Re: power supply questions

Discussion in 'Computer Information' started by Jeff Strickland, May 15, 2011.

  1. "Fredd Wright" <> wrote in message
    >I have a Gateway GT5014 media center PC with a Pentium D 2.80 GHZ and 4GB
    >of RAM (although XP only recognizes 3.25GB) I also have 2 SATA hard drives
    >and an external USB hard drive. About 2 months ago, i installed a Radeon
    >HD 4350 video card so i could run a second monitor. Since then,
    >occasionally, my computer shuts down unexpectedly (maybe 3 or 4 times in
    >the past 2 months). Yesterday, my computer shut down and wouldn't boot
    >up - not even with the Sytem Restore CD. I tried everything and as a last
    >resort, yanked out 2 of the memory chips. It booted so i replaced the
    > Today, the computer shut down again without warning. At this point, i'm
    > thinking it's the power supply. I'm running the OEM 300W power supply.
    > My guess is either it's bad or too low for my current setup.
    > Questions are:
    > 1. How much do i need in PS wattage (i'm just looking for an estimate as
    > i realize it's hard to tell these kinds of things)? Would too much be
    > bad? If i got a 600w and the PC didnt' need it, would it matter or could i
    > end up damaging something.
    > 2. With a higher watttage power supply, would there be any cooling issues
    > or would that already be covered with a good quality psu?
    > 3. Any brand/type recommendations?
    > I'm sort of a newbie so please forgive me if these are silly questions.
    > Fredd

    There is no such thing as too much power. Think about your house -- If you
    provide 700W to a lightbulb that only asks for 75W, everybody is okay. The
    house does not burn down, the bulb does not explode. Nothing bad happens.
    Electrical loads only draw what they need, they are not forced to consume
    what is delivered.

    Your computer, while more complex than your house, observes the same rules
    of electricity. If the power supply delivers 700W to a system that only
    draws 300W, all is well. The problem comes when you deliver 300W to a system
    that demands 325W. Even 300. When the load exceeds the supply, then the
    voltage drops, and everybody suffers, and somebody might even refuse to
    operate. All the while, the power supply struggles to keep up, and it
    overheats as a result. This further erodes the ability of the power supply
    to keep up.

    Your current supply has a sticker on it that describes the capabilities for
    each of the various voltages that it creates. I can easily see that you
    could use double the wattage that you currently run. Power Supplies are not
    very expensive, so you can double what you have, and even double and a half
    if you can justify the budget.

    You want to be sure you buy a supply that will accomodate the connections
    you have now. The connection to the motherboard is prescribed by a standard,
    so you don't need to worry that the pins go to the right places, you only
    need to concern yourself that the shapes of the various connectors match.
    Mostly, you have to be sure you get a supply with SATA connectors -- there
    are supplies that do not support SATA, and you have to buy adaptors for
    these. It's okay to use the adaptors, but you need to be aware of needing
    them so you don't get half way through the swap and discover you have to go
    to the store again.

    One strategy is to pull the supply and take it with you to the store. The
    SATA power is the only thing I can think of that you need to watch for.
    There are other issues, but these are related to older machines that don't
    even support SATA. Since you machine has SATA drives, then the supply is
    gonna be currrent to the other considerations, so there's no point in going
    into them now.

    The shape of the supply goes a long way in defining the connectors that will
    be found on it. Match the shape, and you will be 95% of the way to having
    the right one.
    Jeff Strickland, May 15, 2011
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