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My Antec True430 ps blew! Has it happened to any?

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December 16, 2002 3:34:43 AM

I assembled a computer about a week ago with all brand new parts. The setup info is below. The power supply I chose was the Antec TruePower 430 Watt psu, which I purchased after reading dozens of great reviews, ratings, and forums posts about it. I assembled and installed everything and set up Windows XP on it and installed all the basic drivers and software and everything ran just fine for a week. I also had the system hooked up to a surge protector and a Belkin 800VA UPS, so the power my computer was getting was very clean and controlled. I was not overclocking any components. I checked the BIOS and some xp diagnostic programs and there was no voltage drop in the power supply. The whole system looked like it was in perfect working order...

Then this morning, during a routine reboot, the Antec True430 PSU suddenly made this LOUD noise that sorta sounded like a terrible scratching / buzzing sound, and the power supply started smoking and giving off little bits of sparks. I dove for the power cord and unplugged the computer. After my pulse returned, I tried to see if any of the connections were loose and if any power cords were out of place. Everything inside the case looked fine except for the smoking psu...

I'm scared as hell now. I already filled out an RMA on the power supply. And it's a hassle not to have a working computer for a while, but that's not my main concern. I'm worried sick that the power supply could have damaged my other expensive components when it blew. This is supposed to be one of the best power supplies on the market, and 430 watts should have been more than enough for my system. I guess I was just very unlucky and got a defective unit. I'm wondering whether I should replace it with the same psu or go for something else (I had the Vantec VAN-520A in mind - more expensive but with more power and also very good reviews).

I could really use any kind of advice, stories of similar experiences, ideas, suggestions, whatever. Thanks in advance guys. I might run to a local store tomorrow and buy a psu just to see if the rest of my system got damaged. I'm gonna cry if my power supply fried something else... Meanwhile, I'm biting my nails and posting on the forums for ideas using someone else's computer... sigh...


Setup:

Belkin 800VA 450 watts UPS
Antec TruePower 430 watts psu
Asus P4PE mobo /w GBLan/Sata/Raid
P4 2.53 Ghz
ATI Radeon 9700 Pro
2x Western Digital SE 80 Gb HD in RAID 0 setup
IBM Deskstar 60 gig (backup reasons)
NEC Floppy drive
Lite-On 40x CD burner
Lite-On 16x DVD drive
Creative Audigy 2 Platinum
5x 80mm quiet case fans
December 16, 2002 4:34:24 AM

I did not have experience with Antec True Power PSU. I have some stability problem with older model Antec PSU. Now I use Enermax PSU in my computer and did not experience any problem.
December 16, 2002 5:10:16 AM

Like anyhthing electrical, power supplies can just die without reason. Being a good unit, it should've been built to specifications that reduce the risk of it frying the motherboard etc, but electricity is a funny thing.

Look at it this way, the chances of the motherboard etc. getting fried by an event like this would have been much greater if you had used a cheap power supply.
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December 16, 2002 9:09:26 AM

As I have always said 99.99% of the time there is no difference between expensive PSU`s and cheap PSU`s. You might be lucky with your parts you might not. I would say it is a 50/50 chance they are fried. I would suggest praying to be on the safe side if you believe in such a thing. (I personaly dont though)

"Look at it this way, the chances of the motherboard etc. getting fried by an event like this would have been much greater if you had used a cheap power supply."

That is a complete load of crap. There is an equal chance of damage between expensive PSU`s and cheap PSU`s. People are nearly always better off (except for some rare circumstances) getting just a cheap (not too cheap though) PSU.
AREA_51
December 16, 2002 10:26:32 AM

Uhm... some cheap PSUs don't have surge protectors build inside that try to protect your components when the PSU goes bad.

But I really hope for him that his components are all ok. And he wont need a higher PSU for his system.

My PC eats so much money that I'm in 'desperate' need of it to buy PC3200 RAM!
--- PM me for information.
December 16, 2002 2:12:36 PM

Quote:
As I have always said 99.99% of the time there is no difference between expensive PSU`s and cheap PSU`s. You might be lucky with your parts you might not. I would say it is a 50/50 chance they are fried.

I would have to disagree. I think that there is a big difference between cheap and expensive PSU's. Expensive PSU's still die, but I believe at a much lower rate. Also cheaper PSU's aren't labeled very accurately with the wattage because they base it off of certain voltages. Expensive ones are usually good up to the specified wattage no matter what voltages you are using. (you can get all 300 watts from just one voltage if you wanted)

I also believe that you can get a 'good enough' cheap PSU. How often do you need to use all 300 watts from the same voltage? Having your PSU fry was unfortunate, but I would recommend still going with another Antec PSU or another recognized name brand with good reviews.
December 16, 2002 3:54:20 PM

Literally hundreds of companies manufacture PC power supplies and how do you know there is no difference between them 99.99% of the time? What is your statement based on?
I do not agree with you because personal experience different PSU and reviews from toms's hardware's and other sites that show the quality of PSU can vary greatly.
December 16, 2002 11:41:51 PM

I know because I have sold enough computers in the past 3 years or so to know that cheap PSU`s do not have as many problems as is commonly belived. I never had a single problem in around 70 computers with DIFFERENT PSU`s in every one. (Different because of what was the cheapest Case+PSU at the time) But just because I never had any problems doesnt mean it is impossible so thats why it is 99.99%. But the majority of the time it is stupid wasting money on a brand name PSU when a generic PSU will do the exact same job for a LOT less cost. And as I said there is an equal chance between generic PSU`s and brand PSU`s causing damage to your components. I point out that there seem to be more posts on this forum and on a few other forums I watch about brand name PSU`s exploding or killing components than generic PSU`s. So let the numbers speak for themselves.
AREA_51
December 17, 2002 2:05:26 AM

No matter what the outside says, you have to look on the actual board to see who manufactures the parts.

There's a couple of things that the "expensive" psu's give you.

quiet fans.
over-load shutdown.

The quiet fans you can swap out yourself, but it takes time and a little skill. The over-load protection is worth it, though. Especially if you KNOW you're strapping that psu hard.


Bad psu's happen. I think they happen much more often with the REALLY cheap ass power supplies (like $15 for a 300w psu). Varnish is varnish, but some put a little thicker coat on...

"I personally think filesystems should be rewritten from scratch every 5 years..." --- Hans Reiser
December 17, 2002 6:43:14 AM

As a professional I took time to skim through things like the <A HREF="http://www.formfactors.org/developer/specs/atx/atx12vPS..." target="_new">ATX12V specification</A> because I consider it part of my job. As a fellow professional I would expect you to do the same. I can't say that I've seen enough PSU's die to be able to say for sure that my statement is true. But if you've only sold and supported 70 machines, then neither have you.

I currently support a network of 500+ PC's, 36 printers and 27 servers spread out over 138KM's. Over the past 3 years, we have had power supplies replaced in 7 PC's, 6 wireless access points, 3 switches, and 1 server. Out of those, the PSU's in 2 of the PC's and one of the switches blew up in a similar way as described in the original post. Out of all of those, no other components were damaged.

In previous jobs, I have seen PSU's die and take out other components, but on the whole, they were cheap PSU's. Maybe I've only seen a bad cross-section of what the lower end of PSU components has to offer, but the majority of other techies out there I talk to (including the others that you see here) generally tend to agree with me.
December 17, 2002 11:19:25 AM

I am not classed as a professional in the IT area. I am more of a back yard person that has WAAY to much time on his hands. :-) I just serve my local town though. Anyway no one is going to get me to change what I say about PSU`s. Anyway I am not going to persue this issue any more it is just a waste of time.
AREA_51
December 17, 2002 1:41:17 PM

Quote:
Anyway no one is going to get me to change what I say about PSU`s.

That is fine if you want to state your arrogance. I am not saying that you aren't right (it wouldn't do me any good), but you are saying that even if you were presented with definate proof that you would still not change your mind. Fine with me, but I think that it is still important to the original poster to know that the majority of people in the technical area still see a difference in power supplies.

I have not built that many computers (around 10) and among those few I have had two computers have problems because of the generic power supply that came shipped with the case. One smoked, the other just provided bad power so that the CD-RW drive had problems and then died, then the DVD-ROM died, then we checked the voltages and swapped the power supply before any other hardware was killed. Also electrical problems void most warranties so that generic PSU ended up costing me a lot more money in the long run than it would have cost me to get a decent one from the start.
December 17, 2002 2:20:45 PM

If someone can provide me proof fine. But I have never seen any proof yet that brand name PSU`s are that much better than generic PSU`s that they are worth the fantastic expensive price of them compared to a generic one. ($150 350W ernamax PSU compared to 350W PSU AND case for $80 for a quality goldenfield case here in AUS) There are a few rare cases I have seen on these forums with generic PSU`s causing problem yes. I would be a fool to say otherwise. But I have seen a lot more cases of brand name PSU`s blowing up and also in some cases destroying components. And I may be arrogent but that is because I am right most of the time (granted not all the time) so I have a right to be so. I would find it unbelieveable if there wernt other people the same. It is a fact of human nature. Anyway I proberly went against what I said by replying to this comment. I had said I would drop it. But anyway who cares.
AREA_51

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by vk2amv on 12/17/02 11:21 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
December 17, 2002 10:31:56 PM

You see a lot more brand name PSU's have issues on forums because by and large forum users are early adopters and/or buy these in greater volume's then any particular 'generic' PSU.

So yes you'll see a number of these kinds of threads and you'll start to think "OMG PSU company P really sucks, I've seen 20 people have problems with them on the forums." Yes 20 is not something to laugh at, but figure we probably sell that more then that in a week at our ecommerce site alone. (I could say something wild like we sell that many an hour, but really I have no way to prove that).

Also for the original poster he's under our 3 year warranty for replacement.

AntecRep
December 18, 2002 12:08:38 AM

I am only going to reply to the warranty statement because I had sworn not to reply about the PSU subject any more. Just for the record ALL generic PSU`s I have used have a MINIMUM of 1 year warranty and a couple had 3 years. Tough I admit only a couple had the 3 years. The vast majority had 1 year.
AREA_51
December 18, 2002 12:19:10 AM

Would <A HREF="http://mixpc.zoovy.com/product/GOLD_350" target="_new">this</A> be the power supply that ships with the cases you buy? If so, it's not that bad a PSU if the specs are to be beleived. It may be ideal for someone who wnts a budget PC. But as far as reasons why you'd buy a brand name PSU over these, you've got to be happy with a 3 year warranty on a power supply.
December 18, 2002 12:39:51 AM

Its not that one. Though it is a 350watter that I use. Most of what was written there is valid except the PSU model there. But it was just the PSU that came with the case that I use. I dont know what model they are. They are the really nice big charcoal cases with the side opening levers if that helps. (Havnt had one in a while.)
AREA_51
December 18, 2002 6:11:49 PM

Quote:
I dont know what model they are. They are the really nice big charcoal cases with the side opening levers if that helps.

Sounds like you weren't getting the cheapest case around... expecially since you said in an earlier post that the case with the power supply still cost $80.00 Most quality cases ship with decent power supplies. I don't think that you have to go with Antec or Enermax to get a quality one. They do have good reputations though.

I imagine that if you were buying the cheapest cases you could find that you probably wouldn't have had 70 success stories.

I started out getting the cheapest because the people I was building for never opened their case so it didn't need to be easy to work in. Anyway, when the case and power supply cost less than $40.00 together, you usually end up with a crappy power supply that is much more prone to problems than the power supplies in your $80.00 cases.
December 18, 2002 6:40:47 PM

$80 for case and PSU is not that cheap. I get my Antec 1030B for $80. You can get cheap case with PSU for around $30.
December 18, 2002 6:59:53 PM

Quote:
$80 for case and PSU is not that cheap. I get my Antec 1030B for $80. You can get cheap case with PSU for around $30

Very true. That is what I was trying to say. But like was said earlier, buying an $80.00 case with a power supply is much cheaper than paying $150.00 on a power supply and even more on a case.

I was considering the 'generic' power supplies to be among those that you get with your $30.00 cases. I don't really trust them and I would say name brand PSU's are definately worth it.
December 18, 2002 8:50:35 PM

Well, it seems like I have a little bit of good news in the midst of all this chaos... After my psu blew, I was so worried that the very next day I took out my girlfriend's power supply from her Dell system and brought it over to my place for some testing. The Dell power supply was rated at 170w/250w max, so I thought I'd be safer testing a few components at a time, just in case. I plugged in some basic components and my system didn't even post. I thought CRAAAAAP my components are fried. But I switched around some of the components and I was able to boot into XP with my RAID drives! I didn't have the time to test and benchmark everything, but everything seemed to be working fine. So I shut down and started connecting the other devices and testing them one by one. My dvd and cd drives seemed fine, but no matter what I tried, I could not even get the system to post with my IBM Deskstar 60 gig connected. I thought it was dead, since I've read countless posts about how these drives fail easily (even though mine's served me well 24/7 for over a year).

So I took my girlfriend's psu back to her place, and I also took the IBM hd with me. After I connected the IBM hd to her Dell, I went into BIOS but the bios wouldn't recognize the device and would list it as "unknown." At this point, I was pretty darn sure it was a goner and boot into her xp anyway. But when XP booted up, it detected the correct device driver for my IBM 60 gig and set it up automatically. I was ecstatic. I ran a full disk surface scan and virus scan just to make sure it was working, which is was. Then I reboot once again and went into the BIOS. This time around, the BIOS recognized the disk drive. I thought it was a miracle. The only explanation I can think of is that somehow the psu shorting out might have shocked my IBM hd and disrupted its firmware or onboard memory or something, and the xp bootup reset it. In any case, I was ecstatic.

Even though I got a defective unit that blew up on me, I'm grateful that at least the psu must have had some protection features that saved my other components from frying. I put in a RMA request to NewEgg and sent the psu back. As always, NewEgg was GREAT and very fast and waived the restocking fee also. I should be getting the new psu this Friday or next Monday. I really hope my other components are in full working order, and chances are, they are. But I won't know for sure until I install the new psu and test it out. I'll come back and post here once everything's working.

And also, AntecRep is completely right. There's a statistical fallacy involved here. There are many reasons why you hear about so many more brand name psu's blowing out, especially on forums like this. First, people who post in forums like this are usually much more hardware-saavy than the average user and are much more likely to buy brand name psu's like Antec. Also, when a cheap, generic psu blows out, it's almost expected and it's no big deal. But when a brand name psu blows out, then it's a much bigger deal and people feel compelled to post about it and get answers, etc. Also, people whose cheap, generic psu's blow out might not want to post on forums like this because they might get replies like "Why did you buy a cheap psu in the first place? Don't you know how important it is?" And finally, you hear a lot more stories about brand name psu's like Antec TruePowers blowing out because they're very popular among consumers and there's simply more units out there than other ones.

I know Antec is a good company, and I'll probably try them again in the future. However, I'm gonna go with a different psu this time just for a peace of mind. Also, I've read many posts about problems associated with the combination of Audigy 2, Asus P4PE mobo, and Antec TruePower psu's. Nobody knows which component is causing the problem, but I'd rather just play it safe. Sorry Antec, the psu was great and very quiet while it lasted. Well, at least I bought the Antec Power Supply Tester with my new psu =D
December 19, 2002 2:44:20 AM

I think what's getting lost in this argument (cheap vs. expensive) is the fact that a failing power supply is often insidious. Perhaps it'll start with a random reboot or corrupted data. Either event will drive a person insane. When I build systems for people they want mostly high end stuff. With that comes a responsibility on my part to ensure that their high end stuff (which will draw more current) is protected and that their systems are stable. Why? Because once I ship out a system, I don't ever want to see it again. I don't need anyone calling me up complaining that their system crashes or reboots or whatever. Now I just built an el-cheapo system for somebody but that's what they wanted. I told them that the generic PS that came with the case may not hold up and explained to him about data corruption, exploding capacitors, etc. He was fine with that. Okay. But at least I did my job and warned him. Just my 2 cents.

To start press any key. Where's the "any" key? --Homer Simpson.
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