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Part 2: Four Cheap 80 PLUS Bronze Power Supplies, Reviewed

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a b ) Power supply
August 28, 2013 10:13:06 PM

You guys aught to make a power supply hierarchy chart.
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25
August 28, 2013 10:50:03 PM

Please, if you could say , if the power supply is compatible with Haswell .I think this is very important .
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1
Related resources
August 28, 2013 11:49:55 PM

I second that request. Does ANY of those PSUs support the new Haswell C7 state?
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-2
August 29, 2013 2:09:43 AM

There's also a CX500M...
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4
August 29, 2013 2:13:53 AM

I am not sure why you think that a 40w bulb is purely resistive. Almost all bulb filaments are coiled, which makes them inductive. For example, http://www.donsbulbs.com/cgi-bin/r/b.pl/h4652|12.8v|40w|60w~usa.html shows a 12v 40w bulb filament, which is coiled.

Perhaps you should measure the inductance of your bulbs, rather than just stating they are purely resistive.
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0
August 29, 2013 3:09:47 AM

A couple different PSUs for different applications. I use the Corsair CX 430 & 500 for budget gaming builds, and just this week I ordered the Seasonic for the first time for a home server build. Nice to see those choices validated.

Thanks guys, nice article!
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0
a c 122 ) Power supply
August 29, 2013 3:53:01 AM

Quote:
In spite of its low price, no important components fall victim to cost cutting.


In the CX500. I think Samxon caps count as cost cutting.
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4
August 29, 2013 3:54:32 AM

I have recommended the CX500 many times to budget builders and now I feel better about it. It is the clear winner. Funny TH says it is loud but it was nearly identical to the CM 520 on their chart in DB noise.

On sale you can pick up the CX500 for $40 which is about as cheap as you will ever find any PSU. If you compare how well that Corsair backs its products, there really is no comparison - Corsair is the only choice.

As far as the Seasonic 360, why on earth would you buy a 360W PSU? I just don't see the point. While I can justify a 500W PSU to a budget builder, I really cannot comprehend recommending a 360W PSU to anyone. I feel cautious with a low wattage 500W PSU. All of these PSUs will run hot and loud if they are stressed and so moving up to a 650W or even an 850W PSU really is not that more expensive.

I got the gold rated 850W Corsair HX 850 for $144.00 on sale. I can not even begin to describe how excellent this PSU is. It runs as something around 92% efficiency under load and I have never hear the fan even come on (it may be that low fan is inaudible). It comes with a 7-year warranty and is modular.

If you are not strapped with a low budget, moving up is the only way to go. If you are, the CX 500 is a good choice.

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-9
August 29, 2013 4:32:45 AM

flong777 said:
As far as the Seasonic 360, why on earth would you buy a 360W PSU? I just don't see the point. While I can justify a 500W PSU to a budget builder, I really cannot comprehend recommending a 360W PSU to anyone.

I just ordered the Seasonic for a home server build. The higher efficiency is a plus since it will be running 24x7. Plus, the system really doesn't need the extra wattage.

PSUs run more efficiently under load. IMO, the trend has been to overkill on the PSU when it's not really needed. In reality, when you actually add up the max loads of all components a 350-450W PSU is more than enough to run most single GPU gaming builds.
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2
August 29, 2013 4:38:03 AM

jeffunit said:
I am not sure why you think that a 40w bulb is purely resistive. Almost all bulb filaments are coiled, which makes them inductive. For example, http://www.donsbulbs.com/cgi-bin/r/b.pl/h4652|12.8v|40w|60w~usa.html shows a 12v 40w bulb filament, which is coiled.

Perhaps you should measure the inductance of your bulbs, rather than just stating they are purely resistive.

It's been a while since I've been involved in DC power calculations, but these bulbs are DC bulbs. At DC steady state, what role does inductance play?
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1
August 29, 2013 4:40:43 AM

pepsimtl said:
Please, if you could say , if the power supply is compatible with Haswell .I think this is very important .


All PSUs are compatible with Haswell. It's only the C6/C7 idle states that *may* cause problems.

Any PSU that uses DC to DC for the non-primary rails will support these idle states. Most other PSUs will be just fine as well. Remember that even if the CPU is drawing almost no power, you usually have some fan, hard drive etc. that's active on the 12V rail. I've never had any problems with my 5 years old Corsair VX 450W and my 4770K with C6/C7 enabled.

Even if you end up having to disable C6/C7 sleep, it will only increase power consumption by 3W at idle. This may make a difference with laptops, but it's hardly an issue with desktops.

vertexx said:
PSUs run more efficiently under load. IMO, the trend has been to overkill on the PSU when it's not really needed. In reality, when you actually add up the max loads of all components a 350-450W PSU is more than enough to run most single GPU gaming builds.


True. PSUs only reach peak efficiency under a certain load. With an overpowered PSU, you may never load it enough for it to reach peak efficiency. A smaller PSU might end up being more efficient.

My 4770K overclocked to 4.5 GHz and a factory overclocked GTX 670 reaches 405W at the wall when stress-testing the GPU and CPU simultaneously. In games, it's at 250 - 310W depending on the game.
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4
a c 122 ) Power supply
August 29, 2013 4:42:18 AM

None at all...

Inductors react to change in current and attempt to counter it. On a constant voltage with a constant resistance, current is also constant.
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0
August 29, 2013 4:54:19 AM

Looking at those voltage spikes, I'm wondering if the DC bulbs could be the cause of that.

A couple of other guys have commented on the inductance of the light bulbs. While I don't think inductance has anything to do with DC loading at steady state, it certainly can play a role with fluctuations in DC loading (i.e. startup, shutdown, and fluctuations).

Those spikes occur at relative minimums and maximum voltages within the minor fluctuations of each PSU. If I remember correctly, that would indicate points where current is changing. Since inductance resists changes in current flow, that could cause a spike in voltage.

Interested in your thoughts on that.
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0
a c 122 ) Power supply
August 29, 2013 5:01:37 AM

Retest with a lot of NiChrome wire in a bucket?
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-1
a b ) Power supply
August 29, 2013 5:18:57 AM

vertexx said:
Looking at those voltage spikes, I'm wondering if the DC bulbs could be the cause of that.

Unless lightbulbs which are passive devices have something in them that can generate glitch energy at over 10MHz, no.

The spikes are caused by impulse noise that occurs during the brief cross-conduction when switching elements inside the PSU toggle from forward rectifiers to free-wheeling rectifiers. For the few nanoseconds it takes for one device to turn on and the other to turn off, both will be conducting at the same time and this will momentarily short out the transformer's output. Although this cross-conduction is generally undesirable, some of it is necessary since without it, EMF from output inductors could destroy synchronous rectifiers.

In a real-world application, the PSU would have over 10 000uF worth of extra capacitance from the motherboard which should considerably reduce if not eliminate most of the (very-)high-frequency noise from the PSU visible from the motherboard's point of view.
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August 29, 2013 5:25:40 AM

Someone Somewhere said:

Unless lightbulbs which are passive devices have something in them that can generate glitch energy at over 10MHz, no.

I'm not saying this is definitely the reason, but a passive inductive load absolutely can cause a voltage spike with a fluctuation in current. Although your answer sounds a lot more smarter than mine.

But the theory is sound - more detailed explanation here:
http://www.daycounter.com/Articles/Inductive-Voltage-Sp...
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a c 126 ) Power supply
August 29, 2013 5:30:26 AM

Over at HardwareSecrets, there's a guy named c.hegge who is an Australian PSU reviewer. He has documented how bad the Samxon "GF" capacitors are. They don't like heat, and tend to fail. He has recapped Corsair "CX" PSUs with capacitor problems. This is also described on the badcaps.org forums. The Corsair CX reviews well, and looks great when new, but I won't buy or recommend them, especially in gaming PCs that tend to run warm.
Of this batch of PSUs, I'd take the Seasonic every time. As Vertexx points out, it offers sufficient wattage for most PCs with a single graphics card using just one PCIe power connector.
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5
a b ) Power supply
August 29, 2013 6:01:51 AM

vertexx said:
I'm not saying this is definitely the reason, but a passive inductive load absolutely can cause a voltage spike with a fluctuation in current.

Not if the voltage spike is too short for the inductor's current to change by a significant amount.

Also, a passive load being excited at 200-500kHz by the PSU's ripple voltage would not mysteriously generate noise at over 10MHz no matter how capacitive or inductive it might be unless you make/break contact but then it wouldn't be quite a passive load anymore since it is being actively switched on/off.

Additionally, the back-EMF spike only applies when you are attempting to disconnect an inductive load before its current drops to zero. Here, the light bulbs remain connected to the PSU so there would be no make/break spikes from whatever inductance those bulbs might have as described in your link.
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a b ) Power supply
August 29, 2013 7:28:00 AM

For those who worry about the inductance of the light bulb, remember that the inductance is proportional to the amount of electrons in the conductor, and therefore, for a length of wire, is proportional to the length and diameter of the wire, as well as the conductance of the wire.

To put it in perspective, the wire in a coiled incandescent light bulb (there are non-coiled ones) is very very thin (sub-milimeter), and about 60 cm long (2 feet). Therefore, the max inductance of the wire is about the same as a single strand of a stranded wire in the PSU wiring or the bench-test box wiring, and thus, much much less than the total inductance of the system, just due to wiring alone. In this way, Toms correctly considered the inductance of the light bulbs to be negligible, when compared to the principal resistance of the light bulb (the resistance of the bulb-wire is high, particularly when it is heated up).
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0
a c 715 ) Power supply
August 29, 2013 7:36:40 AM

Great to see PSU reviews again at Toms. After these two I am glad I vent with the Antec HCG400 when I needed a spare last year.
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1
August 29, 2013 7:56:06 AM

Maxx_Power said:
For those who worry about the inductance of the light bulb, remember that the inductance is proportional to the amount of electrons in the conductor, and therefore, for a length of wire, is proportional to the length and diameter of the wire, as well as the conductance of the wire.

To put it in perspective, the wire in a coiled incandescent light bulb (there are non-coiled ones) is very very thin (sub-milimeter), and about 60 cm long (2 feet). Therefore, the max inductance of the wire is about the same as a single strand of a stranded wire in the PSU wiring or the bench-test box wiring, and thus, much much less than the total inductance of the system, just due to wiring alone. In this way, Toms correctly considered the inductance of the light bulbs to be negligible, when compared to the principal resistance of the light bulb (the resistance of the bulb-wire is high, particularly when it is heated up).

Makes sense.
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1
a b ) Power supply
August 29, 2013 10:08:26 AM

flong777 said:
As far as the Seasonic 360, why on earth would you buy a 360W PSU? I just don't see the point. While I can justify a 500W PSU to a budget builder, I really cannot comprehend recommending a 360W PSU to anyone. I feel cautious with a low wattage 500W PSU. All of these PSUs will run hot and loud if they are stressed and so moving up to a 650W or even an 850W PSU really is not that more expensive.
A 360W PSU actually serves quite a few purposes in the lower-cost category. Vertexx already mentioned a home office server, but this would also do very well for a basic home office desktop, a casual gaming rig ( anything up to a 7850, ) or even a workstation for the 3D tinkerer. Considering how hard it can be to find a quality low-wattage PSU for basic use, I'm actually pretty exited about this product. In such a case, the Seasonic 360W is under a 50%-70% load and in its efficiency sweet spot. Compare that to your recommended 500W PSU that would be around 35%-50% load with poorer efficiency. And I don't fathom your definition of "loud" when this Seasonic under load is quieter than most GPUs and CPU coolers at idle.

Likewise, what is your definition of "not that more expensive"? The Seasonic 360 MSRP is $60. A quick glance at Newegg shows the cheapest 650W PSU MSRP is $70 for brands like Diablotek, Rosewill, and Raidmax. If you want a good Antec, Corsair, Seasonic, FSP, or XFX, you're into $100+ range. Yes, you can find sales and deals often that let you score a 650W down in the $60 range ( the Seasonic 620 is actually $65 right now, down from $95, ) but then you might find the 360 down in the $40s too. So again, how is a 33% price increase "not that more expensive"? It gets even funnier that you're recommending 850W since you're lucky to find those under $100 even on sale ( MSRP usually around $150+. ) You do know that you can't even begin to stress that PSU without serious OCing and multiple GPUs, right?

The fact is a PSU runs better above 50% load than below it. Dropping a 650W PSU into anything below a mid-high range gaming computer is an absolute waste of power capacity and money. Going above that wattage for the same system is even more absurd.
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3
a c 126 ) Power supply
August 29, 2013 11:04:02 AM

I've used three of the Seasonic 360G PSUs recently. They are silent, and absolutely strong enough for the non-gamer PCs in which I used them.
The only reason I could not use one in my "Omega" build is because of the number of drives. I have a SSD plus a RAID1 pair. I also have a system backup drive, plus an optical drive. That's one more SATA device than the number of SATA connectors available. I can't use an adapter, because although only 2/3 molex are needed for the top SATA dock and fans, the one free one is too far away to reach the drive cages.
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2
August 29, 2013 12:22:39 PM

Check your specs on the Seasonic. I'm staring at mine, and it's rated for 30A on a single 12V rail, 16A at 5V, and 12A at 3.3V. A full 360W at 12V and 80W max between the 3.3V and 5V.
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0
a c 126 ) Power supply
August 29, 2013 12:50:30 PM

While a thorough and technical PSU article is certainly not beyond the scope of what we might see on Tom's, it hasn't been written yet. Right now, IMO the best place to go for technical information about PSUs and how they work is the tutorial articles (and sample some reviews) over at HardwareSecrets.
Unfortunately, there really is no way for a consumer to tell the difference, which is part of why so much junk gets sold. Even most technical reviews don't cover topics like the longevity of parts, just their initial ratings. The Corsair CX PSUs, for example, get good competent technical reviews, but forum articles and other postings indicate they have longevity problems due to those cheap caps.
As with so many other technical topics, I don't think there will ever be a single be-all, end-all article on the subject. Discussions of the quality of specific components will be needed as well, and as they change, a reference to forums like badcaps.org may be needed to find current information.
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1
August 29, 2013 2:27:35 PM

I have the 620W Cooler Master Silent Pro M2, and it is a really great PSU. I did a lot of research before I purchased and couldn't find any bad comments about it anywhere. Additionally, it is SUPER quiet for a budget PSU. I would recommend it to anyone.
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-2
a b ) Power supply
August 29, 2013 5:15:30 PM

flong777 said:
As with so many other technical topics, I don't think there will ever be a single be-all, end-all article on the subject.

It would be possible but require tying up thousands of dollars worth of equipment in a burn-in test for weeks if not months at a time, preferably with at least three specimens of each product under test to produce conclusive results.
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0
a b ) Power supply
August 29, 2013 6:29:58 PM

Would love to see more of these PSU reviews on Toms.

Thanks Patrick! Will this be a new trend?
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0
a b ) Power supply
August 29, 2013 6:30:49 PM

pepsimtl said:
Please, if you could say , if the power supply is compatible with Haswell .I think this is very important .


benedict78 said:
I second that request. Does ANY of those PSUs support the new Haswell C7 state?


http://techreport.com/review/24897/the-big-haswell-psu-...
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1
a b ) Power supply
August 29, 2013 6:32:09 PM

8350rocks said:
I have the 620W Cooler Master Silent Pro M2, and it is a really great PSU. I did a lot of research before I purchased and couldn't find any bad comments about it anywhere. Additionally, it is SUPER quiet for a budget PSU. I would recommend it to anyone.


Agreed. One of the few Coolermaster PSUs I have ever suggested. It was on an epic promotion the last few months.
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0
a b ) Power supply
August 29, 2013 7:53:29 PM

Novuake said:
Would love to see more of these PSU reviews on Toms.

It might happen, only on the Hub.

From what I heard, they are looking into it. But setting up a real lab is pretty expensive - using all lab-grade equipment from major players (no light bulbs or cheap substitutes) would require around 60k$ worth of gear. An ok-ish setup with "proper homebrew" stuff might be doable for under 40k$ not including furniture, room re-wiring and other infrastructure upgrades.
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0
a b ) Power supply
August 29, 2013 8:00:11 PM

InvalidError said:
Novuake said:
Would love to see more of these PSU reviews on Toms.

It might happen, only on the Hub.

From what I heard, they are looking into it. But setting up a real lab is pretty expensive - using all lab-grade equipment from major players (no light bulbs or cheap substitutes) would require around 60k$ worth of gear. An ok-ish setup with "proper homebrew" stuff might be doable for under 40k$ not including furniture, room re-wiring and other infrastructure upgrades.


Hallo Patrick. :D 

And yes, I did notice that joke, well done. :) 
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0
a b ) Power supply
August 29, 2013 8:01:28 PM

Onus said:
Over at HardwareSecrets, there's a guy named c.hegge who is an Australian PSU reviewer. He has documented how bad the Samxon "GF" capacitors are. They don't like heat, and tend to fail. He has recapped Corsair "CX" PSUs with capacitor problems. This is also described on the badcaps.org forums. The Corsair CX reviews well, and looks great when new, but I won't buy or recommend them, especially in gaming PCs that tend to run warm.
Of this batch of PSUs, I'd take the Seasonic every time. As Vertexx points out, it offers sufficient wattage for most PCs with a single graphics card using just one PCIe power connector.

I can confirm, i have fixed countless psu's, motherboards, and LCD monitors with bad samxon caps. They are crapacitors.
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1
a b ) Power supply
August 29, 2013 8:07:13 PM

Onus said:
While a thorough and technical PSU article is certainly not beyond the scope of what we might see on Tom's, it hasn't been written yet. Right now, IMO the best place to go for technical information about PSUs and how they work is the tutorial articles (and sample some reviews) over at HardwareSecrets.
Unfortunately, there really is no way for a consumer to tell the difference, which is part of why so much junk gets sold. Even most technical reviews don't cover topics like the longevity of parts, just their initial ratings. The Corsair CX PSUs, for example, get good competent technical reviews, but forum articles and other postings indicate they have longevity problems due to those cheap caps.
As with so many other technical topics, I don't think there will ever be a single be-all, end-all article on the subject. Discussions of the quality of specific components will be needed as well, and as they change, a reference to forums like badcaps.org may be needed to find current information.


The CXs are perfectly fine for low cost build and I am fine suggestive them for APU builds for example. But when "overclock" or a high end and high cost build starts to pop up, the CX is out the door.
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0
a b ) Power supply
August 29, 2013 9:00:15 PM

Novuake said:
Hallo Patrick. :D 

I'm not Patrick.

But I do know for sure that the bill goes up quickly: 10-15k$ per major component. The Chroma frame with 4x600W loads itself costs around 15k$ based on list prices. Awfully expensive for something that can be replaced by resistors or light bulbs to produce almost exactly the same effect..
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0
a b ) Power supply
August 29, 2013 9:06:50 PM

InvalidError said:
Novuake said:
Hallo Patrick. :D 

I'm not Patrick.

But I do know for sure that the bill goes up quickly: 10-15k$ per major component. The Chroma frame with 4x600W loads itself costs around 15k$ based on list prices. Awfully expensive for something that can be replaced by resistors or light bulbs to produce almost exactly the same effect..


Was being sarcastic. LOL Guess that is not clear on a forum...
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0
a b ) Power supply
August 29, 2013 10:14:48 PM

Novuake said:
Was being sarcastic. LOL Guess that is not clear on a forum...

Sarcasm does tend to not translate too well to online form... then again, my 4th wall can be pretty thick too.
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0
August 30, 2013 4:34:25 AM

Corsair 500XM is $50 at microcenter, after rebate.
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0
August 31, 2013 1:33:41 AM

"PSUs run more efficiently under load. IMO, the trend has been to overkill on the PSU when it's not really needed. In reality, when you actually add up the max loads of all components a 350-450W PSU is more than enough to run most single GPU gaming builds."

Vertex, you are right only to a point - PSUs run more efficiently up to about 50% capacity, then their efficiency declines. After that they start to heat up and go to high fan which makes a LOT of noise. For that reason a 350W - 450W PSU is not the best choice for a single GPU gaming computer. Yes the system will work and probably it will not harm the components but it will not run efficiently and it will probably run hot and noisy. A single GPU system can draw 300W - 400W at max and so a 350W PSU is NOT a smart choice. Remember that there are other components besides the GPU and CPU and they all draw power.

To upgrade to a larger more efficient PSU, the cost difference is usually $50-$75. Right now on Newegg, the Corsair HX 850 is on sale for $129.00 after rebates which is an absolute steal. I have this PSU and I have never even heard the PSU fan turn on it runs so efficiently. Even when my system is drawing just 200W, HX 850 is over 90% efficient.

It is frustrating to me to see people downgrade to cheaper PSUs when the cost difference is so minimal. Some people simply can't afford the extra $50 and I get that, but most people can. For those people who can, it is a far superior set up, even for a single GPU>
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0
a c 122 ) Power supply
August 31, 2013 1:59:50 AM

Except that a) it's only a couple of percent higher efficiency at 50% than 100%, and b) the fans aren't really that loud, and there's only maybe another 10% of heat to be dissipated.

I'd argue that another $80 on your GPU is a lot better than going from a 550W XFX to an HX850.

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0
August 31, 2013 9:35:53 PM

flong777 said:
"PSUs run more efficiently under load. IMO, the trend has been to overkill on the PSU when it's not really needed. In reality, when you actually add up the max loads of all components a 350-450W PSU is more than enough to run most single GPU gaming builds."

Vertex, you are right only to a point - PSUs run more efficiently up to about 50% capacity, then their efficiency declines. After that they start to heat up and go to high fan which makes a LOT of noise. For that reason a 350W - 450W PSU is not the best choice for a single GPU gaming computer. Yes the system will work and probably it will not harm the components but it will not run efficiently and it will probably run hot and noisy. A single GPU system can draw 300W - 400W at max and so a 350W PSU is NOT a smart choice. Remember that there are other components besides the GPU and CPU and they all draw power.

To upgrade to a larger more efficient PSU, the cost difference is usually $50-$75. Right now on Newegg, the Corsair HX 850 is on sale for $129.00 after rebates which is an absolute steal. I have this PSU and I have never even heard the PSU fan turn on it runs so efficiently. Even when my system is drawing just 200W, HX 850 is over 90% efficient.

It is frustrating to me to see people downgrade to cheaper PSUs when the cost difference is so minimal. Some people simply can't afford the extra $50 and I get that, but most people can. For those people who can, it is a far superior set up, even for a single GPU>

Look, I never said there is no place for an 850W PSU. You were the one who said "why on earth would you buy a 360W PSU? I just don't see the point." When there are plenty of cases where the 360W Seasonic is the better PSU for the application than the 850W scenario. And yes there are scenarios where the 850W is better than the 360W (i.e. a dual GPU system with an OC'd AMD cpu). The point is that higher Wattage is not always better.

You say it's frustrating to you to see people downgrading to cheaper PSUs - I never said anything about "cheaper". There are plenty of "Cheaper" high wattage PSUs. What I think is a bigger problem is that people who are ignorant to real system power requirements just think a higher wattage PSU is simply better, when it's not.

In fact, "Wattage" isn't really what counts. It's Amperage for each voltage level that you need to power the components. Here is an example. Take this Cooler Master 525W PSU:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you look at the label, it has split 12V rails with only 20A each. Usually it will have one rail supplying the CPU and the other supplying the PCIe connectors. The Seasonic happens to have a single larger 12V rail with a full 30A capacity. You'll probably be fine with the 20/20 split with the CM, but with other PSUs, you might have to be careful.

A more extreme example is this cheap ass "600W" ePower PSU.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Even though it's rated for "600W" (don't ask me how they get that rating), it only has 33A total available at 12V. So that's only 3A more than the 360W Seasonic, even though it's "rated" for 240 more Watts.

So the real problem hear is that people who don't know any better just buy the PSU with the greater "Wattage", when that is not what really counts.

Your 850W Corsair is a great PSU. But quite frankly, it's overkill for Most situations, and money spent would be better spent on other components, or just not spent at all. Note I didn't say "All" situations, because it definitely has it's place. But at 200W, I'm afraid it does not get higher than 90% efficiency:
http://www.legitreviews.com/corsair-professional-series...
In that situation, drawing 200W, you'd be much better off with the 360W Seasonic. This is because the drop-off in efficiency below 50% power is usually much sharper than the drop off above 50%. The best rule-of-thumb is to size your PSU to be typically 1.5 times your Max system load. This allows the PSU to operate in it's sweet spot of from 50-75% capacity.

Finally, you might actually look at some PSU calculators. You'd be surprised how little power some pretty powerful systems consume. As an alternative, you can just look at most GPU reviews. When they show GPU power consumption, it is usually Total System Power. Here are a couple examples showing total system power under load:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/6276/nvidia-geforce-gtx-6...
http://www.legitreviews.com/powercolor-hd7870-devil-2gb...

I'm not trying to say "why on earth would you buy an 850W PSU". It's your money, and there are certainly applications where the 850W is the right choice. Just try to understand that there are just as many applications where the 360W is the better choice for that particular application.
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0
a b ) Power supply
August 31, 2013 10:02:02 PM

$60, a gold rating and 5 year warranty make the Saesonic standout. They are considered one the top OEM PSU manufacturers for good reason; their units don't fail.

As a system builder, I would be quite willing to part for a few more dollars for a 500W unit from Seasonic. I'm not sure why the 360W unit was chosen to go up against 500W power supplies, but I would still rather buy that for a budget build.

5 year warranties are hard to find these days.

As for the Corsair builder series, I have used those any number of times because they work, are reliable, and even with a weaker warranty they do the job. But primarily Corsair is generous with rebates and I have bought both the CX 430 and CX 500 for $20-25 with free shipping on the egg. And THAT sells.
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1
September 1, 2013 2:37:49 AM

vertexx said:
flong777 said:
As far as the Seasonic 360, why on earth would you buy a 360W PSU? I just don't see the point. While I can justify a 500W PSU to a budget builder, I really cannot comprehend recommending a 360W PSU to anyone.

I just ordered the Seasonic for a home server build. The higher efficiency is a plus since it will be running 24x7. Plus, the system really doesn't need the extra wattage.

PSUs run more efficiently under load. IMO, the trend has been to overkill on the PSU when it's not really needed. In reality, when you actually add up the max loads of all components a 350-450W PSU is more than enough to run most single GPU gaming builds.


Sorry Vertex you answered my previous post above and I did not see it. I don't see a delete key for this post.
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0
September 1, 2013 3:09:35 AM

vertexx said:
flong777 said:
"PSUs run more efficiently under load. IMO, the trend has been to overkill on the PSU when it's not really needed. In reality, when you actually add up the max loads of all components a 350-450W PSU is more than enough to run most single GPU gaming builds."

Vertex, you are right only to a point - PSUs run more efficiently up to about 50% capacity, then their efficiency declines. After that they start to heat up and go to high fan which makes a LOT of noise. For that reason a 350W - 450W PSU is not the best choice for a single GPU gaming computer. Yes the system will work and probably it will not harm the components but it will not run efficiently and it will probably run hot and noisy. A single GPU system can draw 300W - 400W at max and so a 350W PSU is NOT a smart choice. Remember that there are other components besides the GPU and CPU and they all draw power.

To upgrade to a larger more efficient PSU, the cost difference is usually $50-$75. Right now on Newegg, the Corsair HX 850 is on sale for $129.00 after rebates which is an absolute steal. I have this PSU and I have never even heard the PSU fan turn on it runs so efficiently. Even when my system is drawing just 200W, HX 850 is over 90% efficient.

It is frustrating to me to see people downgrade to cheaper PSUs when the cost difference is so minimal. Some people simply can't afford the extra $50 and I get that, but most people can. For those people who can, it is a far superior set up, even for a single GPU>

Look, I never said there is no place for an 850W PSU. You were the one who said "why on earth would you buy a 360W PSU? I just don't see the point." When there are plenty of cases where the 360W Seasonic is the better PSU for the application than the 850W scenario. And yes there are scenarios where the 850W is better than the 360W (i.e. a dual GPU system with an OC'd AMD cpu). The point is that higher Wattage is not always better.

You say it's frustrating to you to see people downgrading to cheaper PSUs - I never said anything about "cheaper". There are plenty of "Cheaper" high wattage PSUs. What I think is a bigger problem is that people who are ignorant to real system power requirements just think a higher wattage PSU is simply better, when it's not.

In fact, "Wattage" isn't really what counts. It's Amperage for each voltage level that you need to power the components. Here is an example. Take this Cooler Master 525W PSU:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you look at the label, it has split 12V rails with only 20A each. Usually it will have one rail supplying the CPU and the other supplying the PCIe connectors. The Seasonic happens to have a single larger 12V rail with a full 30A capacity. You'll probably be fine with the 20/20 split with the CM, but with other PSUs, you might have to be careful.

A more extreme example is this cheap ass "600W" ePower PSU.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Even though it's rated for "600W" (don't ask me how they get that rating), it only has 33A total available at 12V. So that's only 3A more than the 360W Seasonic, even though it's "rated" for 240 more Watts.

So the real problem hear is that people who don't know any better just buy the PSU with the greater "Wattage", when that is not what really counts.

Your 850W Corsair is a great PSU. But quite frankly, it's overkill for Most situations, and money spent would be better spent on other components, or just not spent at all. Note I didn't say "All" situations, because it definitely has it's place. But at 200W, I'm afraid it does not get higher than 90% efficiency:
http://www.legitreviews.com/corsair-professional-series...
In that situation, drawing 200W, you'd be much better off with the 360W Seasonic. This is because the drop-off in efficiency below 50% power is usually much sharper than the drop off above 50%. The best rule-of-thumb is to size your PSU to be typically 1.5 times your Max system load. This allows the PSU to operate in it's sweet spot of from 50-75% capacity.

Finally, you might actually look at some PSU calculators. You'd be surprised how little power some pretty powerful systems consume. As an alternative, you can just look at most GPU reviews. When they show GPU power consumption, it is usually Total System Power. Here are a couple examples showing total system power under load:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/6276/nvidia-geforce-gtx-6...
http://www.legitreviews.com/powercolor-hd7870-devil-2gb...

I'm not trying to say "why on earth would you buy an 850W PSU". It's your money, and there are certainly applications where the 850W is the right choice. Just try to understand that there are just as many applications where the 360W is the better choice for that particular application.


Vertex - I have to complement your post, it is extremely well written and I am being sincere - it is rare that someone backs up what they say so well.

A couple of points:
1. Depending on what review you read, the HX 850 is right at 90% efficiency with a 200W draw - your graph shows about 89% efficiency which is very close to what I said. It also depends if you are using the 115W efficiency of course. My system draws around 250W -300W when I use (educated guess) which puts me right at 92% efficiency or so. I have a single GPU system but I have several fans and two optical drives and some other components.
2. I knew the HX 850 would be overkill for my system but it is cheap overkill. Right now you can get it on Newegg for $129.00 after rebates. The Corsair HX 650 is on sale for $80 after rebates and is a gold-rated PSU. My point is that it doesn't get a whole lot cheaper than this. Why buy the CX 500 at $60 when the HX 650 is $80?
3. We do differ here - using the dirt cheap PSUs you list is like playing Russian roulette with your expensive components. There is no end of dirt cheap PSUs available, but why would anyone risk their system for $25 -$50 in savings? It just is not worth it.
4. You are wrong when you say I would be much better with the 360W Seasonic - look at the numbers. I understand what you are trying to say because the efficiency of some PSUs at low wattage suffers - but not with the HX 850. Your graph you posted confirms this. When my system is being used hard, it would ramp up the 360W PSU to high fan and that alone would bug me to death.
5. In case you doubt what I say, I had the Corsair HX 750 with an I-7 920, single GPU build and the HX 750 would go to high fan all the time and it was VERY noisy.
6. If you are talking a Haswell system, then the power requirements go down and it is a different discussion.

Keep in mind Vertex that I actually have the system up and running that I am telling you about and it is amazingly efficient and quiet. You most likely do not have my system. I have never even heard my HX 850 fan come on. I checked it once to see if it was running and it wasn't (I hope it isn't broken, ha, ha). Further, the PSU never gets hot - never. Also the HX 850 is one of the most stable PSUs you can buy on the market right now - it won't damage my components. This peace of mind is well worth the $75 extra dollars I spent on the PSU. Having used cheaper PSUs, I would never go back.

We actually agree and I did say that the cheaper PSUs will work. They just don't work as well and they are not nearly as safe for your components as the better PSUs. So I am confirming what you say to a degree.

Thanks again for a very thoughtful response to my comment. One of the best I have seen.
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September 1, 2013 6:58:34 AM

flong777 said:
We actually agree and I did say that the cheaper PSUs will work. They just don't work as well and they are not nearly as safe for your components as the better PSUs. So I am confirming what you say to a degree.

Thanks again for a very thoughtful response to my comment. One of the best I have seen.


Agree with everything you say here - I didn't intend to say you'd be better off with the 360W PSU, just that at 200W the 360W PSU would be running more efficiently.

I enjoyed the good banter, so thanks as well!
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September 1, 2013 5:18:12 PM

I have the 600watt cx psu. Works god
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a c 126 ) Power supply
September 3, 2013 8:18:50 AM

Good discussion here. Too bad a white-screen bug until recently wasn't letting me see it. Not much to add. I'm fond of efficiency, but durability / reliability is #1. I still think the Delta-built 650W Antec Signature I bought... four years ago? ...is the best PSU I've ever bought. It may outlast me. My graphics card at the time was a HD4850, and I had some thought to maybe running two some day. I never did, but I continue to use this PSU even though it is more amperage / wattage than I need (500W is enough even for a HD7970).
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a b ) Power supply
September 3, 2013 9:22:58 AM

Onus said:
Good discussion here. Too bad a white-screen bug until recently wasn't letting me see it. Not much to add. I'm fond of efficiency, but durability / reliability is #1. I still think the Delta-built 650W Antec Signature I bought... four years ago? ...is the best PSU I've ever bought. It may outlast me. My graphics card at the time was a HD4850, and I had some thought to maybe running two some day. I never did, but I continue to use this PSU even though it is more amperage / wattage than I need (500W is enough even for a HD7970).

:heink: 

Cinic to the end huh? :D 
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September 3, 2013 10:18:14 AM

Over the weekend, my oldest son & I finished a mini-ITX home server build using the Seasonic 360W PSU. It's powering a Xeon E3-1230 V2 (cheapest 8 thread Intel CPU you can buy), 16GB Ram, 3x3TB WD Reds in RAID, a re-purposed laptop HDD for the OS, a $9 used Radeon video card, and an ASRock $60 H-61 Motherboard all in a Lian-Li PC-Q25 Case. It's running Ubuntu server and we'll be configuring VMs (with KVM) to run 2-3 Minecraft servers, a Plex Media Server, File-share, Home PC Backups, and whatever else we can throw at it.

The Seasonic PSU is the quietest component in the build (and the Lian-Li fans are pretty good, but not as quiet as Noctua) - you need your ear right up next to the PSU it to hear it, and the connectivity is perfect for what we need. I also wanted the 5 year warranty, because this will be running 24x7 for as long as we can make it last.

I also just ordered the Corsair CX-500M for a budget gaming build - will be the first build for my Nephew. With the latest Newegg flyer, it's $29 net after a $21 promo code and $20 mail-in rebate. Those recent Corsair deals are hard to beat.
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