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Thread: Quick PSU query

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    Quick PSU query

    Hokay - I'm down with most stuff but PSUs are a bit of a dark art to me. I'm having stability issues of late with my PC which are absolutely not down to temps (all individual components have tested as stable well above the temps that I push them to in regular use), and with a little judicious swapping out of components I'm down to 2 possible guilty parties - motherboard or PSU. My rig is essentially...

    E6850@3.3Ghz
    4x1Gb Corsair DDR2 PC6400
    1 Optiarc DVDRW (sata)
    5 hard drives (2x250GB, 1x36GB, 1x160GB, 1x200GB)
    8800GTS 640Mb
    3x120mm fans
    Asus P5B Deluxe Wifi

    Now I know that's a lot of hard disks, but I can't really justify a couple of f1's at the mo to consolidate them so I'm stuck with them for now. I've run that system through the PSU Calculator which reckons that (and I overestimated, allowing 15% for capacitor aging) 518W should be fine. My OCZ StealthXStream 600W is supplying at rest (according to Everest)

    +3.3V: 3.30V
    +5V: 4.99V
    +12V: 12.46V
    +5V Standby: 4.99V

    Firstly does everyone agree with me that the PSU is looking like The Weakest Link (Goodbye?)? If not, why not? (I'm not disputing, I'm asking for advice here!)

    Secondly - given that the PSU seems to be supplying less than it should on the +5V and a borderline +3.3V is this grounds for a warranty replacement?

    Finally - if it's NOT grounds for a warranty replacement can anyone recommend a PSU that'll do the do for my box? I was looking at the Corsair HX620 and TX650, but I'm open to suggestions. I'm keen to keep with a relatively low powered but decent one - something in the 600-750W range rather than a 1000W+ monster, as I'm happy that I'm never going to need that much juice.


    So, the floor is yours: who wants to go first?

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    Re: Quick PSU query

    A +5vdc +/-0.01v variant is fine. And you're using no more than 270W. Just get something... not OCZ.
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  4. #3
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    Re: Quick PSU query

    The +/- 0.01v wouldn't be too much of a concern, but it drops off more when the machine is under load. Not significantly more, but... enough to cause me concern.

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    Re: Quick PSU query

    No software that detects power usage from your PSU is accurate - you need a multi meter for that.

    Your PSU should easily power your rig.
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  7. #5
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    Re: Quick PSU query

    Quote Originally Posted by ackrite26 View Post
    No software that detects power usage from your PSU is accurate - you need a multi meter for that.

    Your PSU should easily power your rig.
    Yep, I appreciate that any software is going to be subject to calilbration issues, but as I say I'm down to it being either motherboard or PSU. The stability problems only occur when the machine is under heavy load, and even then the temps report back as being well within limits (62 degrees on the cpu max, 66 degrees on the GPU max), which is leading me back to the PSU.

    I guess I'm looking to see if I can RMA this PSU, or if I should splash the cash on a new PSU and if so which.

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    Re: Quick PSU query

    If you're looking for a stable PSU, I can recommend a be quiet! Dark Power PRO 650W
    They're pricey, but rock solid on all rails, 88% efficient and modular.

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    Re: Quick PSU query

    If you were to splash the cash as it were I would look at the Corsair HX620 (I have one) or the Enermax Modu85+ which comes in 525W or 625W variants

    With regard to RMAing your PSU bear uin mind they are usually heavy (the good quality ones anyway) and I would weigh (no pun intended) up the cost of postage back verusus the probability of recovering the initial outlay.

    The software report of voltages is not sufficient grounds I owuld say for an RMA - would need to be properly tested with multi meter

    By the way both the PSUs I recommend above are modular and extremely quiet

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    Re: Quick PSU query

    Testing PSU's is a relatively complex task as you need to test it under load - which means a pretty powerful dummy load. You would also need to check transient performance - how well a PSU copes with a suddenly applied load (like a drive spinning up)

    The voltages you report are OK - and even the best regulated PSUs will drop slightly on load - for two reasons:

    1. You will get a small resistive drop in the cables from tne PSU to the load - some PSUs gert round that by connecting the voltage sense cables to the load at the connection point, so the voltage is regulated at the point of delivery. Secondly, voltage regulation is a feedback loop - and the sense voltage supplies an error signal to correct the output voltage, there has to be an error signal, however small, so there will always be a small drop off in regulation with load - and the droop should be (but often isn!) part of a PSU's specs.

    I can't comment on the particular PSU are using - I haven't used one, but consensus seems to be that they are not particularly good. I use a Corsair PSU, and its build quality seems OK to me, and consensus seems to rate these quite highly.

    As to whether the PSU is the cause of the instability - sadly the only simple way is by substitution. Given that teh PSU is the easiest device to substitute, (and on the balance of probabilities, the most likely cause) that would be the one to change - but there is always the risk that the stability returns, and then you are down to changing the mobo anyway.

    One possibility, with all those drives, is that noise is being introduced onto the PSU rails, but you need an oscilloscope to detect that; this is where transient performance is important.
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  13. #9
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    Re: Quick PSU query

    Quote Originally Posted by aidanjt View Post
    A +5vdc +/-0.01v variant is fine. And you're using no more than 270W. Just get something... not OCZ.
    I havnt had any issues with my OCZ psu...are they that bad tho?

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    Re: Quick PSU query

    Not as bad as the £10 700W PSUs you'd get in Maplin or what not, but they're not up to scratch compared to the big boys. OCZ do good memory sticks, but that's a far cry away from the complexities involved in PSU design, which, seems to be getting out of hand these days.
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    Re: Quick PSU query

    Although I wouldn't rate them up with seasonic and enermax, ocz make great PSU's. My one is next to silent, stable and very efficent given its age (80% or more I believe).

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    Re: Quick PSU query

    Cheers all for the pointers

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    Re: Quick PSU query

    AFAIK OCZ don't make PSUs at all. They get someone else to make them. Which means that some are probably going to be good and some not so good. If you paid >&#163;80 (given wattage and brand) it's probably good, if <&#163;50 probably bad, and somewhere in between so-so.

    While it's true that software measurement of the rails is unreliable, given that two of your rails are almost spot on, I tend to think that it is fairly accurate in your case. It's the 12V rail that would be worrying me. It's within spec (allowed up to 5&#37; difference), but that reading (out by 4%) is at idle. I'd want to see what the readings were under load.

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    Re: Quick PSU query

    Very true mine is based on an FSP, OCZ also now own PC power and cooling another very good brand.

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    Re: Quick PSU query

    I find it hard to believe that a quality 600W PSU with those voltage readings is giving you instability issues. It's possible of course. What sort of errors are you getting? BSOD/random shut downs?

    You've got 4x1Gb of ram and usually you need a voltage increase on the northbridge to get all for slots stable. The ram independently tested would show up to be fine. Could this be your issue?
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    Re: Quick PSU query

    Quote Originally Posted by staffsMike View Post
    Very true mine is based on an FSP, OCZ also now own PC power and cooling another very good brand.
    So going forward their PSUs (or at least the high end ones) should be very good. Maybe they'll have designs that have the features people like and not cost the earth (unlike the PCP&C ones).

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