Cheap but reliable PSU suggestions?

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Cheap but reliable PSU suggestions?

Postposted on Sun Mar 08, 2009 10:51 pm

Here are the system's specifications:

-AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 95W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103649&nm_mc=OTC-pr1c3grabb3r&cm_mmc=OTC-pr1c3grabb3r-_-Processors+-+Desktops-_-AMD-_-19103649
-GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4 AM2+/AM2 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128381&nm_mc=AFC-Techreport&cm_mmc=AFC-Techreport-_-NA-_-NA-_-NA
-SAPPHIRE 100245L Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102770
-Western Digital Caviar SE WD1600JS 160GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?Item=N82E16822144415
-Patriot Extreme Performance 4GB (4 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Quad Kit Desktop Memory
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820220267
-DVD R/W+ Drive/Burner SATA

I'm assuming no more than 550W and I don't want to spend more than $60. The cheaper the better, but also I want it to be reliable. I guess some brands that are reliable are Antec, OCZ, Corshair, PC Power & Cooling?
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Re: Cheap but reliable PSU suggestions?

Postposted on Sun Mar 08, 2009 11:18 pm

The FSP Blue Storm II is extremely reliable and has been raved about in online reviews. I got mine for $59.95. Unfortunately, I just checked NewEgg and it's now selling for $85. Not sure why it went up. You might be able to find it somewhere else online for less. FSP in general is very good. The are the actual manufacturer of many companies power supplies. They got their start in power supplies and then branched off into motherboards (Foxtron).

The BFG Tech GS-550 is also a great power supply. Rock solid, very quiet, and has modular connectors.. It's extremely large though, so it'll only work if you have a big enough case for it. It's $54 on NewEgg right now. If you have room for it, that would be a good choice. Edit: Oops, the one from NewEgg doesn't have modular connectors. I had a power supply with the same name from Best Buy that did have modular connectors. It was more money though.

Other good brands: Corsair, ThermalTake, SilverStone. Stay away from Raidmax and Coolmax. Enermax is good though.

Antec is very good in the $100 price range, but their cheap power supplies not great.

For probably the best power supply reviews on the web, check out Jonnyguru.com . A lot of what he gives good reviews is out of your stated price range though.

my two cents...
Last edited by barleyguy on Tue Mar 10, 2009 1:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Cheap but reliable PSU suggestions?

Postposted on Sun Mar 08, 2009 11:24 pm

Thanks a lot! I appreciate it!
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Re: Cheap but reliable PSU suggestions?

Postposted on Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:07 am

Newegg has many good PSUs. Take a look at the Antec earthwatts EA-500 for $70 with free shipping, for example.
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Re: Cheap but reliable PSU suggestions?

Postposted on Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:42 am

Newegg is currently selling the Antec Neo Power 430 for $50 with free shipping and it's modular. I got the 500 watt version and love it.
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Re: Cheap but reliable PSU suggestions?

Postposted on Mon Mar 09, 2009 6:12 am

You've seen these three reviews, right?
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Re: Cheap but reliable PSU suggestions?

Postposted on Mon Mar 09, 2009 6:57 am

The problem though, is the $60 budget. If you want something >= 500W I'm afraid you should up your budget a bit (also account for taxes and shipping) so you won't be forced into getting some lesser-known brand. I'm not saying that you will not get a good unit from a lesser-known brand, but why take the chance?
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Re: Cheap but reliable PSU suggestions?

Postposted on Mon Mar 09, 2009 7:10 am

There's a lot of Antecs in circulation, probably due to their near monopoly at brick and mortar stores like Staples, Best Buy, Circuit City (RIP), PC Richard, OfficeMax, and OfficeDepot, so the number of failures may seem skewed. But from personal experience, Antec is one power supply brand I avoid. I've never dealt with their higher wattage power supplies (800+) but I've dealt with quite a few of their lower wattage models that you would be looking at in that price range. I've had two dead out of the box, one died within 30 minutes of using it, and another died and took the system with it.
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Re: Cheap but reliable PSU suggestions?

Postposted on Mon Mar 09, 2009 7:18 am

bdwilcox wrote:There's a lot of Antecs in circulation, probably due to their near monopoly at brick and mortar stores like Staples, Best Buy, Circuit City (RIP), PC Richard, OfficeMax, and OfficeDepot, so the number of failures may seem skewed. But from personal experience, Antec is one power supply brand I avoid. I've never dealt with their higher wattage power supplies (800+) but I've dealt with quite a few of their lower wattage models that you would be looking at in that price range. I've had two dead out of the box, one died within 30 minutes of using it, and another died and took the system with it.
My (probably larger sample sized) experience is that they all suck. There are only a few real PSU manufacturer's around, companies like Antec mostly just select what they think will make them the most money from other OEMs like FSP, Seasonic, etc.
This might be the cheapest $500 I would want in a system. I doubt it's any less likely to fail or take down other components than any other boutique power supply.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817104053
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Re: Cheap but reliable PSU suggestions?

Postposted on Mon Mar 09, 2009 7:26 am

The more recent Antecs are good. I have the older Neo HE 430W which is OEM'ed by Seasonic. I think the older batches of SmartPower units left them a bad rap. They seem to have cleaned up their act by and large. Even the el cheapo Basiq survived the Beast. The EarthWatts and Neo HE also fared pretty well against it.
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Re: Cheap but reliable PSU suggestions?

Postposted on Mon Mar 09, 2009 7:35 am

Flying Fox wrote:The problem though, is the $60 budget....

Ah, sorry, I missed that line... that makes it a bit tougher.
Flying Fox wrote:If you want something >= 500W I'm afraid you should up your budget a bit (also account for taxes and shipping) so you won't be forced into getting some lesser-known brand....

I couldn't agree more. By the way, there were 3 or 4 units in those reviews I linked that fall under the $60 line (at least before shipping), and a couple of them were deemed to be decent options by Geoff after all his testing and analysis. But still, getting something truly recommendation-worthy under $50 is hard.
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Re: Cheap but reliable PSU suggestions?

Postposted on Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:52 pm

The Corsair CX400 is usually around $49.99 and should be fine for an X3/4850 system.

Edit: The CX400 of course is made by Seasonic, and they probably sell something similar at the same price.
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Re: Cheap but reliable PSU suggestions?

Postposted on Mon Mar 09, 2009 7:14 pm

***ORIGINAL POSTER***

As of now I have a Rosewill RD500-2DB 500W PSU (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817182044). I know the efficiency is only > 65%, but I've been using it for about 6-7 months with my current config. (Athlon X2 2.2GHz 65W, Radeon HD 4850, Foxconn nForce 590a SLI) and so far there haven't been any problems. But I plan to upgrade to the Phenom II X3 720 and that Mobo in the original post, so do you think that would kill my PSU or will it hold up? What if I were to overclock that X3 720 in the future?
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Re: Cheap but reliable PSU suggestions?

Postposted on Tue Mar 10, 2009 1:03 pm

I've found that cheap power supplies will usually run the motherboard OK, as they are usually stable to half their rating. But once you add in a real video card things get unstable quick.

I've got an Apevia Micro ATX case, and the stock power supply seemed to work fine with onboard video or video without a power plug, but when I added in a Radeon 1900 video card a while back the whole system went flaky. That's when I got the Blue Storm II. I then did a full upgrade with a newer Athlon and a Radeon 3870 and things are still solid.

The problem with 65% efficiency is that it represents a cheap design, which is pretty definitely not stable to 500 watts.
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Re: Cheap but reliable PSU suggestions?

Postposted on Tue Mar 10, 2009 1:19 pm

FYI BFG Tech GS-550 550W http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817702010.

EDIT: Just noticed rebate taking it to $50 http://images10.newegg.com/uploadfilesfornewegg/rebate/SH/BFG17-702-010Mar01Mar3109lh15.pdf AND it has free shipping -- not too shabby.
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Re: Cheap but reliable PSU suggestions?

Postposted on Tue Mar 10, 2009 7:59 pm

xzelence wrote:***ORIGINAL POSTER***

As of now I have a Rosewill RD500-2DB 500W PSU (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817182044). I know the efficiency is only > 65%, but I've been using it for about 6-7 months with my current config. (Athlon X2 2.2GHz 65W, Radeon HD 4850, Foxconn nForce 590a SLI) and so far there haven't been any problems. But I plan to upgrade to the Phenom II X3 720 and that Mobo in the original post, so do you think that would kill my PSU or will it hold up? What if I were to overclock that X3 720 in the future?


While that's not a great power supply, if it runs your current system fine, it should be OK with just a different mobo and faster processor. You're talking about a power consumption increase of maybe 20W max.

If you were adding a second video card or another major addition, then you should replace the PSU.
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Re: Cheap but reliable PSU suggestions?

Postposted on Tue Mar 10, 2009 8:01 pm

Haha being in Hawaii free shipping doesn't help me, but thanks a lot!

How about this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817182159

You think that would be good enough for a:
-Phenom II X3 720
-http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128376
-and a Radeon HD 4870 (up from my current 4850?)

Or should I go up in max. wattage? What do you think should be the minimum for a configuration like that? I'll spend more money if it means future stability and OCing abilities. Preferably no more than $100 though...
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Re: Cheap but reliable PSU suggestions?

Postposted on Tue Mar 10, 2009 8:19 pm

Your current PSU should be just fine. The changes to the system aren't going to put it in another class. Even at max CPU/GPU/disk usage your computer shouldn't come close to maxing that PSU out. To be safe you could check the amp rating for the 12v line as that's where most of your power will be coming from. It should be written on a sticker attached to the unit. If it's 25+ amps then you'll be good. That's 300 watts on the 12v line. Taking into account that the 4850 review had load power usage from the wall at 236 watts you'll have plenty of wiggle room. They were using a quad core processor which should pull at least as much juice as the one you are putting in.
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Re: Cheap but reliable PSU suggestions?

Postposted on Tue Mar 10, 2009 8:27 pm

As far as I can read the label on my PSU, under DC input it says
+12V1 = 15A
+12V2 = 16A
-12V = 0.8A

I guess that's because it's +12 rails, so there's multiple? Do I add those two together to get 31 Amps, or does it not work like that? OR am I reading the wrong thing?
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Re: Cheap but reliable PSU suggestions?

Postposted on Tue Mar 10, 2009 8:37 pm

Yeah it works like that. Those ratings are more than enough. Even if the PSU is optimistically labeled there shouldn't be a problem.
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Re: Cheap but reliable PSU suggestions?

Postposted on Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:29 pm

Stick with what you have for now and keep your eye open for a kick ass sale. Getting an efficient PSU is the way to go, there are new 90+% effcient PSU's (Gold rated) coming out in the near future, so wait for one of them.
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Re: Cheap but reliable PSU suggestions?

Postposted on Wed Mar 11, 2009 4:54 am

There's no way he's going to get anything near 90% efficiency for under $100 in the near future.
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Re: Cheap but reliable PSU suggestions?

Postposted on Wed Mar 11, 2009 7:06 am

xzelence wrote:As far as I can read the label on my PSU, under DC input it says
+12V1 = 15A
+12V2 = 16A
-12V = 0.8A

I guess that's because it's +12 rails, so there's multiple? Do I add those two together to get 31 Amps, or does it not work like that? OR am I reading the wrong thing?

Don't just add those 2 together. Look for a "combined wattage/amperage" on the label too. At a given instant either one of these rails can let that much current through, but combined sustained wattage/amperage may be a lot less. There is also the uncertainty of how Rosewill arrived at those numbers. Lesser quality brands usually exaggerate a bit on those numbers so you have to account for that.
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Re: Cheap but reliable PSU suggestions?

Postposted on Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:10 pm

Hmmm. Thanks for that info about actual currents Flying Fox, I'll have to keep that in mind when I purchase PSUs in the future.

It seems to me, though, that enough people are suggesting that I stick with my current PSU when I upgrade my CPU and Motherboard, so I think I'll do just that.

However, should I buy a new PSU in the future, or when I look for PSUs for systems I'm building for my friends, are there any particular brands I should stick to (or avoid) in addition to a 80 Plus rating? And also, what kind of system would warrant a PSU over 600 watts?
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Re: Cheap but reliable PSU suggestions?

Postposted on Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:18 pm

600w+ is good for SLI/Crossfire. Maybe if you have some big disk arrays(I'm not familiar with that). Enermax, seasonic, pc power and cooling are all good brands.
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Re: Cheap but reliable PSU suggestions?

Postposted on Wed Mar 11, 2009 7:05 pm

Thebolt wrote:Maybe if you have some big disk arrays(I'm not familiar with that).


Lots of disks (and the fans to cool them) require lots of 12V Amps to start up, although modern RAID controllers and drives support staggered spinup, so that is less of an issue now.
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Re: Cheap but reliable PSU suggestions?

Postposted on Fri Mar 20, 2009 3:49 pm

OCZ and Corsair are good brands too. I like Antec as well, but there are some here who would disagree.
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Re: Cheap but reliable PSU suggestions?

Postposted on Mon Mar 23, 2009 2:40 pm

Corsair CX400, Very nice PSU, really quiet and good build quality.
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Re: Cheap but reliable PSU suggestions?

Postposted on Mon Mar 23, 2009 2:50 pm

Corsair VX450 is a very nice PSU for the price. Don't get thrown off by wattage numbers, in reality >500W is only necessary for overclocked multi-GPU quad core systems unless perhaps one is always running the computer at full load for say folding at home. I didn't do any actual price searching but buy.com usually has good prices on PSUs: http://www.buy.com/prod/corsair-450w-vx ... 66485.html
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