ( noting they have some extra bits on the leads to ensure stable Sli/X-fire loads ), a whopping £150+, but one would hope that when running something, you will get what you ask and not a strong chance of the fizz-bang " OMG ! " moments.

Something to add ( for the sake of it ) I've noted sometimes when a shut down happens when trying a cenchmark ( IE Futuremark stuff and Crysis ), switching Direct X has stopped it happening. IE DX 11 or even 10 on Crysis and the system would shut off, but set to 9c and it would be OK. Not sure if thats coincidence or not though.

But in any case, when you ask the PSU to supply ample juice to the GPU's..... be ready for a surprise - we hope a good one !

Any thoughts on suitable PSU's, let me know. Any other thoughts - add away as this may help others too later on.

( My newly built but seldom used - yet - system which is in no way Overclocked I must add, all stock settings for now ):

- A+ twin 250mm fan, 256 colour case ( you can turn the fans and/or lights off by the way ).
- Empty space where a DECENT psu needs to be, some burn marks around that area now included.
- Gigabyte 990FXA UD-7 Mother board on the 10b Beta Bios ( STILL throttles my memory back and slows down my SSD ).
- x2 Gainward Nvidia GTX460 768mb cards in SLi set up.
- AMD 8150 water cooled.
- Gskillls Ripjaws 1866mhz 16gb ( x2 8gb units, running at sub 700mhz thanks to the bios, grrr )
- Kingston hyper X 3k 120gb SSD ( should be at 6gb/s but benchmark says a lame 82mb write speeds ? )
- Pioneer BDXL quad layer Blu-ray drive
- Equiped with multiple curses laid upon it from gigabytes Bios holding my memory and SSD right back, and the PSU conundrum thats wasting a lot of my money with no results - heck I've not even had 10 minutes of stability to try a game yet ! )

NB) I contacted Gigabyte about the memory and SSD, the reply ( literally and I quote ) was " Download bios 10b beta, set memory to profile 1 ". I got about 100mhz more to the memory, no change to the SSD.
a c 158 ) Power supply
August 9, 2012 1:43:14 PM

It would have been cheaper than the combined cost of the other two PSUs....and any potential component damage from your flame outs...
Related resources
August 9, 2012 1:48:41 PM

I am trying to edit my spelling errors in the first post but I can't. Sorry about that.

Anyway, thank you for the links and thoughts - very good ! Straight away I see the XFX core 650w has a decent 53amp single rail ! Much better.

Just a note I forgot to add to the first post, and I am sure most people know this anyway, but my GPU's require two PCI-E power plugs each. The EZcool had only the 2 so I had to use the Molex adapters which meant I had none left for the case fans effectively. The AlphaExplosion had 8 molex and 2 pci-e plugs which was better. It just makes me wonder though about just how much power the GPU's are taking off the PSU when running full pelt, along with the fans on them as well.

Thanks again ! Much appreciated !
a c 158 ) Power supply
August 9, 2012 1:52:38 PM

A single GTX 460 uses about 154W at full load. Take a look at this system testing done with a highly overclocked, power-hungry i7 965:
The entire PC used just under 310W at full load; it's doubtful that your system will consume more power than that. I always recommed buying a PSu with sufficient PCIe power connectors instead of using molex adapters. A good quality 550-600W PSU would likely be electrically sufficient for your build but wouldn't have the required connectors. The XFX is about the least expensive, quality PSU that meets your needs.
August 9, 2012 4:21:39 PM

Spot on ! Thank you !!

I have just ordered an XFX 850w ( just to be safe, there is the two 250mm fans as well sapping a bit of power ). Hopefully I will get my money back on the other two ( about £50 all in all, so only paid another £37 to get a decent PSU ).

IF my system is still alive after the blow out then I can go back to trying to get the stupid bios to run my memory at the 1866 or at least close enough. I think I ought to try and cool the GPU's better as well because I noticed that Gainwards Expertool monitors and adjusts the temperature and fan speed only on the one card, not the other - when running speccy I see card 1 at say 36 degrees, the other at 52 ! Alter the fan speed, and only one card changes, the other remains at idle. Anyway, topic for another thread.

If this would benefit from an update on how the XFX goes then I can do such, but if its not of any benefit then this thread can be closed I guess - thanks Rugger !
a c 158 ) Power supply
August 9, 2012 5:21:44 PM

A 120-140mm fan pulls maybe 2W at full speed; your fans will only pull 5 max at full speed. The only thing that you could do to significantly increase your power draw is overclocking the CPU/GPU. The 650W would actually be good for a moderate-high amount of OCing. You definitely won't be putting any stress on your PSU even at full loads.
a c 158 ) Power supply
August 9, 2012 5:23:06 PM

I'd be interested in hearing about how the XFX works out for you.
a b ) Power supply
August 9, 2012 5:38:52 PM

Rugger said:
A 120-140mm fan pulls maybe 2W at full speed

3-8W seems more typical among fans I have looked at. While a fair bit more than what you claimed, it is still negligible compared to how much headroom people usually have on their PSUs as you were trying to point out.
a c 158 ) Power supply
August 9, 2012 6:00:34 PM

InvalidError: Good catch.

Ultimate: The best ay to estimate how much power a fan will use is to use the mfrs spec on how many amps the fan will draw and multiply that number by 12V. The amperage rating is usually foud on the hub of the fan or should be available at the mfrs website. For example, these Rexus 250mm fans are .4A +/- 10% and that means the max amperage draw is rated at .44A. .44 X 12 = 5.28W The fans that I personally use in my case are Yate Loon D12SL-12; quiet and inexpensive. They're rated at .3A or 3.6W at full speed.

Edit: Adding link to Yate Loo fans:
August 10, 2012 1:18:54 PM

PSU arrived today, straight away the whole thing is in a class of its own. Big box, foam packing, even comes with a power lead etc. And more SATA plugs than I ( or most people ) would ever need ! And a 5 year warranty, great stuff !

I have installed it, and thankfully all the components seem to be ok since the blow out of the last psu. I've left it running ( its been about an hour so far and also resat the CPU cooler/pump so letting the thermal compound settle as well ) and so far its Okay and still going without issue. Noteworthy perhaps is the memory issue with the gigabyte board is being slightly more cooperative though still a total pain and not letting me have anything near the full 1866mhz ( its around the 887 area so far, but thats more than the other psus would let me have without being funny about it ) I would not believe the psu would have any effect if I were not seemingly seeing it with my own weary eyes. Obviously voltage ratings all round are much better and more stable as well.

I just have this horrible paranoia now and really feel extremely hesitant to run a benchmark or anything other than the basics in case the psu blows again. Stupid I know, but after 2 dying I have a nasty stigma in my mind as a result and I'm not sure I can handle another surprise all out the blue !
a c 158 ) Power supply
August 10, 2012 1:42:54 PM

A Seasonic-made XFX is definitely not an EZool or Alphadog PSU....don't be afraid to run benchmarks and stress-test the PC! The only way that you're going to get more comfortable is by testing and building confidence - enjoy a great PSU!
August 10, 2012 4:09:42 PM

Well so far the PSU has been holding up fine and running pretty cool even under load so I think that part of things has been won thanks to your help !

Next issue will be a new thread though - 3Dmark 06 runs, but is running poor ( aided by the memory hold up ). But 3Dmark vantage and 3D mark 11 will run for a few minutes then the screen goes dead ( or my guess is the GPU's ). Took a few reboots to get windows booting fully, but it was passing POST no problems. This stupid expertool thing only reading and cooling 1 GPU not both is a massive let down though and surely not helping. Anyway, thats a heads up for my next thread before I give up completely on this project :pt1cable: 

Thanks again for the help - here is hoping the decent PSU will hold fort and so far it seems positive. Before when trying vantage or 11 benchmarks it would shut down completely before loading the first scene.

Lesson learnt the hard way - AVOID CHEAP PSU's, especially on SLi set ups. XFX has a great reputation and I can certainly confirm that with everything about it - great units for the money !
a c 158 ) Power supply
August 10, 2012 5:19:29 PM

Post a link to the new thread in here if you're not going to do the new thread in the PSU section. I usually don't stray too far from here, but I'm definitely willing to chime in and help.