Do I need a bigger PSU for this video card?

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Do I need a bigger PSU for this video card?

Postposted on Fri Oct 19, 2012 1:49 am

So, the system in the sig used to have an Asus Radeon 4770 and I upgraded to the XFX R7870 Double Dissipation (2GB memory GHz edition). The power draw on my UPS is typically showing around 205W load at present and jumps up to about 350W when actually playing WOW. I have been occasionally smelling a burnt smell from the PSU. Seems to me I may be pushing the limits? Maybe this card is a bit much for my PSU?
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Re: Do I need a bigger PSU for this video card?

Postposted on Fri Oct 19, 2012 1:59 am

Mr Bill wrote:So, the system in the sig used to have an Asus Radeon 4770 and I upgraded to the XFX R7870 Double Dissipation (2GB memory GHz edition). The power draw on my UPS is typically showing around 205W load at present and jumps up to about 350W when actually playing WOW. I have been occasionally smelling a burnt smell from the PSU. Seems to me I may be pushing the limits? Maybe this card is a bit much for my PSU?



Well PSUs do degrade over time and although i didn't look up the model you have, i presume it's a few years old. If you have the budget and you smelled something coming out of the PSU, ofc an upgrade is in order. There is a slew of new PSU offerings, even Plantinum rating at ~100 bucks.

Edit, here are XFX's recommendation on the 7870 double D
XFX wrote:Requirements
External Power - 6-Pins:2
Minimum Power Supply Requirement:500 watt
XFX Recommended Power Supply:XFX 650W PSU


AMD's requirements:
■500W (or greater) power supply with one 75W 6-pin PCI Express power connector recommended ◦600W power supply (or greater) with two 75W 6-pin PCI Express power connectors recommended for AMD CrossFire™ technology.


Since ur PSU might be an older model the 12V ratings might have degraded or maybe they weren't high enough to beging with (what's the combined amps on the 12V for that PSU?).
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Re: Do I need a bigger PSU for this video card?

Postposted on Fri Oct 19, 2012 2:44 am

A "warm electronics" smell is nothing to worry about coming from a PSU, and I doubt your system is over-taxing the PSU too much - the Neo HE 550 has three 12v lines all rated to a decent load. One thing you could check is that the PCI-E cables are plugged into seperate 12v lines - according to the manual, if you're looking at the PSU from the cable exit side, the two sockets on the left are on one 12v line, and the other three are on another 12v line(the third line is for the CPU 12v supply). I have a Neo HE 430, and remember seeing this in the SPCR review of it :

http://www.silentpcreview.com/article273-page2.html (just under the table)

That's about all I would check, and even then if you read the blurb on that page, it's arguable whether that's even worth checking :). If the PC isn't crashing or exhibiting any "weirdness" under load, I wouldn't stress about it.
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Re: Do I need a bigger PSU for this video card?

Postposted on Fri Oct 19, 2012 3:16 am

If your system doesn't shut off during heavy gaming - your PSU is still "good enough" ;-) Smell doesn't really tell you anything - could be a dead cockroach slowly "roasting" on PSU's heatsink or something like this ;-)
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Re: Do I need a bigger PSU for this video card?

Postposted on Fri Oct 19, 2012 3:36 am

OK, I will check about the 12V lines being separate sources, I think I am using two next to each other to the left side looking at the sockets straight on, but I need to look. Sounds like probably not something to worry about since I am not having any hangs or interruptions. The smell seems to be mostly gone also, weird; it was very strong for one day and now its almost gone.

Edit: looks like combined 36A for 2 x 12V...
http://www.antec.com/specs/NeoHE550_spe.html
Should be OK I guess. Its just that one day I got home and the whole house smelled burnt and it was all coming from the PSU. But now there is no odor. Very odd. I have an APC Back-USP NS1250 protecting this system and it give real time watts.
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Re: Do I need a bigger PSU for this video card?

Postposted on Fri Oct 19, 2012 8:39 am

Enter your system specs into a PSU calculator. I get 442W suggested with a 25% capacitor aging. That is the recommended PSU wattage at 90% system load, not the the amount of power it will use at that load. I would say you're ok wattage-wise.

PSU's hit their max efficiency at around 50% load so this PSU calculator will take the power usage at 90% system load and multiply it by ~2x to give you a PSU wattage recommendation. That being said, just because your PSU has enough wattage to feed the system doesn't mean it can't die.
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Re: Do I need a bigger PSU for this video card?

Postposted on Fri Oct 19, 2012 9:39 am

Mr Bill wrote:Its just that one day I got home and the whole house smelled burnt and it was all coming from the PSU. But now there is no odor. Very odd. I have an APC Back-USP NS1250 protecting this system and it give real time watts.


Was that the first day it had been at high load for a while? Hot dust can often smell burnt, and it might be as simple as the PSU's rarely-used high fan speeds dislodging a sizable dustball so that it sat on a hot heatsink after being tucked away in a corner for years.

If it smelled of chemical fumes, I would personally be tempted to discharge the PSU, open it up and take a good look at the innards for signs of burning or popped capacitors. That'll invalidate your warranty so only worth doing if it's out of warranty.
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Re: Do I need a bigger PSU for this video card?

Postposted on Fri Oct 19, 2012 11:02 am

FWIW I hear a slight screech when my old psu 430w struggled with my gtx285.
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Re: Do I need a bigger PSU for this video card?

Postposted on Tue Oct 23, 2012 6:01 pm

Antec NeoHE 550W for a 7870? You're showing 350W AC from the UPS, which is probably only about 280W DC from the PSU itself?

You should be more than fine, unless the PSU is failing for some other reason. Load-wise you're more than ok. Heck, a Seasonic G360 should run that setup easily.
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Re: Do I need a bigger PSU for this video card?

Postposted on Tue Oct 23, 2012 6:59 pm

continuum wrote:Antec NeoHE 550W for a 7870? You're showing 350W AC from the UPS, which is probably only about 280W DC from the PSU itself?

You should be more than fine, unless the PSU is failing for some other reason. Load-wise you're more than ok. Heck, a Seasonic G360 should run that setup easily.


This- you have a quality PSU, and it's massively over-specc'd for your system. Might shine a light in there and make sure nothing's actually roasting. That PSU could handle a second GPU, if you'd want.
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Re: Do I need a bigger PSU for this video card?

Postposted on Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:28 pm

I checked with an EE friend of mine. His opinion is that the filtering capacitors are almost certainly starting to go and that I should start looking for a new PSU.
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Re: Do I need a bigger PSU for this video card?

Postposted on Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:53 pm

My advice would be to look for any of the models from Antec/Corsair/Seasonic and hunt the deals/sales for the models where Seasonic is the OEM.

Antec also use CWT, Fortron and HEC to make cheaper models. Seasonic makes their flagship stuff.
Seasonic stuff tends to be expensive, but sometimes you can get deals.
Cheaper Corsair models are made by CWT, pricier models are (can you guess?) Seasonic.

The fact that some of the biggest PSU names use Seasonic to make their flagship lines speaks volumes about Seasonic quality in general.
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Re: Do I need a bigger PSU for this video card?

Postposted on Wed Oct 31, 2012 4:19 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:My advice would be to look for any of the models from Antec/Corsair/Seasonic and hunt the deals/sales for the models where Seasonic is the OEM.

Antec also use CWT, Fortron and HEC to make cheaper models. Seasonic makes their flagship stuff.
Seasonic stuff tends to be expensive, but sometimes you can get deals.
Cheaper Corsair models are made by CWT, pricier models are (can you guess?) Seasonic.

The fact that some of the biggest PSU names use Seasonic to make their flagship lines speaks volumes about Seasonic quality in general.


If I had to trust a consumer PSU with my life, it'd be a Seasonic.
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