Can't find a decent mATX PSU

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Can't find a decent mATX PSU

Postposted on Tue Nov 13, 2007 3:14 pm

I am building a new PC for my dad, who is insisting on a SFF machine. After building many machines himself in the past and being tired of mid and full towers, he wants something small and slim that he can sit on top of his desk.

Our ultimate goals for the machine are as follows:
-SFF slim case that will stand on its side to maximize desk space
-maximum upgradability (I might have made that word up)

I think I have all of the components picked out. However the PSU for the case we're looking at seems to be fairly low quality based on user reviews on newegg. One review in particular was written by someone who claims to have built upwards of 20 machines using the case I picked out and he claims that the PSUs consistently fail after about 6-7 months.

Here are the components I'm considering for this build:

- Antec Minuet 300 Case w/300W PSU included
- AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ Brisbane 2.5GHz
- ABIT AN-M2HD AM2 NVIDIA GeForce 7050PV
- G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)
- Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD2500KSRTL 250GB
- DVD-/+R / CD-RW drive that hasn't been picked out yet
- ASUS MB19SE Silver 19" 5ms LCD Monitor

OS will be either Vista Home Premium or Ultimate. No video card picked out as mobo has integrated video, however, I would like a PSU that can support a good video card down the road.

Case, PSU and mobo are all mATX. My ultimate question is, does anyone know of any reliable ~300W mATX PSUs?
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Re: Can't find a decent mATX PSU

Postposted on Tue Nov 13, 2007 3:42 pm

zer0 wrote:Our ultimate goals for the machine are as follows:
-SFF slim case that will stand on its side to maximize desk space
-maximum upgradability (I might have made that word up)


I think your 2 goals are opposed to one another. A slim case that only accepts a mATX PSU means your "upgradability" options are very limited. AFAIK mATX PSUs max out at 300W which doesn't allow for many upgrade options.

I would see if your dad might be ok with a "cube" style SFF instead of the slim design. The Silverstone SG01 for example will accept a full size ATX PSU.
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Postposted on Tue Nov 13, 2007 5:40 pm

Well, when I say maximum upgradeability (think if I say it enough it will catch on?), I'm really speaking in terms of RAM and a dedicated video card down the line. I want to replace the PSU that comes with the case outright, but after that the only thing that I would be upgrading on the machine is the video card and RAM in a year or two and maybe the CPU several years down the road.

I'm fairly certain that with a reliable 300W PSU this should be doable. Unfortunately finding a reliable 300W mATX PSU seems to be proving more difficult than I had hoped.

Also, the reason I'm not going for a cube design like a Shuttle or the Silverstone you mentioned is because the desk that the PC will be sitting on is fairly narrow as well as shallow. Height is less of an issue than width.

The old man doesn't want to have to go under the desk or bend over to reach the back of the tower to plug things in. He also doesn't want it to collect much dust. Why he won't let me just build him a mid tower ATX machine with dust filters and front side ports is beyond me.

Anyway, if anyone knows of a reliable mATX manufacturer or model, your advice would be much appreciated.
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ATX and micro-ATX are usually interchangeable

Postposted on Fri Nov 16, 2007 6:41 pm

There are a few decent micro-ATX or SFX power supplies available. However, you may get better results from installing a regular ATX power supply into your micro-ATX case. That is what I did with mine.

The difference between an ATX PSU and a micro-ATX PSU, is that the ATX power supply is 1.6" (40mm) deeper than the micro-ATX power supply. The height and width are the same. If your case is deep enough and/or your optical drive is shallow enough to accommodate the deeper power supply, that is probably the best way to go. Something like the Corsair 520HX would be good, because you would install only the modular cables that you needed, reducing clutter in your cramped micro-ATX case.


For your motherboard selection, I suggest using the AMD 690G chipset. Something like the ASUS M2A-VM would be a good starting point.
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Postposted on Thu Nov 29, 2007 9:53 am

Well, I went with the items I spec'ed out after all. Turns out my concerns about the PSU that was bundled with the Antec Minuet weren't necessary. I had read a bad review from a guy who claimed to have build several dozen systems with that case and PSU who said the PSUs burn out frequently, but I found out that he was referring to a previous SKU that bundled the same case with a cheaper 220W PSU.

My 300W PSU that case with the case should be ok afterall. I just built the system earlier this week, and with the exception of a bad CMOS battery on the new board which was easily replaced, I've had no problems whatsoever. Although Vista Home Premium looks nice with the integrated DX9 graphics, I'm thinking about buying my dad a DX10 card, (either a GeForce 8400 or Radeon 2400) for Christmas. Granted, this might just be a sign that my compulsive upgrading is getting out of hand...
I think the vast majority of people who tell you they have a virus actually mean 'I keep my pictures in the system32 folder and occasionally delete things at random'.

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Postposted on Thu Nov 29, 2007 5:42 pm

If you're going to bother getting an add-in card, you'll want at least a Radeon HD2600Pro or GeForce 8600 product.
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Postposted on Fri Nov 30, 2007 3:32 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:If you're going to bother getting an add-in card, you'll want at least a Radeon HD2600Pro or GeForce 8600 product.


Unfortunately I need a card with low profile brackets to fit inside the case, and so far the GeForce 8400 GS and Radeon HD2400 PRO are the best low profile cards I've been able to come across. If you know of a GeForce 8600 or Radeon HD2600 card that comes with low profile brackets then by all means, let me know, but I haven't been able to find any.
I think the vast majority of people who tell you they have a virus actually mean 'I keep my pictures in the system32 folder and occasionally delete things at random'.

"it boots up so fast the desktop icons fly right off the screen..."
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Low-profile graphics card are wimpy

Postposted on Fri Nov 30, 2007 6:41 pm

i7-4770K, H70, Gryphon Z87, 16 GiB, R9-290, SSD, 2 HD, Blu-ray, SB ZX, TJ08-E, SS-660XP², 3007WFP+2001FP, RK-9000BR, MX518
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Postposted on Mon Dec 03, 2007 12:05 pm

I'm not sure when you were able to find a low profile 8600 GT but when I searched newegg, I wasn't able to find any low profile cards. I'll keep my eyes open though if you say thee is one available.
I think the vast majority of people who tell you they have a virus actually mean 'I keep my pictures in the system32 folder and occasionally delete things at random'.

"it boots up so fast the desktop icons fly right off the screen..."
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Re: Can't find a decent mATX PSU

Postposted on Mon Feb 11, 2008 11:43 pm

You don't need to go SFF to get a compact PC.

Several uATX cases accomodate full-size ATX power supplies:
Antec NSK3480 (comes with 380W Seasonic-made PSU)
Silverstone SG-01/03
Silverstone TJ-08 (I have one as my own system with an Asus G35 mobo and an overclocked E8400)

The benefit of getting one of these instead of a shuttle would be better upgradeability, easier to repair/replace parts, better airflow, at the cost of increased size.
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