Which PSU?

By hdmk · 20 replies
Nov 24, 2002
  1. I'm about to upgrade to:

    Asus A7V-333 viaKT333 + USB2 + ATA133
    AMD *Retail* Athlon XP 2100+ (1.73 GHz) with AMD H/S/F 3 Yrs Warranty
    256mb PC2700 DDR (major brand)
    80Gb Western Digital (WD800JB) ATA-100 (7200rpm, 8MB Cache, 8.5ms) Quiet Drive Technology 3Yr
    PNY GeForce 4 Ti4200 (64mb)

    As I'm on a seriously tight budget, I'm planing on running it on a:

    400W *PFC* Power Supply AMD & P4 Ready

    Now this is a cheap supply (£25)...is it really worth spending more to get a good PSU? I have a few alternatives:

    Silent 360W ATX PSU - Thermaltake - £37.59 (dabs)
    350W CWT Quiet Dual Fan Version AMD/P4 Approved Active Fan Control Active PFC - £31.72 (scan.co.uk)
    350W Enermax EG365AX-G-FMA PSU with Manual Fan Control/Temp Control 2Yr - £46.71 (scan.co.uk)
    420W HiperPower Quiet Dual Fan (Active Fan Control) Active PFC - £42.30 (scan)
    350W HiperPower PSU Quiet Single Fan Active PFC - £25.85 (scan)

    Which should I go for? (preferably the cheapest one)
  2. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    400w is plenty. You might not be getting your full 400w, but there's plenty of room for corporate embelishment too.

    If you are on a REALLY tight budget, you might want to consider a 80GB WD with only 2mb of cache. You can use that money (probably over £15) for something else that might make more of a difference. I know the cache is nice, but the performance gain is just not noticeable (first hand experience).

    Personally, I would put any extra money you come across into memory. Anything under 512 just isn't good enough for me.
  3. hdmk

    hdmk TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 104

    400w is fine I know, but is it alright to go with the generic - cheap PSU...or should I go with a better name - for the quality? Which one out of the list would you choose?
  4. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Maniac Posts: 2,244

    A quality PSU is one of the most important investments you can make. A cheap PSU faulting out can do serious damage.

    I would go with the Enermax 350w, it should be plenty unless you plan to add several more HDDs or something.

    You should never sacrifice quality when it comes to power. The PSU supplies your entire system with life. Most people go all out on things like Video Cards and CPU, getting more than they ever need, but they don't consider the importance of supplying them with the power they need. It doesn't matter how good your system is, it is nothing without a quality PSU.
  5. MrGaribaldi

    MrGaribaldi TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,512

    Where did you plan to buy the no-name PSU?
    If it's a shop near you, have they heard anything good/bad about it?
    If it's a web shop, does it have any reviews of it (done by customers)?

    I usually buy PSU's from an enthusiast store, as they tend to know more about the quality of the PSU than a regular computer shop...

    Sometimes (but not allways) no-names can be just as good as brands, and you don't have to pay for a company name...
  6. hdmk

    hdmk TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 104

    I'd be buying from Scan.co.uk, dabs.com, or komplett.co.uk. All I have to go on are reviews on the internet..and what other people say (on the internet).

    So I should go with the Enermax then? even though its manual fan control??
  7. iss

    iss TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,994

    the PSU is seldom given much thought by many who buy or build their own computers. using cheap generic PSU's even if they dont seriously damage your system can be a source of system instability. application freezes, crashes and all kinds of strange behavior can be the result of cheap generic substandard PSU's

    Antec, enermax, etc are excellent PSU's I tend to prefer PSU's with a manual option for fan speed. thermostatic control generaly does little more than move just enough air to keep your PSU from overheating.

    pricing between standard and special edition WD drives mus be quite different there. here the difference is only 9.00 and the special edition carries a three year warranty while the standard one only a year

    oh and the enermax PSU does have thermostatic ( automatic) fan control but it also includes the option of manually setting the fan speed.
  8. Justin

    Justin TS Rookie Posts: 942

    I would also strongly suggest you do not purchase Western Digital - If at all possible go with Seagate, IBM, or if you have the money available in your budget, Fujitsu.
  9. iss

    iss TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,994

    I have several WD hard drives and have never had a problem from any of them. a friend of mine however has had problems with a couple of the ones he bought. I have a seagate barracuda IV 60 Gb that I really like. I am leeery of IBM after their problems and fujitsu I wouldnt touch with a ten foot pole. last I heard fujitsu is having to initiate a massive recall on their hard drives for serious defects.
  10. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    This is a very subjective issue because everyone has bad experiences with SOME company, regardless of their reputation for reliability etc..

    Factually speaking, the WDs are faster and Western Digital has an excellent RMA policy (Hopefully you'll never need it), which are superior to most other companies right now.

    Subjectively speaking, I've had good experiences with WD and their drives. I've never had one fail on me, although one was damaged when I bought it and their replacement service was nothing short of excellent. No questions asked, they shipped the drive instantly before they even recieved the defective one and I got free shipping because I had to wait on the phone. ;)

    My personal experience would say Maxtor is the best brand in terms of reliability.. WD a second. IBM unfortunately has been last... And Seagate is in the same boat, but all of the failed drives I've dealt with are very old.. So I don't count those necessarily.

    Whatever I say though, make your own decision based on the facts because what people have to say about drives is too subjective to be relavent. The facts are performance, quality, annual return rates and warranties... Those are the the things to look for.
  11. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Maniac Posts: 2,244

    If I were going to suggest a drive to stay away from, WD wouldn't be the one. More like Fujitsu or IBM. Those are the two I see the most trouble from in my job.

    The drives I would recommend would be Maxtor first, because of years of personal experience without any failures, and WD, because they seem to be very reliable and have a good RMA.

    I have had very bad experience with Fujitsu and IBM(even before the Deathstars).
  12. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,704

    My 5 year old 10GB WD is still running strong. And I just bought a new 120GB WD SE. I love them both...

    Anyway, I agree with Rick on the subjective issue, everyone has different experiences, but not to detract from the subject...

    Out of all of those you mentioned, I would say the 350W Enermax.
  13. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,730   +379

    I have the 350w Enermax and the fact its dual fan silent means that only having manual fan control doesn't really matter as its really quite quiet anyway.
  14. hdmk

    hdmk TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 104

    cool. I'll go with the 350w enermax then. Judging by your rig Arris, I won't need to fork out an extra £20 for the 430W one?
  15. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,704

    No you really don't hdmk...unless you have a ridiculous amount of hard drives...

    Look at my rig. I could have probably gone with 350W, but I didn't want to risk it...
  16. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    I run a 350 watt Enermax.. Love it! Great quality PSU and a good choice I think.

    After working at the shop for a week or two, I have new respect for PSUs.. I have never seen so many blown PSUs.. Mainly due to brown outs around here.
  17. hdmk

    hdmk TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 104

    ok, the 350W it is. Thanks :)
  18. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,730   +379

    Good choice on the PSU hdmk, btw as power requirements go, I don't actually have the 9700 Pro in my system yet. My old GF3 is in the post with £170 to a guy who is selling me one part exchange :)

    I would have opted for the Enermax or the ThermalTake although I haven't heard all that much about ThermalTake's PSU's apart from them being very quiet in the fan department.
  19. RustyZip

    RustyZip TechSpot Paladin Posts: 322

    I just bought a 550w PSU:eek:

    Talk about overkill:p

    I was drunk at the time:eek:
  20. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    When talking about 350W, 430W, 550W, whateverW PSUs, people should remember that it's the maximum power the PSU can deliver, it's not the amount the computer consumes.

    Actually, if you want a quiet PSU, it could be something like 550W PSU, as it could run at 30-50% load, so it wouldn't need much cooling.
  21. RustyZip

    RustyZip TechSpot Paladin Posts: 322

    Mict' - perhaps it wasn't such a bad buy after all, i'm all for quiet PC's...
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