Building a new rig from a scratch (well almost) - Questions about PSU

By zelgadis85 · 13 replies
Jul 11, 2009
  1. Hi Techspot Forumists! (is that even a word?)

    It's been a long time since I've posted here. My last desktop decided to break down in the middle of my summer holiday, so I thought I'd build a new one. I've already lined down some of my needs (being a semi-hardcore gamer and all) and would like to hear your opinions about the build, as well as the necessary power to run it smoothly with a little bit room for upgrade later on as well :)

    While I have quite some money to spend on this, I'd like it to be as cheap as possible. Also, ordering from popular websites, such as newegg, is sadly not an option in my case. The store I buy components from has a rather large selection of equipment and thus getting the right components shouldn't be a problem. I heard they could also order parts abroad, but that will cost a hefty extra fee.

    Well, the parts I've already chosen are as follows:

    Case: (Akasa) Infiniti ZOR, windowed black ATX case (, 104.90€
    Mobo: (ASUS) M3N-HT Deluxe HDMI AM2+ NF780ASLI (, 123.00€
    CPU: (AMD) Phenom 9950 QC AM2+ ( - boxed edition), 149.00€
    RAM: (A-Data) 4GT Dual-kit DDR2 1066+MHz (PC-8500), Extreme Edition (unable to find decent link, here's the one at the shop I use:, 75.00€
    Graphics Card: One to three of (Gainward) GeForce 9800 GT 1024MB GDDR3 (, 123.00€ each

    Suggestions are open for improvements / changes. As I mentioned, this computer will be used for some heavy gaming / multimedia purposes, and I'd actually like the chance to edit videos effortlessly. CAD and other such memory hogs I do not intend (nor have no need) to use. I mainly play games from my 26" Viewsonic monitor, using resolution of 1920x1200, which you should consider if giving alternates to my components. These games include World of Warcraft (surprise surprise), CRYSIS, Unreal Tournament 3, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion et cetera.

    Considering I'd buy two of those GeForce 9800GT's, and use a total of five(!!) SATA hard drives and 1 SATA DVD drive constantly, how much power / ampage (spelling?) / whatever-specifics-come-to-mind should my PSU have?

    Another point is whether or not the mobo BIOS actually supports QC from the beginning. My last computer needed a BIOS update before it would even start with the QC cpu. This probably needs some information from a user that actually has this board with an QC cpu.

    I'd like the budget to be under 1.000€. I'm willing to pay a bit over that, but my funds aren't infinite :)

    Thank you for your help in advance, and sorry for the (semi-)long post. ;)

  2. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    Avoid the Phenom CPUs, their performance is pretty abysmal compared to recent AMD offerings and competing Intel ones. I'd recommend the Phenom II X4 920 or 940, whichever you can better afford. Get an AMD 770\780G based motherboard from Gigabyte or ASUS, and an HD 4870 or HD 4890, whichever you can better afford. Avoid dual-GPU solutions for now.

    As for your PSU, I recommend either the Corsair 650TX or the PC Power & Cooling Silencer 610, again, whichever you can afford best.
  3. LinkedKube

    LinkedKube TechSpot Project Baby Posts: 3,485   +45

    Well you're going to need about 80 amps just for 3 of those cards, that's max btw, just by looking up numbers for them. I wouldnt go with anything less than 850 watts of a high quality psu, I want to say go with 1kw just to be safe.

    Also, why not consider just buying one high end card, and leaving room to upgrade with another later. like a gtx 285 if you're going to spend that kind of money. I almost want to say "its a waste." to spend money on those cards, at least that many at this time,especially when new cards are just around the corner...again.
  4. zelgadis85

    zelgadis85 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 21

    Hmm, it seems at least the X4 920 is only 20€ more (169.00€), but is it really that much better? As for the 940, it seems to be 170.00€, if it is this you mean:

    Phenom II X4 940BE, AM2+, 3.0GHz, 8MB, BOX

    which was the closest hit I found on their web pages.

    Also, I personally detest ATI, no matter if their cards are better. Just personal preference here. :)

    I doubt 650W would be enough to keep the system stable, if I will upgrade it later... But I'll consider this.

    I also thought of buying a 1kW PSU, but am looking for suggestions to that end. Any good brands? My last one was a 650W OCZ PSU.

    Also, I need to consider the possibility to have need for those 6-pin PCI-E power cables on those PSUs in case my card(s) need 'em.

    Well, the main thing is, I heard that in some games (especially oblivion) SLI really boosts performance in higher-end settings. Well, the game should run perfectly already with a single high-end card (it almost never lagged with my 8600GTS on my previous computer, with all details set to maximum). Also, I'd like to try SLI myself for the first time. That 9800GT was somewhat of a budget-performance card I found.

    Just how big is the role of GDDR amount in a graphics card? I mean, if I have a 512MB card and 1024MB card of the same model, around how much is performance boosted via the extra memory? Any figures?

    I must admit, I am also a bit lost with the "new" naming scheme NVIDIA has (the three-number one).

    Anyways, thank you for your suggestions. Keep 'em coming :)

  5. LinkedKube

    LinkedKube TechSpot Project Baby Posts: 3,485   +45

    the higher memory mostly helps for high resolutions with the eye candy set to max, 650 watts would work for what he suggested. 9800gt is a budget card, but its the begining line of cards of what people would consider a "gaming card."

    I'll report back in the morning, I'm too sleepy to type much more.
  6. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    The X4 920 is significantly better than the Phenom X4. It is level with the comparable Core 2 Quads from Intel, which is not the level of performance the Phenom is even near.

    SLI is too driver-dependent to be useful, and single card performance is usually more dependable than SLI. Most newer games need an SLI hotfix or patch for you to gain a noticeable boost from the extra card(s). I recommend either a GTX 260 or GTX 275 for you.

    And three 9800GTs will work perfectly fine on the 650TX. All of them combined will pull roughly 350-400W, which will only load the +12V rail on the PSU to around half of its total output power rating. The PSU will barely flinch at a 50% load IMO. Add to that the load from the HDDs and CPU, you should see about 550W total usage. Still well within the limits of the PSU. If you want more headroom, go for the 750TX or the PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750. You don't need any more power than that IMO.
  7. zelgadis85

    zelgadis85 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 21

    Hmm, so should I get X4 920 or X4 940? Given there is only 1.00€ difference in the price tags? I guess the latter is more worth it, then?

    Hmm, I never heard of that. Just a hypotherical question: If I were to purchase two (let's say) GTX 260's, how easy is it to disable SLI from Windows to play those games, given there is no hotfix or patch to take advantage of my dual card setup? Is it possible some games won't even start if I'm running SLI?

    Hmm, I think I'd go for this PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750 then. A quick check indicates it is avaivable for 149.00€, around the sum I'd expect to use on the PSU. It seems they (Jimm's) also recommend it, saying it's "one of the best power supply brands in the world". I must admit, I've never heard of this brand before, seeing all my previous PSU's have been either Akasa or Nexus. I'll have to give it a try.

    Thanks for all the suggestions. I'm hoping I can place the order on Monday, so I'll try to have this sorted out by then.

  8. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    Get the 940 then. It is worth the extra 1 euro.

    SLI can be disabled, yes. And yes, you may have such issues with some games. For the resolution you are going to be using, I think one GTX 275 will be plenty, unless you are going to get a 30" monitor capable of doing 2560x1600. But it's your choice.

    The PC Power & Cooling PSUs are right up there with the best, and their higher-wattage PSUs are regarded as the finest in the world. Do realize that if you decide to get two GTX 260s, you will need a more powerful PSU, such as the PC Power & Cooling Silencer 910 or Corsair 850TX.
  9. zelgadis85

    zelgadis85 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 21

    Thank you for the info. As more of a clarification to myself, I'll summarize the current two options that have been made.

    Sound and network cards are embedded onto the motherboard. Speaker set, keyboard/mouse and monitor, as well as DVD and HD drives come from the old machine.

    Possibly will add a WLAN card (PCI) to get rid of my bad USB WLAN receiver. Price estimated around 30.00€.

    Option one - Single GPU:

    Case: (Akasa) Infiniti ZOR, windowed black ATX case (, 104.90€
    Mobo: (ASUS) M3N-HT Deluxe HDMI AM2+ NF780ASLI (, 123.00€
    CPU: (AMD) Phenom II X4 940BE, AM2+, 3.0GHz, 8MB, BOX (, 170.00€
    RAM: (A-Data) 4GT Dual-kit DDR2 1066+MHz (PC-8500), Extreme Edition (unable to find decent link, here's the one at the shop I use:, 75.00€
    Graphics Card: (ASUS) GeForce GTX 275 896MB GDDR3, 2xDVI, HDCP (, 234.00€
    PSU: PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750 ( - black version), 149.00€

    Total: 855.90€ + shipment fee

    Option two - Dual GPU:

    Case: (Akasa) Infiniti ZOR, windowed black ATX case (, 104.90€
    Mobo: (ASUS) M3N-HT Deluxe HDMI AM2+ NF780ASLI (, 123.00€
    CPU: (AMD) Phenom II X4 940BE, AM2+, 3.0GHz, 8MB, BOX (, 170.00€
    RAM: (A-Data) 4GT Dual-kit DDR2 1066+MHz (PC-8500), Extreme Edition (unable to find decent link, here's the one at the shop I use:, 75.00€
    Graphics Card: 2x(ASUS) GeForce GTX 275 896MB GDDR3, 2xDVI, HDCP (, 468.00€
    PSU: Corsair 850W 850HX ATX2.3 (, 179.00€

    Total: 1119.90€ + shipment fee

    Option two seems to go over the allocated budget. Seems like I need to satisfy with the first one. Seeing as the GTX 275 is a rather new card, I think upgrading (read: SLI-ing another card) shouldn't be too hard. By that I mean if I decide I need more power, I can (rather) safely assume those cards are still available, say, next year.

    Thank you, Rage_3K_Moiz and supersmashbrada, for all your help already. Now to find out whether or not I need the BIOS update service as well for soon-to-be-mine mobo... :)


    P.S. Pending links will follow shortly.

    Edit: Added pending links.
  10. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    Everything looks good. You are right about upgrading later, since the cards will most likely also drop in price as well. But you would need to buy the 850W PSU along with the single card in that case though, since the 750W PSU will leave you little headroom for more HDDs or the like.
  11. zelgadis85

    zelgadis85 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 21

    Well, I guess I'll just use the same PSU for both options, then? :)

    Granted, I can't afford dual GPU currently, so I'll have to resort to the classic 'upgrade-as-you-go' option, but hey, that's life.

    I doubt I'd get any more HDDs, though, given I'm already installing five of them from my old computer. Add the SATA DVD drive to the mix and I have ran out of the SATA ports on the mobo, and SATA controller cards (PCI) cost way too much (at least most of them do) for me to afford them in the near future.

    So, should a 850HX power supply be enough for 5 HDDs and dual GPUs, as well as the processor setup? I guess it will suffice.

    We're about to get this cleared. Thanks, Rage. (I hope you don't mind me calling you just Rage, do you?)

    One last question. The wattage amount of the PSU. Isn't that the maximum output of the PSU, instead of constant use? I mean, with a 850W power, I won't constantly use 850 watts? Isn't power supplied considering the load of the computer?

  12. zelgadis85

    zelgadis85 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 21

    Order placed

    Well, I placed the order. Used Corsair 850HX PSU with a single GTX 275 card. I also asked them to build and test it over there in case the BIOS needs to be updated (happened with my last computer). Total cost is just around 1000.00€. I also added a Buffalo WLAN card to the order, to get rid of my USB stick.

    The order consisted of:

    Akasa Infiniti ZOR black windowed ATX case, 104.90€
    ASUS M3N-HT Deluxe HDMI AM2+ NF780ASLI, VGA, DDR2, GBLan, 123.00€
    AMD Phenom II X4 940BE, AM2+, 3.0GHz, 8MB, BOX, 170.00€
    A-Data 4GB Dual-kit DDR2 1066+MHz (PC-8500), Extreme Edition, 75.00€
    Buffalo AirStation WLI2-PCI-G54S 54/125Mb/s WLAN, 30.00€
    ASUS GeForce GTX 275 896MB GDDR3, 2xDVI, HDCP, 234.00€
    Corsair 850W 850HX ATX2.3 power supply unit, 179.00€

    The building fee is 50.00€. They also listed a fee of 15.00€ for a BIOS update and I'm not sure whether or not the building fee includes this. It does include testing, so if the computer won't start because of BIOS incompatibility, I'd guess the update is included in that fifty euros, but we'll see. :)

    The delivery consists of 18.50€ total, breaking down to the actual delivery fee, the taxes and packaging. Seeing I have trouble visiting their store in the summer, this was a must.

    Unfortunetaly, they had not the case nor the RAM in stock, so I might need to use my laptop (and my sister's computer) a little longer.

    I say this case is solved. Thank you for your help! :)

  13. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    If they're charging 15 euros (separately from the build fee) for a BIOS update, don't pay it. You can practically do it yourself.

    For the case, why not get an Antec Twelve Hundred, Cooler Master Stacker, NZXT Nemesis, Thermaltake Armor, or a similar case instead? They're all equally good IMO.

    RAM can be found at almost every decent computer shop IMO, unless there are not that many in Finland.
  14. zelgadis85

    zelgadis85 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 21

    Well, last computer I had (the one that broke down about a week ago) wouldn't go into POST no matter what I tried. I sent it to them and they diagnosed it, updated the BIOS and told me that the mobo didn't have support for QC until the BIOS was updated, hence disabling the boot sequence. I'd have updated the BIOS myself if I would have gotten to the BIOS setup, but it just didn't get that far. Whether or not the BIOS version was the real culprit, I don't know, but I don't see any reason for them to lie.

    I'd probably go for some of those, if it weren't for the price tag. They all cost around 160-200€, which is a bit much for a case, in my opinion. Besides, I kinda got hooked up with the I/O panel that comes with the Infiniti ZOR, showing temperatures and stuff.

    I think you're right. However, I already made the order and also they are one of the few shops I've seen in Finland that offer 1GHz (1066 MHz) DDR2 ram. I originally thought that DDR2 only goes up to frequencies of 800MHz, so I was kind of surprised. And, well, it said on their website (I forgot to mention this) that they are already ordering new sticks to their warehouse, so I think it's the case that will hold my order up anyways.

    Thank you for your suggestions though. I'd say if I hear nothing about my new computer in the next two weeks, I'll purchase another case and look elsewhere for my RAM sticks. :)

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