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Myth: More wattage is better

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
If you're posting on Overclock.net that means you have an interest in computers, and in making them go faster. You adjust your FSB or BCLK and your voltages and your memory latencies, all in the interest of getting the highest clock speed. You buy more RAM than you might necessarily need, and may have an extremely fast or extremely high-capacity hard drive (or both). What it comes down to is numbers. Overclockers want the best numbers they can get: highest clock speed, lowest latency, etc. This is ingrained into our mind from the moment we enter this hobby.


So naturally we want the power supply with the biggest numbers.


Highest wattage, "most +12V amps", etc. Most often wattage. After all, what sounds better, a 350W power supply, or a 750W power supply? If you have a higher wattage PSU obviously you have a system that draws more power, so obviously you have a higher-end system. And with the falling prices of power supplies more and more people are buying 750W, 850W, 1kW, and now 1.2kW power supplies for systems that draw only a fraction of that amount.


The problem is that power supplies aren't about numbers. A PSU's wattage isn't like a CPU's clock speed or a graphics card's VRAM amount. Wattage describes a PSU's capabilities, not its speed or quality. While many overclockers know this at an intellectual level, many don't grasp it at the subconscious level.


So they buy a higher wattage PSU and try to justify it to themselves. "I need it for that Sandy Bridge and Fermi upgrade I might do some day maybe if I get two promotions and taxes drop." "It's for headroom." "I heard PSUs are more efficient if you only run them at 50% load."


None of those excuses holds water (I've addressed many of them before). A PSU should be matched with your current system, or your system with the upgrades you plan to implement in the near future (that not being five years in the future).


Most single graphics card systems can be run on a quality 300-550W power supply. Most dual card SLI and CrossFire systems can be run on a quality 550-750W power supply. This INCLUDES overclocking of both CPU and GPU, and extra fans and hard drives. If you need more than 750W then you have very deep pockets indeed.


Don't con yourself into constantly spending extra money you don't have to whenever it's time for a new PSU. Don't let your subconscious trick you into tacking an extra 100W, 200W, 500W onto the power estimates given you by PSU experts.


Be smart, be rational, and put the money me and Tator Tot and other gurus are trying to save you toward something cool, instead of getting the 750W Corsair instead of the 650W.
post #2 of 24
Says the guy with the Antec high current pro ahaha
but seriously great info, my corsair 400w is "overkill" for my current setup but great if i want to drop a quad in because at least thats a realistic goal(16 threads,quad sli, etc... are all out of my range and i know for a fact that ill never need more than 1 card for my needs(new cards come out every week and the older ones drop in price))
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post #3 of 24
Good information and it all make sense.

The only comment I have is some PSU are getting really noisy when they run under load that are close to their limit. My previous TX750 was noisy as hell with any load above 550 watt on it. You'll probably say that noise is a different issue but in my case going to a HX1000 from the TX made my PC much more quiet.
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post #4 of 24
Great advice but i used my power supply for 2 different builds and i like knowing that i will be able to use it for many other builds and wont have to spend money on a power supply that meets the bare minimum. But this is still very good info.
post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shiloh View Post
Good information and it all make sense.

The only comment I have is some PSU are getting really noisy when they run under load that are close to their limit. My previous TX750 was noisy as hell with any load above 550 watt on it. You'll probably say that noise is a different issue but in my case going to a HX1000 from the TX made my PC much more quiet.
But noise is related more to the quality of the fan used and the aggressiveness of its controller, and to a lesser extent the efficiency of the power supply. If upgrading from a TX750, it would be better to go to a SeaSonic X series PSU, rather than an HX1000, since the SeaSonic would be even quieter, and cheaper to boot.
post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rip10793 View Post
Says the guy with the Antec high current pro ahaha
but seriously great info, my corsair 400w is "overkill" for my current setup but great if i want to drop a quad in because at least thats a realistic goal(16 threads,quad sli, etc... are all out of my range and i know for a fact that ill never need more than 1 card for my needs(new cards come out every week and the older ones drop in price))
400W is about the lowest wattage you can find quality power supplies, so I don't rag on people for getting a 400W if they only use 200W. But PSUs like these:

SeaSonic S12II 380W, 430W
Antec Earthwatts 380W, 430W
Antec NeoECO 400C
Corsair CX400, CX430
OCZ StealthXStream 400W
OCZ StealthXStream II 400W
SeaSonic X400
etc.

Can power a lot more than people give them credit for.
post #7 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phaedrus2129 View Post
But noise is related more to the quality of the fan used and the aggressiveness of its controller, and to a lesser extent the efficiency of the power supply. If upgrading from a TX750, it would be better to go to a SeaSonic X series PSU, rather than an HX1000, since the SeaSonic would be even quieter, and cheaper to boot.
I was thinking the same thing. My PSU is very quiet even with my 460s running Furmark. It would be more than enough for his machine. And the Seasonic would "go to 11."

He's just trying to rationalize his purchase.
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post #8 of 24
You guys just want us to buy a new keyboard instead of having more "headroom".

I see y'all's evil plans.

cors above is good info for people on the market for a new rig.
    
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post #9 of 24
Amen. Seems like every recommendation thread (no matter what the specs) is filled with cries for people to get 750-850w and above PSUs, when, in reality, 90% of those systems would do just fine with a solid 500W.
post #10 of 24
1 reason i see alot that people buy higher psus then they need is so they can upgrade later on it would suck to buy a 400 watt for a single card then decide your going to get another and then you would have to invest in another psu with the new video card.
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