Suggestions for a good PSU for basic desktop computers?

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Suggestions for a good PSU for basic desktop computers?

Postposted on Wed Mar 23, 2011 3:31 pm

The spec I'm going for normally (for customers' computer builds) at the moment is:

Athlon II X2 250
1x 2GB DDR3-1333 RAM
ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3
On-board gfx (AMD HD 4290)
1x Seagate 7200.12 HD
1x SATA DVDRW

Up until now I've been using Corsair's VX450W. Probably overkill, but at least I haven't had one fail yet (I would guess that I've bought 30 of these PSUs, maybe more over the last three to four years.), and the 5-year warranty is nice. Unfortunately Corsair has discontinued this series.

My first thought is to go for the Corsair CX430 which still has a pretty beefy 12V rail, though I don't know what its noise levels are like compared to the VX450W. It only has a two-year warranty, and considering that the VX450W was only about £20 more, I would easily pay that for another three years' warranty with a reliable brand.

The only time that I've used a better PSU than the VX450W was when building Core i7 systems for a few customers who needed something more.

I would like to use a PSU that allows for a reasonable set of upgrades (e.g. a graphics card, an extra HD or DVD drive, better CPU, etc).
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Re: Suggestions for a good PSU for basic desktop computers?

Postposted on Wed Mar 23, 2011 8:20 pm

You're seriously shortchanging your customers on memory and you're risking their data with Seagate hard drives. :(

Check out Antec's EarthWatts series as inexpensive but decent power supplies. These are especially appealing when you can get them in a combination bundle with a quality Antec Performance case. OCZ StealthXStream 2 PSUs are also reasonably priced.

I've used several EarthWatts, one Corsair CX and one OCZ without any failures yet.
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JustAnEngineer
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Re: Suggestions for a good PSU for basic desktop computers?

Postposted on Wed Mar 23, 2011 8:51 pm

That computer build doesn't need much power at all. A good 300W PSU would be overkill, unless someone added a graphics card to it.

If you want quiet and good quality, there's no better brand than Seasonic, the company that was actually making those VX450s that you were buying. Their S12II series is what I think you want.
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Re: Suggestions for a good PSU for basic desktop computers?

Postposted on Thu Mar 24, 2011 3:19 am

JustAnEngineer wrote:You're seriously shortchanging your customers on memory and you're risking their data with Seagate hard drives. :(


My customers get to choose what goes in their computer. I haven't seen a Win7 64 system for the average uses of a computer go over 1.5GB RAM usage. My own PC has 4GB and the only time I've seen it go over 1.5GB RAM usage is when I'm playing a recent-ish 3D game. However, due to the current DDR3 prices, I suggest to customers that it makes more sense to upgrade it now as the price is unlikely to get any lower (unless Win8 needs 8GB RAM or something), and a RAM upgrade at a later date would also cost in terms of labour.

As for Seagate drives, which is the perfect drive in your opinion? In recent years I've had one Seagate desktop drive fail out of quite a lot fitted (probably as many Corsair PSUs I've fitted, given that I sometimes need to replace failed disks in PCs that I didn't build). If you've only got anecdotal evidence to throw in against Seagate, what's the point? I'm sure there'll be as many people on this forum who swear by Seagate as those who swear at Seagate :)

As far as I can think, I've replaced... 3 Seagate drives that I purchased. I started business in 2004. I would guess that I've bought probably 100 - 120 in that time (though admittedly a customer could have had a drive installed by me that then failed and took it to someone else). For a long time I was replacing loads of Western Digital drives, but then Seagate drive replacements became a lot more common because.... Packard Bell and quite a few other OEMs switched to Seagate. I had something against WD for a long time largely based on anecdotal evidence. Looking over the 500GB Caviar Black, I might offer it as an option for customers who are potentially interested in a drive with a longer warranty.

FuturePastNow wrote:If you want quiet and good quality, there's no better brand than Seasonic, the company that was actually making those VX450s that you were buying. Their S12II series is what I think you want.


Yes, I know. However from the prices I'm seeing, their S12II-430 is the same price as the VX450W and has two years' less warranty. I would consider it if that is exactly the same hardware as the VX450W, but I'm fairly sure the VX450W had 1x 12V rail, as does the CX430.

I'll try to find some reviews of the Antec EarthWatt range and Seasonic's PSUs, thanks for the input.
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Re: Suggestions for a good PSU for basic desktop computers?

Postposted on Thu Mar 24, 2011 3:49 am

Unfortunately it doesn't look like anyone's offering a significantly longer warranty than 2 years at the entry-level end of the quality PSU market now that the VX series has gone. The Earthwatts has 3, but you're over £50 at that point. In the context of the rest of the system cost, I think it would be daft to spend more than £50 on the PSU, so I'd stick with the Corsair CX430 which is stupidly cheap and seems to get universally good reviews. It's also powerful enough to withstand an upgrade to a mid-range graphics card down the line.
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Re: Suggestions for a good PSU for basic desktop computers?

Postposted on Thu Mar 24, 2011 4:30 am

MrJP wrote:Unfortunately it doesn't look like anyone's offering a significantly longer warranty than 2 years at the entry-level end of the quality PSU market now that the VX series has gone. The Earthwatts has 3, but you're over £50 at that point. In the context of the rest of the system cost, I think it would be daft to spend more than £50 on the PSU, so I'd stick with the Corsair CX430 which is stupidly cheap and seems to get universally good reviews. It's also powerful enough to withstand an upgrade to a mid-range graphics card down the line.


I haven't actually seen a review of the CX430, if you know of one that I can refer to, that would be helpful :) I would be happier if I knew that its noise levels are in line with the VX range. I'll need to decide later what PSU to use when I'm building something a bit more powerful as well.

It's a shame that the 5-year warranty has gone for entry-level quality PSUs, it gives a good impression to my customers IMO.

Adding 'look for PSU reviews' to my to-do list today...
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Re: Suggestions for a good PSU for basic desktop computers?

Postposted on Thu Mar 24, 2011 8:06 am

I have the CX430 and its been powering an atom server for 6 months 24/7 with zero issues. I really haven't noticed any noise at all, but I do believe the fan is always spinning but its virtually silent. I don't have a comparison to the VX PSU line though. Hope that helps.
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Re: Suggestions for a good PSU for basic desktop computers?

Postposted on Thu Mar 24, 2011 1:58 pm

mikeymike wrote:I haven't actually seen a review of the CX430, if you know of one that I can refer to, that would be helpful :)

GIYF. But to be helpful :) this is a good one at a well-repected site.
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Re: Suggestions for a good PSU for basic desktop computers?

Postposted on Thu Mar 24, 2011 2:58 pm

mikeymike wrote:My customers get to choose what goes in their computer. I haven't seen a Win7 64 system for the average uses of a computer go over 1.5GB RAM usage. My own PC has 4GB and the only time I've seen it go over 1.5GB RAM usage is when I'm playing a recent-ish 3D game. However, due to the current DDR3 prices, I suggest to customers that it makes more sense to upgrade it now as the price is unlikely to get any lower (unless Win8 needs 8GB RAM or something), and a RAM upgrade at a later date would also cost in terms of labour.
Indeed, typical home users still don't need more than 2GB - and that was with Vista, even.

As for Seagate drives, which is the perfect drive in your opinion? In recent years I've had one Seagate desktop drive fail out of quite a lot fitted (probably as many Corsair PSUs I've fitted, given that I sometimes need to replace failed disks in PCs that I didn't build). If you've only got anecdotal evidence to throw in against Seagate, what's the point? I'm sure there'll be as many people on this forum who swear by Seagate as those who swear at Seagate :)
On point yet again. Seagate is not my favorite, but ALL of our machines here at work - Dells - have Seagate drives in them and not a single one has failed. Now, 30 machines is a small sample size, but the fact still remains. We're talking about machines from 2006. Point is, Seagates are anecdotally no less reliable than anything else.

As for the PSU - 350 or 400 watts should be very sufficient, even for machine's with video cards up to like a Radeon 5670 or such.
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Re: Suggestions for a good PSU for basic desktop computers?

Postposted on Tue Mar 29, 2011 10:16 pm

Seagate drives do fail more often, but it is a fraction of a percent difference, therefore it is only noticeable on large scales; for example new egg reviews. That being said I am partial against Seagate because my friend did have a drive fail by them haha.
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