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localhostrulez
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Re: Old PSUs

Mon Jul 18, 2016 2:57 pm

ludi wrote:
I've had two PSU failures, one of which was a cheap CompUSA store-brand from waaaayyy-back-when that emitted loud *SNAP* and never breathed again, and the other was an Antec that began emitting the noises and odors of corona discharge and was pulled out of service immediately. Both were replaced under warranty and there was no further damage to the respective computer systems.

However, a failing switchmode power supply can send its output voltages wildly out of spec or begin passing AC voltages into the DC output, and either condition is capable of destroying everything downstream if the output protection circuitry is inadequate. Not common, but possible.

Ah yes, weren't some Bestec units notorious for this several years back? Sending 120V right into the motherboard (or standby line?).

As for cleaning PSUs... I've spent summers cleaning out PCs at work. Take a compressed air blower (120V), pull off the front plastic grill on the PC, push things out of the way, and blow air everywhere (while wearing a mask, hopefully). So satisfying seeing the green silicon of the motherboard, rather than the greenish/grayish of dust all over. Amazing what comes out of those things sometimes. I don't recall the Antec 300 ever getting terribly dusty though (although I since gave it to a friend).
 
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Re: Old PSUs

Mon Jul 18, 2016 3:08 pm

just brew it! wrote:
I owned two of that exact case. One of them still houses the web server. My oldest daughter has the other one; it was her desktop PC through most of high school and college, and for a couple of years after she found a job and moved out. IIRC they originally came with Deer PSUs pre-installed, which got replaced fairly early on.

Sounds about right, and probably explains why it exploded. :P

You seem to enjoy getting your use out of those old cases.
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Re: Old PSUs

Mon Jul 18, 2016 3:20 pm

The Egg wrote:
You seem to enjoy getting your use out of those old cases.

If it ain't broke...

Also, you're dealing with the guy who has been known to zip-tie motherboards into plastic storage crates, in lieu of actual cases. :wink:

Image
(Image courtesy of the web server running in that old Enlight case!)
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MOSFET
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Re: Old PSUs

Mon Jul 18, 2016 4:39 pm

I really enjoyed seeing this picture! One can be an organizational freak and practical/cheap at the same time :D
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Re: Old PSUs

Mon Jul 18, 2016 4:59 pm

MOSFET wrote:
I really enjoyed seeing this picture! One can be an organizational freak and practical/cheap at the same time :D

Was a common config in the early days of "folding". Depending on ambient temps, several mobos could be zip-tied into one crate.
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just brew it!
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Re: Old PSUs

Mon Jul 18, 2016 5:18 pm

Yup. That was one of my dual-core folding crates! Had the mobos set to PXE boot Linux over the network, so the individual nodes did not need any local storage.
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Re: Old PSUs

Mon Jul 18, 2016 5:52 pm

The Egg wrote:
I don't remember the brand of PSU, but I know it was a generic that came with a common (and fairly heavily built) ATX case of the time period (98-00'ish). Brand of the case started with an A. No damage to other components.


Heavy, good-quality case?
Low-quality power supply?
Starts with an A?

AOpen.

ImageImageImage

Your options back then were Antec, AOpen, Chieftec, Chenbro, Coolermaster, Elan, Enlight and Lian-Li, and a bunch of no-name crap like Casecom and Aspire, to name a couple. (edited to add Elan and Enlight, my memory is not as good as waybackmachine's)

I sold a couple of PC's using AOpen's HX45 case (the one on the left) and the 230W PSU did not deliver.
Last edited by Chrispy_ on Mon Jul 18, 2016 6:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Old PSUs

Mon Jul 18, 2016 6:03 pm

Beige, beige, Packard Bell.
Gateway 2000, bloody Dell.

Anal nathrak, uthvas bethud, do che-ol di-enve.

Lather, rinse, repeat.
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Chrispy_
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Re: Old PSUs

Mon Jul 18, 2016 6:10 pm

No, Chieftec/Chenbro cases came in black or blue as well as some hideous models in metallic gold, silver and green. Perhaps that was a couple of years later though.

Me, I spraypainted my Chenbro with an antrhacite auto paint and drilled an 80mm hole in the side for my badass Geforce 2 MX.
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just brew it!
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Re: Old PSUs

Mon Jul 18, 2016 6:21 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:
No, Chieftec/Chenbro cases came in black or blue as well as some hideous models in metallic gold, silver and green. Perhaps that was a couple of years later though.

And puke green/yellow, and purple. I own or owned them in those colors. (Got 'em dirt cheap at a TigerDirect clearance sale years ago.)

Last I heard, the puke colored one housed gleek's Minecraft server (he bought it and the system that it housed from me at one of the BBQ swap fests). I still own the purple and metallic green ones. :wink:
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localhostrulez
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Re: Old PSUs

Mon Jul 18, 2016 7:17 pm

just brew it! wrote:
The Egg wrote:
You seem to enjoy getting your use out of those old cases.

If it ain't broke...

Also, you're dealing with the guy who has been known to zip-tie motherboards into plastic storage crates, in lieu of actual cases. :wink:
(Image courtesy of the web server running in that old Enlight case!)

Oh man... I have a friend who used a cardboard box for years (eventually he tired of that, and I sold him the Antec 300). How did he never think of a crate? :lol:
 
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Re: Old PSUs

Tue Jul 19, 2016 12:44 pm

localhostrulez wrote:
just brew it! wrote:
The Egg wrote:
You seem to enjoy getting your use out of those old cases.

If it ain't broke...

Also, you're dealing with the guy who has been known to zip-tie motherboards into plastic storage crates, in lieu of actual cases. :wink:
(Image courtesy of the web server running in that old Enlight case!)

Oh man... I have a friend who used a cardboard box for years (eventually he tired of that, and I sold him the Antec 300). How did he never think of a crate? :lol:


When I started college in the year 2000 a buddy of mine used an old 486 as a print server. He told me to come by and see it, and, being unable to imagine what could be so special about a print server, I dutifully went over there. It lived in a cardboard box, ran Windows 95, and had a cooling solution of a shoebox with a rewired industrial fan blowing over the entire thing. When it got uncooperative or locked up - which was frequent - you'd walk over and thump a reset button mounted on the outside of the box. When I asked where he got the reset switch, he said it was fished out of a case that had been hit by a car next to a university dumpster. That was eventually replaced by my old Cyrix 6x86 PR200+ running Debian, living in the same shameful conditions.
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Re: Old PSUs

Tue Jul 19, 2016 2:29 pm

I've also been known to put 1" machine screws through the motherboard mounting holes as legs, secure them with hex nuts, and just lay the motherboard on the table or floor. One of the Folding@home nodes ran that way under my desk for several months.
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Re: Old PSUs

Tue Jul 19, 2016 6:32 pm

Oh I remember you. Damn good case and yes the PSU failed on this one.

Image
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Re: Old PSUs

Tue Jul 19, 2016 6:38 pm

My old case, still in service as a junk server at work:

http://archive.arstechnica.com/reviews/ ... hyr-1.html

(Bonus super-retro review!)
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Re: Old PSUs

Thu Jul 21, 2016 1:53 pm

The PSU experts at JonnyGuru have a forum thread on that question. The majority stated they would use the PSU until it conked out, with the caveat being it was a decent brand PSU. So if it's a cheap PSU you may want to reconsider.

Also, what the heck is it with you guys and old cases. :lol: I've managed to get rid of mine by selling them as a complete desktop system in yard sales or using them in builds for family members. Though I do have an old P180 collecting dust in the corner...
 
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Re: Old PSUs

Thu Jul 21, 2016 1:59 pm

Kougar wrote:
The PSU experts at JonnyGuru have a forum thread on that question. The majority stated they would use the PSU until it conked out, with the caveat being it was a decent brand PSU. So if it's a cheap PSU you may want to reconsider.

Also, what the heck is it with you guys and old cases. :lol: I've managed to get rid of mine by selling them as a complete desktop system in yard sales or using them in builds for family members. Though I do have an old P180 collecting dust in the corner...


I actually just got rid of an eye-punishing teal Suntek STK7618, which was the generic version of an Antec Gemstone. There was nothing overtly wrong with it beyond the fact that it was built while the Twin Towers still stood, it had a molded 3.5" floppy slot but no front panel USB connectors, and its ventilation was almost non-existent. In spite of that I ran a Core 2 Duo with a Geforce 9600GT in it for over a year, and the GPU's temperature never even warmed past 50 Celsius under heavy load.
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Re: Old PSUs

Thu Jul 21, 2016 2:15 pm

Kougar wrote:
Also, what the heck is it with you guys and old cases. :lol: I've managed to get rid of mine by selling them as a complete desktop system in yard sales or using them in builds for family members. Though I do have an old P180 collecting dust in the corner...

I've unloaded a few at past TRBBQs. But in general, systems which aren't used as a primary desktop don't really *need* things like front panel I/O connectors, or fan bays which will take larger (and quieter) fans. My old Chieftec full towers make great server cases. The servers live in the crawlspace so the noise isn't an issue. Older cases can also still pull desktop duty for lower-spec systems since you can get away with using lower RPM fans even if they're only 80mm; all you really need to do is add some front panel USB connectors.
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Re: Old PSUs

Thu Jul 21, 2016 9:54 pm

Yup, hobbyist servers don't need fancy stuff, and even that old KS-201 case is sufficient for a C2D and a single hard drive that sees only light loads at best. It's not like I'm stuffing a six-core Haswell with two SLI'd video cards into the thing.

Call it being frugal and efficient. :)
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localhostrulez
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Re: Old PSUs

Fri Jul 22, 2016 12:42 am

Thermally, what sort of loads are you dealing with? Pentium 4's and Pentium D's weren't exactly efficient, and most cases handled those fine. :wink:
 
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Re: Old PSUs

Fri Jul 22, 2016 1:05 am

localhostrulez wrote:
Thermally, what sort of loads are you dealing with? Pentium 4's and Pentium D's weren't exactly efficient, and most cases handled those fine. :wink:

They also tended to be noisier than current ones though, partly due to smaller diameter case fans.
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Re: Old PSUs

Fri Jul 22, 2016 4:42 pm

Yeah, but I guess my point was why have so many cases in the first place? Soon as I found a case that met every criteria I wanted I had zero reason to continue trying better ones. I haven't bought a PC case for my own use in six years and no plans to replace the one I've got. :)

just brew it! wrote:
They also tended to be noisier than current ones though, partly due to smaller diameter case fans.


Exactly. Hence why I don't use 80mm fan cases anymore, my Antec sx1040BII which had a million 80mm fans in it is now my father's system. He doesn't care about the noise even after I demonstrated how loud it was to make sure he didn't want something quieter.
 
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Re: Old PSUs

Fri Jul 22, 2016 5:18 pm

It is not easy to find a case that fits every criteria.

I like a small PC which shouldn't be a big deal but it is.

If you go too small the nice 120mm fan tower heat sinks will not fit. I love mATX form factor but for some reason most good motherboards are full ATX. It's funny, several months after a chip set is released you will see good mATX motherboards released but I don't want to wait. I just have to wonder who is buying ATX and filling up all the PCIe slots? I'm sure cryptocurrency miners with quad GPUs need them but that should be a tiny niche.

Finally, different PCs have different case requirements. A server might need a nice big box unless you live in a tiny apartment. A LAN gaming rig might need to be easy to carry. An HTPC might need higher spousal approval factor.

I'm a fan of retiring PCs rather than upgrading and most of the time a case is the first thing I look at for a new PC so I have never reused a case.

Back to PSUs, I really like the 80+ system. Silver or higher especially. The higher rated PSUs are all high quality designs which means they are unlikely to fry a computer when they fail. Less waste heat means better reliability. I can also see the results of their 80+ tests. I imagine a manufacturer is far less likely to cheap out on components with a PSU that they took the effort to 80+ certify also.

The only problem with retail PSUs is that there are barely any choices under 400 watts and there is no common form factor smaller than ATX.

In small and efficient PCs, much better PSUs could be made to make those PCs even smaller and more efficient. I would love to see a small form factor PSU based around the size of a 120mm fan for high air flow and low noise.
 
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Re: Old PSUs

Wed Jul 27, 2016 5:26 pm

Frugal wrote:
The only problem with retail PSUs is that there are barely any choices under 400 watts and there is no common form factor smaller than ATX.

In small and efficient PCs, much better PSUs could be made to make those PCs even smaller and more efficient. I would love to see a small form factor PSU based around the size of a 120mm fan for high air flow and low noise.


The only way that would happen is if some case manufacturer was adventurous enough to team up with a PSU company and design a custom PSU to fit its custom case. A PSU company could make a non-standard form-factor on their own, but then nobody would be able to use it in most cases.

I was fortunate enough to get to try EVGA's Hadron Hydro system, it's a mini-ITX system that can house & power a flagship GPU, but to make it work they used a 1U 500W server power supply... and that alone is crazy loud under sustained loads. Sure they could make the case larger and cram an ATX PSU into it, but there are forum members here that already deride mini-ITX cases as large as the Hadron as being too large... so there you go. :lol:
 
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Re: Old PSUs

Wed Jul 27, 2016 6:58 pm

I just think there is a market for small computers that are big enough to fit low noise 120mm PSU fans without taking the same space as a 1,200 watt PSU.

I think ATX is almost perfect in width, a 120mm fan fits with some room to spare but for a 400 watt PSU, it does not need to be as tall or long. It would be nice to have a modular cable standard too.

I don't want to see non-standard PSUs, I want to see a standard that has all the advantages of ATX without all the size.
 
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Re: Old PSUs

Wed Jul 27, 2016 7:10 pm

Frugal wrote:
.
If you go too small the nice 120mm fan tower heat sinks will not fit. I love mATX form factor but for some reason most good motherboards are full ATX. It's funny, several months after a chip set is released you will see good mATX motherboards released but I don't want to wait. I just have to wonder who is buying ATX and filling up all the PCIe slots? I'm sure cryptocurrency miners with quad GPUs need them but that should be a tiny niche.

Probably those of us who don't want to wait for decent mATX boards to come out.
 
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Re: Old PSUs

Wed Jul 27, 2016 11:52 pm

Frugal: SFX-L sounds like what you're looking for. It's just big enough to fit a 120mm fan. SFX is a pretty good standard, and it looks like it's starting to catch on. In a good non-L incarnation, it looks like this (I have one of these and am very happy with it).
 
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Re: Old PSUs

Thu Jul 28, 2016 4:40 am

I have the Silverstone SX-600G SFX power supply in my current gaming PC. It seems to be doing the job, even without a 120mm fan. If the SX700-LPT had existed a year ago, I probably would have used it, instead.

In the ATX form factor, I have been pleased with the SeaSonic SS-660XP². I've been using them for builds and replacements for a few years. When I use my spare, I set a price alert at Newegg to notify me when it goes on sale for $100 or less to buy another.
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