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Power Supply: Is bigger always better?

Old 09-22-09, 04:46 PM
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Power Supply: Is bigger always better?

I need to replace the dead power supply in my homebuilt computer.
It's an old P4 motherboard; the user guide says use 400W for fully loaded.
Shopping around I've seen a 600W (Kingwin) supply in same price/quality range as the 450-500W models I'm considering. And I am think of upgradability. So will a 600W run hotter or consume more power ($) than a 450W supply? Or does it consume only according to my computer's demands? Is there a downside to going way overboard with the power supply?
Old 09-22-09, 05:00 PM
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Re: Power Supply: Is bigger always better?

It is my understanding that if you buy a 600 watt power supply, and your computer only uses 450 watts, then you're only using 450 watts.

600 W is just the max that the power supply is rated at.

Is there a downside? Well, why spend $$ on an 1100W power supply if you are never going to use anywhere near that much power?
Old 09-22-09, 06:53 PM
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Re: Power Supply: Is bigger always better?

Width also matters
Old 09-22-09, 07:25 PM
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Re: Power Supply: Is bigger always better?

Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post
Width also matters
I thought it was the "motion of the ocean" that mattered
Old 09-23-09, 03:22 AM
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Re: Power Supply: Is bigger always better?

It's not the size, its how you use it.
Old 09-23-09, 04:20 AM
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Re: Power Supply: Is bigger always better?

Stay away from Xclio. I normally don't pan a vendor based on a single hardware failure, but their customer support was almost none existent.

Also, make sure the PS is 80PLUS certified. That means the PS gets at least 80% efficiency various load levels. 80PLUS bronze, silver and gold are even better.

Don't over buy on max wattage. PSs operate at peak efficiency in the 50-75% load range. If your system averages a 200W load then a 400W PS will generally be more efficient than a 600W or larger supply. If you really think you will need more power in the future, then buy the extra headroom, but I would take a look at what kind of system you might upgrade to in the future. The P4 platform was an energy hog, so unless you plan on building a gaming rig with a power hungry video card (or two), you may find a newer build doesn't need a beefier PS.
Old 09-23-09, 08:35 AM
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Re: Power Supply: Is bigger always better?

and most power supplies are made by the same companies in China and then rebranded as Thermaltake or one of the other names you'll see hyped on anandtech
Old 09-23-09, 01:59 PM
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Re: Power Supply: Is bigger always better?

Originally Posted by wmansir View Post
Stay away from Xclio. I normally don't pan a vendor based on a single hardware failure, but their customer support was almost none existent.
I myself have zero complaints about OCZ despite the fact that the PS I initially bought had to be replaced twice (for different reasons) until they sent me a different model.

Their warranty and customer service were great, even thought that other PS had some serious issues.
Old 09-24-09, 01:14 PM
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Re: Power Supply: Is bigger always better?

Thanks all for the replies.

I'm seeing price overlaps within the 400-600W range, so it doesn't necessarily cost more for a beefier PSU, with promotional discounts and rebates and such. For example, one seller has the 600W Kingwin priced $5 less than the 450W Kingwin; both are in the same product family. That's why I asked.
Old 09-24-09, 02:07 PM
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Re: Power Supply: Is bigger always better?

The downside is over paying for more PSU than you need

Since you refer to this machine as a home built P4, maybe just a basic power supply will be good enough until you build a new computer?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...namitedata.com

or

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-NA-_-17148027

There was a day when upgrading and buying parts with the future upgrade in mind made sense, for the most part, that day has passed Just buy what you need. Since this machine probably needs to be replaced anyway, a 'basic but functional' $30 power supply will probably be fine.

Last edited by 4KRG; 09-24-09 at 02:11 PM.

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