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How to choose a power supply?

Old 12-24-06, 03:17 AM
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How to choose a power supply?

I have 2 Gateway pc's - A 832GM and an older T2865 - I want to upgrade the 832gm from it's current 300 watt supply to at least 400 - 500 watts. The power supply in the older T2865 is completely dead - I'm not sure what the original wattage is on this one (250 I think), but I figure I'll get a 300 or maybe a 400 watt.

For the 832gm I want to get a high quality supply since this is my primary computer, and I'm upgrading the graphics card to an Ati Radeon X1600 Pro (Pci express x 16), which recommends a 350 watt supply (current supply is 300 watt) - this is in addition to a few other upgrades I've made, and I'm planning on adding a Third internal Sata drive. For the T2865 I want to get a reliable but inexpensive supply since I'm planning on either putting it in the bedroom and networking it or Ebaying it when I get it running again.

How do I know which one to buy? Are they pretty much universal, and I just pick one from a good manufacturer with the power I need or does each pc need a specific model(s)? What are some good, but not too expensive manufacturers - any recommendations?

The 2 I've looked at are Antec and Coolmax, prices are reasonable (especially if I purchase them at buy.com with the $20 GCO discount), but I don't know how good they are, if they have all the connections I need, etc.

Excuse my ignorance on this, but of all the pc's i've owned this is the first time I've had to replace a power supply.

Thanks for any help,

Roy

Last edited by Roy28; 12-24-06 at 03:58 AM.
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Old 12-24-06, 12:59 PM
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Antec is a fairly good brand, but Coolmax isn't.

The basics are 1. Pick a good brand 2. Pick a model with enough juice and 3. Make sure it has the right connectors and enough of them. Most new PSs will work with just about any MB sold in the last decade, and there are adapters/splitters/extenders to make sure you can connect your peripherals, so #3 is more for convenience at the moment.

Check out this thread for some buying advice and a list of recommended PSU mfgs and those to avoid. Link
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Old 12-24-06, 01:00 PM
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Funny you should ask. If you look at the thread I had going about graphics cards, a lot of that hinged on the issue of a power supply.

I'm on my third PC, and this was the first time I even thought about the power supply.

My HP came with a cheap 300W supply. I replaced it with a 500W Antec SmartPower 2.0: http://www.antec.com/us/productDetails.php?ProdID=26500

What's nice about it is that the cables are sheathed, and the unit is modular, so you only use the cables you need. Reduces clutter from not having plugs in there you're not using. It has two small fans, an internal that runs and is quiet, and an outer exhaust that runs only when needed.

There's more expensive models, but I think this is a good one. Shelf price at CompUSA was $99.99. I got it for about $75 when I had them price match Circuit City's online price.

Last edited by Altimus Prime; 12-24-06 at 01:44 PM.
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Old 12-24-06, 01:55 PM
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Thanks for the Replies - the Antec you mentioned is $59.99 (AR) at Newegg with free shipping, but It got a lot of bad reviews - I may give it a try.

Another one I came across is this Thermaltake Model - excellent price and reviews, not sure if Thermaltake is a good unit though. Here's another Link to the same model.

Any other Antec models you would recommend?

I don't know why It didn't occur to me before, but since one of the power supplies I'm replacing is still working, after I pull it out and replace it, I can probably stick it in the pc with the dead power supply. Since then I will only have to buy one, I can afford a little more expensive model if necessary.

EDIT: I just noticed that the model I mentioned above only has 2 sata connectors and I have 3 sata drives. Should I keep looking or would a splitter do just as good a job? Considering this I may go with the Antec you originally mentioned - I can get it from amazon for 69.99 shipped 2-day for free and if it doesn't work out they won't give me any hassle about returning it.

Thanks Again,

Roy

Last edited by Roy28; 12-24-06 at 02:06 PM.
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Old 12-24-06, 02:31 PM
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$50 after rebate at frys online

http://shop4.outpost.com/product/465...H:MAIN_RSLT_PG

You first have to figure out if your gateway computers use typical ATX power suppluies or not. I haven't used/seen a gateway machine in about 5 years, so I couldn't tell you.
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Old 12-24-06, 02:42 PM
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When I looked around I noticed the spattering of "bad" reviews. I took those with a grain of salt. Considering how many must be sold, for there to be a few bad reviews online doesn't carry much weight with me. Complaints get made more often than praises. And who knows what conditions they were subjecting the supplies to that caused problems.

For me, I wanted to get my hands on one right away, so I didn't want to wait for mailorder. I felt I got a good deal, especially with the price match I did.

I did my new power supply and graphics card all on the same day.


P.S. If you're looking for longevity, I'm no expert, but it seems to be I wouldn't do less than 500W. Things seem to be getting really power hungry, especially if you were to do an SLI configuration or have multiple drives hooked up.

And does that Thermaltake have only one 12V rail? Aren't two preferable? Some of the Antecs have three now.

Last edited by Altimus Prime; 12-24-06 at 02:47 PM.
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Old 12-24-06, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Altimus Prime
When I looked around I noticed the spattering of "bad" reviews. I took those with a grain of salt. Considering how many must be sold, for there to be a few bad reviews online doesn't carry much weight with me. Complaints get made more often than praises. And who knows what conditions they were subjecting the supplies to that caused problems.

For me, I wanted to get my hands on one right away, so I didn't want to wait for mailorder. I felt I got a good deal, especially with the price match I did.

I did my new power supply and graphics card all on the same day.


P.S. If you're looking for longevity, I'm no expert, but it seems to be I wouldn't do less than 500W. Things seem to be getting really power hungry, especially if you were to do an SLI configuration or have multiple drives hooked up.

And does that Thermaltake have only one 12V rail? Aren't two preferable? Some of the Antecs have three now.

Yeah,

After reading through all of the reviews I think I'm going to get the model you recommended, or the one from fry's mentioned above. The one from fry's is a little more powerful, but I hate rebates - still though, even without the rebate it's only $10 more.

Thanks for the help,

Roy
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Old 12-24-06, 03:04 PM
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I've only been running my Antec since Wednesday. So far, so good, but come back to me in a few months. Hopefully it'll still be good.

The TruePower Trio seems to be their top of the line. Don't know what they cost.

But as was said, I would double check for compatibility first. Make sure you're dealing with a standard ATX. I remember hearing older Gateways were proprietary. IIRC, Dell still is.

Last edited by Altimus Prime; 12-24-06 at 03:11 PM.
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Old 12-24-06, 03:22 PM
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I'm going to get one of the two Antec's mentioned, i just have to figure out which one. I'm leaning towards the fry's model since it is more powerful and comes out $20 cheaper after rebate, so it seems like a no-brainer. One thing that I'm not sure about is that the fry's model is "NVIDIA SLI Certified", whatever that means, and my video card is an ATI. Would this cause any problems/conflicts? How is Fry's about returns if I have a Problem - anyone know?

Thanks for all the help,

Roy

Last edited by Roy28; 12-24-06 at 03:24 PM.
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Old 12-24-06, 04:12 PM
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The Nvidia thing is just a logo program to show it can provide enough power for SLI, which nowadays is like running 3 CPUs in one box. But it's all standard connectors, so it won't cause a problem with ATI hardware.

I'm east coast so no Fry's experience. The Neo 550W looks like a nice unit though, especially for $50.
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Old 12-24-06, 04:41 PM
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As I understand it, SLI means having two of the same graphics card connected and running together. That obviously needs more power.

Funny thing - I was hearing a little more fan sound from my pc since the new psu and card. I thought it was from the psu exhaust fan. Turns out, it's the graphics card! I don't know if the psu exhaust fan has ever come on.

Last edited by Altimus Prime; 12-24-06 at 05:10 PM.
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Old 12-24-06, 05:14 PM
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I just pulled the trigger and ordered the Neo 550w from Fry's. It may be a bit of overkill for my needs, but $50 for a card that usually sells for over $100 (Newegg's Price is $114.99) was just too good to pass up.

I was clueless on this and you guys helped a lot.

Thanks again,

Roy
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Old 12-24-06, 05:25 PM
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This will make you feel good... The CompUSA price on that one is $150!

Did you check for compatibility?

Maybe this can help? http://www.power-on.com/gateway.html

\/ OK, then, no problem.

Last edited by Altimus Prime; 12-24-06 at 05:48 PM.
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Old 12-24-06, 05:43 PM
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AFAIK Gateway has stayed with standard ATX connectors. I know Dell went with a proprietary power connector for a while with the PII and PIII systems, but they switched back.

Also, I should have mentioned this earlier but Outpost.com rebates have a spotty reputation. You will probably be fine but be sure to make photocopies of your receipt, UPC and completed rebate form before you send them in.

Last edited by wmansir; 12-24-06 at 05:47 PM.
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Old 12-24-06, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Altimus Prime
This will make you feel good... The CompUSA price on that one is $150!

Did you check for compatibility?

Maybe this can help? http://www.power-on.com/gateway.html

\/ OK, then, no problem.
No, I didn't. I couldn't even find that page before I ordered, and when I looked at it I couldn't make heads or tails of it. Hopefully it will work, If not I can return it or probably ebay it for at least what I paid for it.

I'm about to leave for home now for Xmas, and when I get back tomorrow I will try to figure out the link you gave me and confirm compatibility. If it's not compatible maybe I can cancel the order Tuesday morning. If I can't figure out if it's compatible or not, do I risk frying the power supply or parts (or all) of my pc by just installing it and seeing if it works?

I'll check back here tomorrow - have a Merry Christmas.

Roy


P.S. Special thanks to 4KRG for pointing me towards the good deal.

Last edited by Roy28; 12-24-06 at 06:04 PM.
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Old 12-24-06, 06:11 PM
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wmansir says Gateway has stuck with standard ATX, so you should be OK.
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Old 12-24-06, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Altimus Prime
As I understand it, SLI means having two of the same graphics card connected and running together. That obviously needs more power.
Yep. Plan on around 120W - 150W per video card power drain. ATI cards seem to pull about 15-20%. But this is just my observation and I'm sure someone could find an article saying the opposite.
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Old 12-24-06, 09:54 PM
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I've only got one PCIE slot, so SLI isn't a practical option for me. Not that I think I'd need it, or want to pay for it. I think one 7900GS is enough for me.
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Old 12-25-06, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Altimus Prime
I've only got one PCIE slot, so SLI isn't a practical option for me. Not that I think I'd need it, or want to pay for it. I think one 7900GS is enough for me.
Same here, only one pciE x16 slot, but I'm not much of a gamer, but do a lot of multimedia stuff. Reading through the forums when I was trying to figure out what power supply to get, People kept bringing up that NVidia Cards are superior to Ati Cards if your a gamer, and the opposite if you're more into video editing, htdv - Multimedia type stuff.

One other complaint that came up about Ati cards is that they have a lot of driver issues, combatability issues, etc. - buy my current card is an Ati x300 128mb that has never given me a problem. The new one is an Ati Radeon x1600 pro 512mb, pciEx16, etc. that I got at best buy when it was on sale last week for $129.00 from $199.00 (I think) - after 12% coupon and some reward zone certificates I got it for like $75. It's a big leap in power between the two cards, but hopefully it will work ok. I got a 22" LCD monitor on Black Thursday that I haven't hooked up yet, I'm thinking that the dvi hookup will provide an awesome picture when I pair these two together.

Roy

Last edited by Roy28; 12-25-06 at 03:54 PM.
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Old 12-29-06, 07:15 PM
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I figured I'd give this a bump. I'm looking for a new power supply for my Dell Dimension 4300, it's a P4 (only 250W). There's been conflicting information on different sites about whether it's a standard ATX or it's still Dell's proprietary board. So I don't know if I can use a standard power supply or have to find one of the Dell specific ones.

I found this one http://www.pcpower.com/products/view...php?show=S41D2

$120 seems a bit on the high side compared to some of the ones I saw on Newegg and Tigerdirect.
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Old 12-29-06, 07:28 PM
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PCP&C's PSUs are rated to perform at a much higher level of temperature than your typical PSU. Only a few manufacturers are releasing models comparible to PCP&C. The higher the temp of your PSU, the more dramatic your power output decreases.
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Old 12-29-06, 08:42 PM
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You really pay a premium for that though. Aside from the PCP&C page, almost all the info I found on the web indicates the 4300 takes a standard ATX PSU.

Are you looking for a replacement or an upgrade?

For a replacement, you could get an OEM unit from dell for a fraction of the PCP&C price. Or if you "risk" going standard ATX the Sparkle 350PA would be a modest upgrade for <$40 shipped @newegg. The Xclio 450BL is a step higher for +$10 and the Xclio GoodPower 500W for another +$10.

Go higher than that and your options really open up.
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Old 12-29-06, 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by wmansir
You really pay a premium for that though. Aside from the PCP&C page, almost all the info I found on the web indicates the 4300 takes a standard ATX PSU.

Are you looking for a replacement or an upgrade?

For a replacement, you could get an OEM unit from dell for a fraction of the PCP&C price. Or if you "risk" going standard ATX the Sparkle 350PA would be a modest upgrade for <$40 shipped @newegg. The Xclio 450BL is a step higher for +$10 and the Xclio GoodPower 500W for another +$10.

Go higher than that and your options really open up.
Thanks for the advice

Yeah I'm looking for an upgrade. I was browsing in the 400W-500W range. I plan on adding a new graphics card in the near future and 250W is just not enough juice for it.

I found a couple of conflicting reports about the 4300 so I've been trying to get as much information as I can. Some 4300s made in the first half of 2001 still need the proprietary power supplies. Mine was built in the November of 01, so I'm assuming I'm in the clear.

Last edited by TheNightFlier; 12-29-06 at 09:00 PM.
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Old 12-30-06, 08:31 AM
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I got the 450BL for myself just yesterday. Wish I would have gotten the Antec deal here, but it was too late. A CPU upgrade, combined with my multiple drives, just put too much strain on the +12v rail. When trying to bootup from CD to install the OS the power drain from spinning up the disc would reboot the computer.

The Sparkle would have been fine for now, but I figured the 450BL would be a safer choice if I ever decide to get a real graphics card.

IF you do decide to go with a sparkle PSU then FYI, the 80MM fan units have better power specs than similarly rated 120MM units. They usually have near identical peak power output, but the 80MM versions have significantly better continuous output ratings. That's why they are a couple bucks more at Newegg.
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Old 12-30-06, 10:06 PM
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Ordered the Xclio 500W from Newegg today.
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