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Basic Power Supply Buyers Guide - Page 2

post #11 of 36
Quote:
If the PSU is very efficient (better than 75%) then its probably at least decent (it takes good components to make an efficient PSU, the ones with low efficiency are often not that great of quality).
This is simply not true. Low efficiency is a sign of an older design. It is not indicative of a poorly performing or poorly built PSU. There are plenty of examples of less efficient, older PSUs being amazing and very efficient units being crap. In fact, in the race for the highest efficiency possible a few designs sacrifice performance and tweak for efficiency. Efficiency is not a reliable indicator of quality and unfortunately there is no easy method for differentiating a good PSU from a bad PSU at a glance. 80plus certification is also not a reliable way of determining quality. They only test at 23C which is an unrealistic operating temp for the inside of your case and they only test for efficiency. Ripple could be off the charts frying your components or there could be terrible build quality, but as long as it is meets efficiency requirements it is 80plus certified. You can't even rely on good brands/manufacturers since nearly all of them are not consistently good. Corsair, PC Power & Cooling, Antec and Seasonic all have made/sold units that are only average performers with slightly disappointing build quality (but not bad build quality). Delta as a manufacturer is very good due to their robotic assembly line/soldering, but they have made some pretty unimpressive stuff at the request of the companies they sell units to. OCZ likes to sell barely good enough units, with the occasional junk (GXS 850W, 1010W). It certainly isn't fair to group them with the others. Thermaltake only sells one line of good units (Toughpower), everything else is either mediocre or junk especially since they are relying on HEC a lot recently.

I guess my point is the fatal flaw of all of these types of guides is trying to oversimplify. There are too many manufacturers, with too many designs and too little industry regulation. There are far too many examples of inflated ratings or poor build quality even from supposed trusted companies. Unfortunately PSUs aren't cut and dry, black and white. There are way too many shades of gray. If you see a PSU that is interesting, look for a well done review. If one of the handful of trusted reviewers hasn't looked at a particular PSU, ask around/look for more info. More often than not the same PSU design is sold by multiple companies, so there are very few unknown PSUs even if your particular one hasn't been reviewed. To make this guide better you need to add links to trusted reviewers like jonnyGURU, [H] and hardwaresecrets and to other places where people can learn more about PSUs. You also need to point out what makes a PSU good, efficiency being one of the less important things (performance characteristics, build quality, price/performance). Maybe you could pick out a few of your favorites for each power level to give people an idea of where to start.

Oh, I almost forgot, that part about modular connectors being unreliable is a non-issue. Of course they will wear out if you repeatedly unplug them, but the same goes for the connectors going to your components. As long as you don't mess with them constantly for years, there won't be any reliability problems.
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post #12 of 36
Shinji, have you read my more recent guides? You can't generalize about PSUs for sure, but you can educate people about what the terms thrown about in reviews actually mean.
post #13 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phaedrus2129 View Post
Shinji, have you read my more recent guides? You can't generalize about PSUs for sure, but you can educate people about what the terms thrown about in reviews actually mean.
Yours are just fine. There's a difficult balance between generalizations and too much info, it's hard to make a great guide that is useful and but not boring or too much to read. I hate sounding negative since I know the OP put a lot of work into this one, hopefully he can add some more to it if he still cared about this. I'm not sure how I've missed it for this long. As for yours, you have plenty of links to important info/reviews for people interested in learning more, enough basic info to get started with the various ripple/voltage/efficiency threads and you've broken up your analysis of each major company to separate threads to keep you from having one giant guide that most people would find overwhelming. I see you have yet to work on a general buyers guide/recommended type thread, do you have any plans for one?
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post #14 of 36
Not really. Closest I've come is a list of all the Corsair PSUs, with better value PSUs (either equivalent or better for the same money or less, or much better for slightly more).
post #15 of 36
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input guys, I never claimed to be an expert on PSU's but it helps to have a few of you around.

Actually, when I put this together, it was for something else entirely (PhII OCin guide), and I only wrote it because there really wasn't anything like it that I could find in this section of the forum. I know that it was a simplification but it was more to get people to understand the basics of PSU's without getting them to overwhelmed by the rest of the guide that I was writing.

I know that you can't really make any broad sweeping statements about PSU's any more than you can about any other PC component. If there was one or two rules of thumb that you wished EVERY new member to the forum knew about PSU's... what would it be? I chose that wattages are not everything, and pointed out some decent manufacturers.

I appreciate you trying not to be to hard on this, as I did put a decent amount of time into it. However, I am completely open to adding more links so people can find addition information if they so desire it (I did it for the other 4 parts of my guide, but for some reason spaced it here). And I really don't know why I didn't put a link to Johnnygurus in here, in fact I'll put it in right now.

I'll try to make it more clear, and in the meantime feel free to post up some links for me to include in the guide. And finally, after all this time I'm getting some feedback .
post #16 of 36
I hope I didn't sound too negative. It's difficult for me to be critical without seeming rude or offensive. If you can clear up some of those issues and add links to further reading and reviews it would certainly improve this guide. Some useful links would be the review sections of Hardwaresecrets.com, [H]ardOCP.com and jonnyGURU.com. The forums at jonnyGURU.com are also quite useful either by reading stickies or just searching for info on various PSUs.

As for tips I'd like people to know... Read reviews, but not just any reviews. Hardwaresecrets has quite a few good articles on top of reviews like Why 99% of Power Supply Reviews Are Wrong, Everything You Need to Know About Power Supply Protections, Understanding the 80 Plus Certification and Anatomy of Switching Power Supplies to name a few.
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post #17 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shinji2k View Post
I hope I didn't sound too negative. It's difficult for me to be critical without seeming rude or offensive. If you can clear up some of those issues and add links to further reading and reviews it would certainly improve this guide. Some useful links would be the review sections of Hardwaresecrets.com, [H]ardOCP.com and jonnyGURU.com. The forums at jonnyGURU.com are also quite useful either by reading stickies or just searching for info on various PSUs.

As for tips I'd like people to know... Read reviews, but not just any reviews. Hardwaresecrets has quite a few good articles on top of reviews like Why 99% of Power Supply Reviews Are Wrong, Everything You Need to Know About Power Supply Protections, Understanding the 80 Plus Certification and Anatomy of Switching Power Supplies to name a few.
I understand, its difficult to offer improvements without offending people. I think you did just fine.

Like I said, I only wrote this because there really didn't seem to be anything like it out there at the time. And since I posted it I have been super busy with school and life, and havn't had the time to update it until now.

Also, if I might ask, the question I had about if there was one or two main things that you wish EVERYONE on the forum knew about PSU's was not a rhetorical one. I really am interested in what you would want everyone to know, and I'll see if I can incorporate it.

I will update the article more tomorrow, as this is the first time I have been able to see my wife all day, and I think she would like to see me.

Thanks again.
post #18 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by logan View Post
Also, if I might ask, the question I had about if there was one or two main things that you wish EVERYONE on the forum knew about PSU's was not a rhetorical one. I really am interested in what you would want everyone to know, and I'll see if I can incorporate it.
Hm... PSUs aren't just a magic box that powers your computer. Few people have a practical understanding of electronics or what goes into making a good PSU and many PSU manufacturers/resellers have little issue taking advantage of this. Just as you would read well done reviews on a motherboard or video card you are looking to purchase, find out as much as you can about PSUs you are interested in purchasing from one of the trusted reviewers I linked to. They are arguably the most important component of your computer, so you should try to budget for one that is of acceptable quality. I'm not going to tell you that you have to go buy the best PSU you can since you will likely not see any difference from one that is good but still affordable, but skimping on a PSU is the last thing you should do.

I'm not too good at this.
Edited by shinji2k - 5/13/10 at 9:05pm
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post #19 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by inmate View Post
How do you look for efficiency? Really good article!!!
Look here: http://www.80plus.org/manu/psu/psu_join.aspx

However these results are really slanted in favor of the PSU and here is why.

Quote:
As is specified in IEC 62301, the tests shall be carried out in a room that has an air speed close to
the UUT of ≤ 0.5 m/s, and the ambient temperature shall be maintained at 23°C ± 5°C
throughout the test.
Source

Really? 23°C ±5°C? Really? So the temp in the room could be 18C, boy would the PSU be loving that. That range is absurd to me because as a calibration technician my lab had a spec of 22°C ±1°C. What about the poor PSU's who have handicapped results because they had to be tested in 28°C temps? Results cannot be taken completely at face value. Also, did the companies submit a ringer to 80Plus to be tested? Did they send the most efficient PSU out of 20 tested at the factory?...not that anyone would do that....right?

Temperature plays a large part in how efficient a PSU is....as temps go up efficiency slowly slides down. Some PSU's are affected very little by temperate while other PSU's have their efficiency take a nose dive by as little as a 5°C rise in temp.

For efficiency results to mean anything the testing must be done in a temperature that represents the environment that the PSU will be used in.....your case, or open bench or whatever. Take efficiency ratings with a grain of salt. If you can take a look at jonnyGURU, HardwareSecrets, HardOCP, and look at their PSU reviews and especially look at efficiency results in the hotbox, because efficiency ratings at 25°C really don't tell the whole story.....guide line only, not a rule.

Hope that helps.
Edited by Kaninja - 5/13/10 at 10:30pm
post #20 of 36
I was actually looking for sources of info about what differentiates good psu from bad ones. A lot of the time, I see people recommend Corsair anything as "the best option" without really being able to understand why. Thanks to all of you guys who try to help newbs like me be informed !
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