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Own A Corsair 550W ATX12V. Does new system require an upgrade?

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September 3, 2012 3:06:06 PM

Hi all,

I'm a first time builder, have all my parts picked out, but need some advice on the power supply. About a year ago, the PSU on my Dell was failing so I purchased the Corsair 550W ATX12V power supply from Amazon for $89.99 to replace it. Now that I am deciding to build my own computer, I am wondering if I can get away with using the same PSU or if I should upgrade. I understand the PSU is extremely important, so I don't want to skimp out. However, if an upgrade isn't highly recommended, I would enjoy saving some money :) 

System use: Mainly for gaming, pretty heavy photoshop/illustrator use, some light video editing, and other normal computer stuff.

Here is my part's list:

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/gqjW
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/gqjW/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/gqjW/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($209.99 @ NCIX US)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus 76.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($23.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($114.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($44.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Sandisk Extreme 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($96.98 @ Outlet PC)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7870 2GB Video Card ($247.55 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair 400R ATX Mid Tower Case ($89.98 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Corsair 550W ATX12V Power Supply ($89.99 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($19.98 @ Outlet PC)
Monitor: Samsung S24B350HL 23.6" Monitor ($189.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $1288.40
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-09-03 11:02 EDT-0400)

I really appreciate your help, and of course, if you have any other advice, feel free to let me know!
September 3, 2012 3:55:07 PM

Your existing Corsair will suffice - but you can do better of course. What's the model #?
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September 3, 2012 4:07:08 PM

The model # is CMPSU-550VX
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September 3, 2012 4:16:51 PM

you might want to upgrade to a newer 80Plus Silver or Gold standard, just to give you some more breathing room
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a c 243 ) Power supply
September 3, 2012 4:27:34 PM

Perfectly fine for your specs, no need to upgrade to a more efficient psu unless you're one of those tree huggers worried that a few more watts might end the world sooner
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September 3, 2012 4:34:53 PM

Haha, delluser1, I was just about to tell Dingo07 that he had convinced me to upgrade, and now I'm not so sure.

The only reason I would really want to upgrade is if using my current PSU would put my system at a higher risk of damage. I'm also considering overclocking my processor at some point in the future (you know, after the system is built...) Does this change your mind about the PSU?
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a c 243 ) Power supply
September 3, 2012 4:38:39 PM

epic_hero said:
Haha, delluser1, I was just about to tell Dingo07 that he had convinced me to upgrade, and now I'm not so sure.

The only reason I would really want to upgrade is if using my current PSU would put my system at a higher risk of damage. I'm also considering overclocking my processor at some point in the future (you know, after the system is built...) Does this change your mind about the PSU?

Not at all
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September 3, 2012 4:44:38 PM

Alright, well thanks Dingo07 and delluser1 for your recommendations. I'll think it over a bit before making my decision. If any one else is reading this and would like to offer their opinion, feel free!

And delluser, if I stick with my current PSU and the world ends the next day, don't worry, I won't hold it against you :) 
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September 3, 2012 5:34:51 PM

It all comes down to efficiency - the PSU that you have was given high praise for its innards. The question becomes, at a later date, if you put an 80% load on your exisiting PSU, there's no doubt a newer 80PlusSilver or Gold spec will perform more efficiently. That means it won't give off more heat and will still perform to the given specs. Once you start approaching 80% load on the PSU, how efficient it is really comes into play. Most PSU's are designed to operate at max efficiency with about 50-70% load.

With your exisitng PSU, you'll probably be at 80-90% load all the time, when you OC and what have you, so that's where the suggestion to get a new one comes from.
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a c 243 ) Power supply
September 3, 2012 5:48:16 PM

dingo07 said:
It all comes down to efficiency - the PSU that you have was given high praise for its innards. The question becomes, at a later date, if you put an 80% load on your exisiting PSU, there's no doubt a newer 80PlusSilver or Gold spec will perform more efficiently. That means it won't give off more heat and will still perform to the given specs. Once you start approaching 80% load on the PSU, how efficient it is really comes into play. Most PSU's are designed to operate at max efficiency with about 50-70% load.

With your exisitng PSU, you'll probably be at 80-90% load all the time, when you OC and what have you, so that's where the suggestion to get a new one comes from.

There's a PSU sticky at the top of the page, there's information on psu efficiency, you should read it
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Best solution

a b ) Power supply
September 3, 2012 5:50:51 PM

The power supply will be absolutely fine. The VX series were Corsairs old budget series which were universally praised for its quality and efficiency (especially compared to the new CX budget line).

A high quality unit such as this will have negligible decrease in efficiency due to caps being worked hard etc because they use high quality japanese manufactured ones and not Chinese ones from the mainland.

Furthermore, what dingo is saying about the load is absolutely false. Your system will run around 200-250w during standard gaming operations and under 100 when idle or surfing the web. Add another 100w 'safe zone' for overclocking and the only place it'll possibly get into the 350-400 range is under extreme stress tests that are irrelevant to every day usage. Completely fine for a high quality 550w unit.
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September 3, 2012 8:11:48 PM

Let me make the point that I was the very first one to tell the OP that his PSU will be absolutely fine.

and why do some people Make it A Point to Try and make people look like they have no idea wat they're talking about... when they do!
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September 3, 2012 11:47:10 PM

No worries, Dingo07, I appreciate everyone's advice/expertise and am very grateful for your help! Your debate was actually helpful because it laid the arguments out on the table for me. It's nice to hear "you should do X or Y" but it's even better to hear why I should do those things.

Anyway, it sounds like the consensus is while yes, I could get a newer/more efficient PSU, mine will work fine for what I'm trying to make. That said, for the time being, I'm going to stick with what I have. Again, thank you all very much for your suggestions!
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September 15, 2012 12:03:40 AM

Best answer selected by epic_hero.
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