TechSpot

Need Opinions on what PSU to buy

By link590o
Nov 6, 2007
  1. I'm looking into a good PSU that will help me power a system with the following specs:

    amd 64 x2 6000+ 3.0 ghz processor
    Geforce 8800gt 512mb video card
    2 gigabytes GSkill gaming RAM
    ASRock Aliven NF6G mobo
    160 gigabyte western digital hard drive 7200 rpm
    and 2 case fans

    I was looking at a 500watt thermaltake purepower power supply priced at around 54 dollars on newegg. But I noticed on another thread that the amperage it provides may be lower than I need, so I need a second opinion, and if this one is inadequate, a similar PSU that provides the power I need for about the same price and maintains quality, a.k.a. >70% efficiency at load at the very least.

    PLEASE help me because I want to make sure that this system will work when I put it together. Also, I would appreciate any other opinions on the hardware I'm choosing. For instance, the mobo. I'm not sure whether or not I should buy that particular model or not. If anyone has a suggestion of another good quality gaming mobo for about 60 bucks, please suggest it.
     
  2. sghiznaneck

    sghiznaneck TS Maniac Posts: 403

  3. samjohnson

    samjohnson TS Maniac Posts: 238

    Hey link, looks like your build is going nicely. Here is a coolmax PSU. I think that they are a good brand. I don't have a clue bout all the amps and all that but you can see for yourself and decide.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817159026

    **EDIT**

    I just found this website, somebody made a list of the best and worse PSUs.

    http://forums.firingsquad.com/firingsquad/board/message?board.id=hardware&thread.id=111309

    Thought that this might help you. ENJOY!
    Would you look at that my Rosewill is on the "NOT RECOMMENDED LIST" :D
     
  4. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 6,979   +362

    Win for me. I have a Silverstone OP 850W (Tier 1). :)

    I favor a single 12V rail power supply over multi 12V rails. That's not to say I would never use a multi rail power supply but for a top gaming PC, I would go with a single rail.

    I think you are aiming a little too low for your power supply choices, that is if it is for a gaming rig. Good gaming power supplies are not cheap. Using the list that samjohnson thoughtfully provided, I would go with a PSU from at least Tier 3 but preferably above. I understand the desire to save money but this is probably not the component to do it with.
     
  5. samjohnson

    samjohnson TS Maniac Posts: 238

    Mailpup is right. Even though I spent not that much on a not recommended Rosewill :D it could potentially give me problems in the future, even though it is working great right now. I would take his advice and go with something that is a more expensive PSU that is going to last and have all the power you need. I know your budget is tight but you should definitely try and get a real good PSU.
     
  6. link590o

    link590o Topic Starter

    well, according to the listings in the tier 3, the purepower thermaltake i was looking at was of decent quality...well.. maybe borderline but it was still tier 3. in that sense it's not bad. but i was given a scare because rage3kmoiz told me that it wasn't going to give an awful lot of power considering. and the thread was about the 8800gt which i'm looking to get. so unfortunately that's....a little upsetting and means i have to reject that one. so it's not like i was aiming low. i was just not aiming high enough.

    considering, i did a pretty good job. the parts i mentioned, plus a case will cost me roughly 715 bucks. i'm only afraid of two things:
    1)not having enough cash for that computer now that i need another possibly more expensive PSU
    and
    2) the price of the 8800gt not going lower than its current value.

    if i want those parts, that 8800gt has to lower in price, and i have to find a psu of appropriate power and value to fit the budget otherwise i can have a very expensive computer that doesn't work until august. (that's when i can get some more cash to expand on the system/my budget).

    Sam, you'll never hear the end of it with that rosewill in your system lols. maybe its time to move into the tier 3 range. get some cash, and get a better non-explody power supply hahahah.

    in the meantime though, it looks like i'm going with the tigerdirect psu that sghiznaneck showed me despite its cost...

    to deliver to me, plus tax, it's price goes up to $100.05 :(...if that 8800gt doesn't go down in price, i'll have to come up with a sum total of about 750 bucks to buy the whole system.
     
  7. samjohnson

    samjohnson TS Maniac Posts: 238

    Since it seems you don't have the money for a 8800 why not try for the 8600GTS. My friend has one and he was able to play the crysis demo on high. SO it will play new games. Heck my 7600GT was able to play crysis. You should maybe look into the 8600GTS instead of the 8800s. Its cheaper and its still gonna play the new games.
     
  8. technicalfury42

    technicalfury42 Banned Posts: 62

    Why? 12v rail separation is a distinction made arbitrarily by manufacturers. There is no real difference between multi-rail and single-rail PSUs. You've been fooled by marketing or poor reviews.

    If PSU manufacturers actually had multiple truly independent 12v lines, there would actually be some advantages. The fact is that in the absence of manufacturer specific guidelines for what components go on what plugs, the PSU does not have independent 12v lines. Therefore, when investigating 12v powering capacity, you ought to be looking at total amperage, not the psuedo-Intel-Spec-Compliant figures that most manufacturers give. You also have to look at total 12v WATTAGE in addition to just amps, since some manufacturers (read: most) have a wattage limit that is set below the combined amperage rating.

    I would get a Seasonic S-12 500. Extremely efficient (will pay itself off in a few years on the electric bill) and very quiet.

    Plus I wouldn't take PSU advice from someone that has about twice the PSU he needs.
     
  9. link590o

    link590o Topic Starter

    well...put simply Sam, i have my heart set on it :(.

    plus, with the rate at which graphics are improving in every game developed these days, the 8600 is going to be left in the dust pretty damn soon.

    that's one reason. the other reason is i am sick and tired of working with my radeon 9250 pci card which is rated for office computers. way to render them graphs and charts in 3d billy! know what i mean? i want something that has the kick of the best at not such a high price, and the gt fit the bill.

    it doesn't help that my budget is sorta on the rocks at this point. what computer i get all depends on how much i get in the course of the remainder of this year.

    i won't really bog you down with the details unless you ask me to. all you need to know is i have 400 now, and i'm hoping that by selling some stuff and by getting just money for christmas, i can raise the 300 i'm aiming for and be able to afford that gt. but it's not for sure.

    i'll be able for certain to buy 6 out of the 7 components i need for this build. its only the graphics card thats bugging me. hell, i could just pool everything toward getting everything but the graphics chip and just wait another 6 months and buy the gt then. i'm hoping things go the way i want them to. but i'm not really in control at this point for the most part.

    for now, i want to focus on that damn power supply...that part of the build has been giving me nightmares for months now. first i had one, then i didn't have one. then i thought i found one, and it turned out to be crap....so i'll pool my efforts into that category and hope for the best with the rest of the build.

    technicalfury, if you can find me that s-12 somewhere for relatively cheap, i'd be much obliged.
     
  10. technicalfury42

    technicalfury42 Banned Posts: 62

    What's your PSU budget?
     
  11. samjohnson

    samjohnson TS Maniac Posts: 238

    Ya I know, having a 8800 would be sweet. I was just suggesting to get the 8600GTS if you budget wasn't going to allow you to get the 8800. For know the 8600 is good but you are right it will get left in the dust pretty soon. Good luck on finding the PSU. Sorry I can't help much in that portion of you build.
     
  12. link590o

    link590o Topic Starter

    lets call the TOTAL budget for the entire computer somewhere in the area of 550-600 dollars total.

    with that in mind, the total of the parts i listed above minus the graphics chip come to about 377 total. so that leaves about 200-230 for both a graphics chip and a power supply if i want to keep it in that budget range. given i probably won't be able to get the graphics card i want, i might end up sticking with my P.O.S. card right now and buying a new card sometime when i have the money. maybe my situation will change, but i'll let you know what i'll do if that happens.

    so lets just say i have about 100-130 dollars that i'm willing to spend, maximum for the psu. i do want to have some money leftover just in case. but if possible i would like to find a high quality, stable, and efficient psu for as little as possible. if you can find one for cheaper than 100 dollars i'd be overjoyed. but i'll work with whatever you find me if need be.
     
  13. technicalfury42

    technicalfury42 Banned Posts: 62

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371007

    The Antec Earthwatts Ea500 is made by Seasonic. It has the same 80%+ efficiency and will easily power your system.

    $79.99 shipped.

    For a bit more money, you can get Neo 550:

    http://www.techreport.com/articles.x/13271/20

    Might want to read there.

    Seasonic has some excellent MIR going on right now with Newegg (if you don't mind MIR):

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817151034

    $89.99 after MIR for an S-12 II S5-500

    $115 after MIR for an S-12 Energy Plus 550

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817151027

    This one is the best out of the ones I've listed.


    A Seasonic w/ 80+ efficiency and the 12cm (120mm) fan is the best PSU I've used personally (I build many computers). The large 120mm fan is very quiet, and from a few feet away it is difficult to hear it at all.

    If you're not familiar with the efficiency, say your computer draws 250 watts at full load while gaming. If your PSU is 50% efficient it would be pulling 500 watts from the wall to give your computer the 250 watts it needs. If it is 90% efficient, it is only losing 10% of the electricity instead of 50%. Over time (years), a 75% vs 85% efficient PSU can mean $100 savings on your electricity bill for a 24x7 system.

    These PSUs in the psu review I posted above are actually manufactured by Seasonic, but branded under other names:

    Corsair 620HX
    Antec EarthWatts 500W
    Antec Neo HE 550W
    Antec TruePower Trio 650W
     
  14. link590o

    link590o Topic Starter

    holy cow. that is a fantastic post. very nice. you have my gratitude.

    well, i'll be straight up honest with you. i'm a big believer in 'the cheaper the better' but it has to be quality. given that everything is high quality, i'd say i'll be tending towards the cheapest one you showed.

    HOWEVER. whichever one i select will NOT be a permanent choice given that i've had to switch psu's 1000 times by now. so i'll choose the antec neo he 550 for now, and DEPENDING ON MY BUDGET, those being the key words, i may switch to a better one. i guess what counts right now is that i have a few really choice power supplies in mind. those will do very nicely. you may very well have put my power supply issues to an end.

    one more thing though. i basically refuse to go after any of the mail in rebates...i hate dealing with that crap. it's not really worth my time. i'd rather have it paid for and not have to put in any further effort. i've already been working on this project for a good 6 months just getting the parts straight. i'd rather just get it all over with finally. know what i'm sayin'?

    but once again, thank you very much. that post just made me a very happy college boy.
     
  15. technicalfury42

    technicalfury42 Banned Posts: 62

    No problem. Good luck at Tampax University, Home of the Fightin' Tampon Monsters
     
  16. link590o

    link590o Topic Starter

    SOMEONE FINALLY NOTICED! THANK YOU!

    MAN. i've been waiting for someone to ask about that or at least joke.

    yeah i'm a new yorker originally. i moved down here for college. and i hate this state so much it hurts. so i make it my duty to insult america's wang to the widest degree possible to make myself feel better...this place blows. hard. period. end of story. nothing to do, nowhere to go, and nobody likes our football team, (the USF Bulls. maybe you heard of us by now).

    so i pour my heart and soul into call of duty 2, and paying attention to the techspot threads.

    just so we're still on topic, i calculated the total of the computer with the new psu, and without a graphics chip. total comes to $488.87. with any luck, i'll raise $720 by january so i can still afford that damn 8800gt.
     
  17. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

  18. technicalfury42

    technicalfury42 Banned Posts: 62

    Those calculators are a bit dubious, but can be useful at times. His system could be powered readily by a quality 400 watt PSU. Any of the ones I listed have more than ample amperage to run at a respectable load when his system is taxed, plus some headroom for the future.
     
  19. link590o

    link590o Topic Starter

    yeah i wasn't too happy about sorting through that calculator. and it didn't really help me much because the important parts were only available in the version you pay for. and i refuse to pay for it. so it was of practically no use.

    tech, i might like to ask you how to figure out the amperages and or wattages offered on the 12v rail. i had rage3kmoiz try to teach me, but he hadn't gotten his calculations straight at that point either. so i'm still in the dark.

    examples please?
    thanks a LOT. :D
     
  20. technicalfury42

    technicalfury42 Banned Posts: 62

    http://techreport.com/articles.x/12379/2

    The system listed there used 285 watts under load with an 8800GTX, at the wall, meaning the system was using about 20% less, assuming their PSU was operating at 80% efficiency.

    http://techreport.com/articles.x/12379/8

    So, a
    Core 2 Extreme X6800 2.93Ghz
    XFX nForce 680i SLI mb
    4GB of memory
    a 250GB hard drive
    8800GTX 768MB
    w/ Vista Ultimate

    Uses approx 230-240 watts under gaming load (Oblivion at high resolution).

    That power, while mostly on the 12v rail is distributed among all rails in varying amounts.

    AmpVolts give you wattage. i.e. 30A x 12v = 360 watts. However, manufacturers also have a "maximum wattage" rating on the 12v rail (disclosed or otherwise), that can limit the performance in practice.

    It is more useful to look at actual "at the wall" power consumption than "in theory" calculators. Particularly since most of the calculators overshoot. People used to overemphasize overall wattage ratings. Now, they think they need 300A on a single 12v rail to run their little 200 watt system.

    Even the cheapest PSU I listed ought to be running your system, under load--and I'm not going to actually do the math here--maybe 35-50% of its possible capacity. That is a good place to be, since you have overhead for future upgrades, and the PSU will be operating at peak efficiency (and not overworking itself/overheating).

    Also, the reason I made "gaming load" bold above is because gaming load does not equal full load. People tend to use "MAXIMUM POSSIBLE AMP RATING" for each component in the calculators. In case no one realizes this, it is very difficult to get EVERY component in your system using max load.

    When is the last time you 100% engaged all CD-ROMs, all hard drives, your video card to 100%, all cores of your CPU to 100%, your sound card to 100%, your network card to 100%, your fans all running full throttle, USB items all 100%, floppy drive 100%, motherboard 100%?

    Most fans are on Q-Fan/Smart-Fan or manually reduced to quiet them. Most hard drives only seek for brief stints and load information into RAM. Spin-up at boot requires max power, then it tails off for normal operation. Very rarely are multi-core CPUs 100% maxed on both cores for any non-synthetic reason (i.e. Folding @ Home, benchmarks, SETI). Usually CD-Roms seek and then tail off power use almost completely. Video card use is only maxed when gaming, and then usually CPU isn't pegged at 100%. Etc.
     
  21. link590o

    link590o Topic Starter

    its clear you're knowledgeable about power supplies. my only question is, would it be a good idea for me to go with the cheapest one you mentioned? clearly i'm on a strict budget, and you said it would work for me. but i'm also future conscious. would that earthwatts power supply last me into the future, and be able to keep up with better parts? more ram, new video card, new processor, that kind of thing?

    because that's part of the reason i'm building this thing myself. i want it to last me a good long time, and it's going to be fully upgradable. so with that in mind, would i be able to work the the earthwatts? because obviously if i can't, i'll stick with the neo. i just want to be sure that whatever i buy will be able to power an 8800 gt, 8 gigs of RAM, a 160 gig hard drive, and possibly even a new processor that comes onto the market in a few years because thats what i plan on putting into it eventually.
     
  22. technicalfury42

    technicalfury42 Banned Posts: 62

    It should be fine. The only way to really cause problems is using two super-power hungry video cards or CPUs in a system. But if you've got the kind of cash for that, you've got enough money to spend an extra $50 on a PSU. Even then, I suspect it would probably be OK, but it would run closer to its peak load and be louder.

    Dual-cpus and, particularly, SLI, are really the only reasons anyone needs a quality 500watt+ currently.

    I believe the 8800GT is pulling about 90 watts. Or just over 7 amps. The Earthwatts has a combined 12v rating of 34 amps.

    Here's a review:

    http://www.techaddicts.net/reviews/ant_ea500w/ant_ea500w.html

    This was their test system, which they said even under load, the PSU remained quiet (which means it wasn't approaching its peak capabilities, since if it was, it would get hot and the fan would rev up):

     
  23. link590o

    link590o Topic Starter

    fantastic. in that case, all i need to worry about now is finding cash.

    in the meantime i had a sort of a nice idea. right now, i don't need that 160 gigabyte hard drive. i have two 40 gigs that still work. so i can use those to tide me over until i want or need a new one. so that saves me a good 50 dollars. and with the earthwatts as my psu, that shaves off another 20 from the price. which puts the whole thing, without hdd or video card at 416 dollars.

    i have 220 or so now. i'll get another 200 at the start of next semester guaranteed. christmas is a fine opportunity as well. we'll see how much i get out of that. hopefully in the ballpark of 200 bucks.

    that'd put me at about 620 with what i currently have.

    if the gt lowers in price to 200 dollars, i'm saved, and then all i would need to save up for is more ram and that hard drive. if not, i'd have to wait another 6 months until august before i'd have the cash i need for any of the aforementioned. but we'll see how it goes.

    thanks for your help guys, you in particular tech. if anyone notices a bargain, please notify me, either in this thread, or by private messaging me.

    for now, take care :D
     
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