power supply


OSNN Senior Addict
Hi everyone,

I am about to do a pretty major upgrade to my system. I am going from a tnt riva 32mb ram to a sapphire radeon 9800 pro 128mb ram (hold your applause). Secondly, I am adding a dvd+/-rw drive. Also I will be upgrading from 512mb system ram to 1gb pc-2100 ddr. I feel sure that I will need a higher wattage power supply than I already have. As I am pretty much a noob when it comes to hardware, I am wondering how to determine which wattage power supply to go with. I want to leave enough head room to add a second hdd in the near future. My current system was built for me by a friend, so I don't know the current wattage of the power supply. My case seems to stay pretty cool, and I've never had BSOD's or any other problems associated with not enough wattage. Anybody have prefs when it comes to brand of power supply as I don't know much about them. I would appreciate any advice and if I have not provided enough info, let me know. Thanks.



OSNN Advanced
You're better of getting a dvd+rw rather than a dvd-rw. Better still, you should get one that supports both formats.
His question was power supply though.... And just so you know, all PSU's are not created equal... I had a 400w PSU from some cheap unknown manufacturer that put out less amperage than a 300w from Antec. Generally speaking, a 400w power supply from Antec (SmartPower or TruePower) would be plenty of juice to run that system. Also, enermax makes very good power supplies. Again, don't necessarily pay attention to just the wattage, find out how much amperage they put out on each of the rails (3.3v, 5v, 12v). There's a wonderful tutorial on all of it right here . Hope that helps. :D


OSNN Veteran Addict
yeah please keep to the topic, as said I think about 400w should be good, but get Antec, Enermax or something proper like that.

btw vivid_vibe said they were getting a dvd+/-rw which could in all possiblity be a drive capable of both formats ;)
Don't be overly shocked if your power supply alone exceeds the cost of your case.... in my case, my power supply was $89 @ CompUSA and my case was $79.99 at CompUSA, although I didn't buy them together... I bought a case with a cheap psu, blew it the first night, then went and bought the Antec PSU and it's chugged along great ever since... then recently I saw the case I have now and bought it. I didn't need one with a power supply since I have a perfectly good power supply.


OSNN Veteran Addict
Power supply wattage is now meaningless thanks to the marketing folks...

+5Vdc of 25Adc or more
+12Vdc of 12Adc or more
+3.3 Vdc of 15Adc or more
The other numbers are not really important (alomost none used).

Warning. These numbers continuously change. The last few years the loading was all shifting to the +5Vdc. Just recently MB and accessory designs are shifting more load to the +12Vdc output again (you get higher efficiency and low cabling losses witht he 12Vdc). The P4 designs (and my ECS NF2 board) use 12Vdc direct wired into the MB on a seperate 4 pin connector.

And another warning. The el-cheapo supplies will say something on the label like "Combined +5 and +12 load shall not exceed xxx watts or amps". What they mean is they lied about the numbers on there power supply.

Antec, Enermax for sure. Others at your own risk. Remember you paid $1000 for RAM, CPU MB, HD, DVD, etc. If that $29 power supply fries it can take the rest of the system with it.
The TruePower series are superior to the smartpower series because the truepower series uses separate supplies for each of the +5, +3.3, & +12 rails... The Smartpower combines the 3.3 & 5v, so you have a combined current limit in effect there. I've never had a problem with mine, but your mileage may vary, so if you're out for the best, go with the Truepower.


OSNN Senior Addict
I went with the Antec True430 for $66.00 on newegg. Not a bad price IMO, and I believe it will afford me some headroom for future upgrades. It has the following specs:

Output: +5V@36A, +3.3V@28A, +12V@20A, -5V@0.5A, -12V@1A, +5VSB@2A

I understand what +5V@36A, +3.3V@28A, +12V@20A means, but what does -5V@0.5A, -12V@1A, +5VSB@2A refer to? Thanks for everyone's help.



The Voices Talk to Me
I have the Antec TruePower 550, my first one died on me in a week, but antec replaced it no questions asked. The new one has worked flawlessly ever since. Most stable voltages that I have ever had.
mobo uses the negative voltages. Also, things like USB use it as well (just look at the pins on the mobo. (or in the mobo manual) - you will see pins that carry a neg. voltage.


Windows Perfectionist
I noticed that all of you guys are all for Antec!? Now I dont have a problem with that (I think they are a great manufacturer) but I am more of a Thermaltake kinda guy. I have the Thermaltake 480W (550W Max) Silent PurePower supply in my system and I have ALOT running off that and its been perfect ever since day one. I payed $120.00CA (which is about $90US) for mine! I know its a bit late now since you alreay have yours bought but I just thought I would share it anyways! :cool:

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