The PSU Quick Reference Guide By Heedless_onE
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[i][size="4"][color="#008000"]PSU Quick Reference Guide[/color][/size][/i]

[size="1"]By Heedless_onE[/size]


A lot of people come around the forum asking “I just bought SLi GTX 480’s, and when I game, my rig crashes! OH NOEZ! Could it be that my OEM 250 Watt PSU that came in my consumer Dell is not strong enough!?” And the answer is usually…"buy a new PSU". And then comes the inevitable discussion; educating those not versed in the exciting and rapidly changing world of power supplies! *cough* So, I decided to write a brief piece in the hopes of easing both the users frustrations with a quick reference guide that is easily digestible and clear, and the regulars like me whom are on the verge of a baby punching rampage if they have to answer this again [img]http://forums.nvidia.com/public/style_emoticons/default/shifty.gif[/img]

[u][i][b]Point 1[color="#2E8B57"]: The Manufacturers[/color][/b][/i][/u]

The first step in making sure your machine is properly prepared for adding in high grade equipment in your rig is making sure your power supply is manufactured by a reputable and high quality brand. Typically the best brands to buy into are Corsair, Enermax, OCZ, Thermaltake and some would suggest Antec. Truth be told, none of these brand names actually make the machine themselves. They either design them and have the manufacturer make it, or, buy premade units and slap a sticker on them. The build of the manufacturer (which would be difficult to find out on your own) typically denotes the quality of the unit. The best units are made by Seasonic, and are usually the more expensive units of a line. Here is a list of the best brands to buy into:

Corsair
Enermax
Silverstone
PC Power and Cooling
OCZ
Antec

The problem with buying into low end brands and/or brands no one’s ever heard of is that they’ve bought the lowest quality, binned, PSU’s that didn’t make the grade from the manufacturer and will most likely either fail very soon after purchase, or not meet its advertised voltage. Only recently have reviewers attained the technology to accurately rate the precision with which a PSU brand claim they can reach, and therefore the market has seen a gross reduction in quality units.

[i][u][size="2"][b]Point 2: [color="#2E8B57"]The rails and amperage[/color][/b][/size][/u][/i]

Contrary to popular perception, the wattage of a unit is largely irrelevant and the quality of the unit can change based on the quality of internal components. For example, a 750 watt PSU can match or surpass a more expensive 1000 watt PSU in performance because the 750 is capable of delivering more amps cleanly and efficiently. This can also be achieved through buying single rail units as opposed to multi-rail systems which comprise 90% of the market. Most Corsair units use one rail, with a large amp dump, as well as PC Power and Cooling and select Antec's.

[u][i][b]Point 3: [color="#2E8B57"]How much power do high end cards actually use?[/color][/b][/i][/u]

Here is a list of modern cards, their approximate wattage (from Guru3D) and I’ve converted it to amps.

[url="http://img840.imageshack.us/i/amperagechart.png/"][img]http://img840.imageshack.us/img840/6720/amperagechart.png[/img][/url]
*= Personally calculated this by taking 6950 and calculating the difference, then applying it to 6970 single readings. Source did not provide a reading for 6970.

These numbers were calculated by measuring the wall output to the machine. The power saving and throttle features of an overclocked i7 (3.7GHz) were turned off so the CPU was always working at full wack. They then initiated a GPU intensive game (which they won’t name for fear of Nvidia/AMD finding a way to cheat it) and measured the approximate Difference in energy ounce the GPU was turned on.

[u][i][b]Point 3: [color="#2E8B57"]What does this mean? What should you be buying?[/color][/b][/i][/u]

So, what does this mean? It means that, in my subjective opinion power supplies above 850 watts are total wastes (unless you have dual cards) of money. But on a more objective side, It means that as long as you buy a quality single rail unit, above 650 watts, you should have no problem running almost anything up to SLi. Above 850 and you're good for most two way solutions. A high quality 1000 and you're good for 3 way SLi.

However, considering most multi-rail PSU’s hold 18 to 20 amps on a single 12v, and they usually come with either 2 or 4 rails, power for high end systems get hazy. You will want to use both 12v to power your graphics solution if using anything stronger than a 570. Luckily, good vendors list or label which cable is for which rail.


[b][u][i]Point 4: [color="#2e8b57"]Were can i get educated about power requirements and all enthusiast components in the future?[/color][/i][/u][/b]


There are not many truly good review sites around. Most review sites are better for different things, and some review sites even have obviously flawed testing methods. One popular site even tests graphics cards on CPU intensive games and makes their judgements on numbers totally out of wack with the rest of the industry.

So, here are some of my personal favourite sources for enthusiast computing education in general:

[b][i][color="#800080"]Bit-Tech[/color][/i] - www.bit-tech.net[/b]

Bit-Tech.net, in my opinion, is the best location for enthusiast computing. They are unbiased to a T, and their article are well written, in lamens, and educational. Their writers are put an emphasis on practicality and some of my best purchases have been made on the opinions expressed on their site. They have a fantastic podcast in which they talk about all sorts of things (GPU's, CPU's, SSD's etc) and most of my enthusiast education, when i really started getting into this, came from this site. They are, however, adamantly against impracticably, so if you're looking to make an SR2 system with dual extreme i7 980x's and four GTX 580s, prepare to be offended.

This site is, however, not ideal for coolers as they measure in DeltaT which in my opinion is a useless metric.

[b]Custom[color="#ff0000"]PC[/color][/b] - Magazine publication of Bit-Tech

CustomPC is the magazine publication of Bit-Tech. It is the same writers, but their write ups are more in depth for the featured article. This forum post was large in part inspired by one of their write ups. If you are American, this magazine is expensive ($16 vs $9.50 for American written magazines) as it's imported, but well worth it as they are about twice as large as a standard magazine.

[color="#48d1cc"]Guru of 3D[/color] - www.guru3d.com

Guru3D is fantastic for hard facts and numbers. The metrics in this post were calculated with the data from Guru3D. They are excellent at breaking down the logistics of issues. They, however, are not ideal for graphics card reviews, in my opinion, as their prime testing candidate is Call of Duty Black Ops which is not only a console port, but completely processor dependant, and their final conclusion usually is out of step with their article's analysis of the product and almost all their reviews get a "Guru3D recommended" even when the product is terrible. But, again, fantastic for hard facts.

[color="#f4a460"][b]Legit Reviews[/b][/color] - legitreviews.com

Legit Reviews is new, but they are great for graphics cards and overclocking. They are quick reads, and are great for reference when overclocking graphics cards when you need some hard numbers to compare to.


===========================================================================================
[color="#8B0000"]1st Amendment:[/color][color="#008000"] Every Nvidia forum member now holds the right to bare arms. Jkjk, Lordred would like you all to keep in mind that modern processors run mostly off the 12v stash, so that will both cut into the available power for GPU's and motherboard components. Add another 38A on top of your graphics solution for a heavily overclocked i7.[/color]

[color="#8B0000"]2nd Amendment:[/color][color="#008000"] Changed Section 3; My opinion in lue of newer evidence to my previous beliefs[/color]

[color="#8B0000"]3rd Amendment: [/color][color="#008000"]The Professor has provided a handy dandy link to a chart of almost every graphics card and it' approximate power consumption. I checked the GTX 580 to check it's accuracy with my numbers; The GTX 570 SLi on my chart is 763 watts, the GTX 580 SLi on their's is 810 watts, so they are both fairly accurate :) Check his post for details![/color]


[color="#2E8B57"] [/color]
PSU Quick Reference Guide



By Heedless_onE





A lot of people come around the forum asking “I just bought SLi GTX 480’s, and when I game, my rig crashes! OH NOEZ! Could it be that my OEM 250 Watt PSU that came in my consumer Dell is not strong enough!?” And the answer is usually…"buy a new PSU". And then comes the inevitable discussion; educating those not versed in the exciting and rapidly changing world of power supplies! *cough* So, I decided to write a brief piece in the hopes of easing both the users frustrations with a quick reference guide that is easily digestible and clear, and the regulars like me whom are on the verge of a baby punching rampage if they have to answer this again Image



Point 1: The Manufacturers



The first step in making sure your machine is properly prepared for adding in high grade equipment in your rig is making sure your power supply is manufactured by a reputable and high quality brand. Typically the best brands to buy into are Corsair, Enermax, OCZ, Thermaltake and some would suggest Antec. Truth be told, none of these brand names actually make the machine themselves. They either design them and have the manufacturer make it, or, buy premade units and slap a sticker on them. The build of the manufacturer (which would be difficult to find out on your own) typically denotes the quality of the unit. The best units are made by Seasonic, and are usually the more expensive units of a line. Here is a list of the best brands to buy into:



Corsair

Enermax

Silverstone

PC Power and Cooling

OCZ

Antec



The problem with buying into low end brands and/or brands no one’s ever heard of is that they’ve bought the lowest quality, binned, PSU’s that didn’t make the grade from the manufacturer and will most likely either fail very soon after purchase, or not meet its advertised voltage. Only recently have reviewers attained the technology to accurately rate the precision with which a PSU brand claim they can reach, and therefore the market has seen a gross reduction in quality units.



Point 2: The rails and amperage



Contrary to popular perception, the wattage of a unit is largely irrelevant and the quality of the unit can change based on the quality of internal components. For example, a 750 watt PSU can match or surpass a more expensive 1000 watt PSU in performance because the 750 is capable of delivering more amps cleanly and efficiently. This can also be achieved through buying single rail units as opposed to multi-rail systems which comprise 90% of the market. Most Corsair units use one rail, with a large amp dump, as well as PC Power and Cooling and select Antec's.



Point 3: How much power do high end cards actually use?



Here is a list of modern cards, their approximate wattage (from Guru3D) and I’ve converted it to amps.



Image

*= Personally calculated this by taking 6950 and calculating the difference, then applying it to 6970 single readings. Source did not provide a reading for 6970.



These numbers were calculated by measuring the wall output to the machine. The power saving and throttle features of an overclocked i7 (3.7GHz) were turned off so the CPU was always working at full wack. They then initiated a GPU intensive game (which they won’t name for fear of Nvidia/AMD finding a way to cheat it) and measured the approximate Difference in energy ounce the GPU was turned on.



Point 3: What does this mean? What should you be buying?



So, what does this mean? It means that, in my subjective opinion power supplies above 850 watts are total wastes (unless you have dual cards) of money. But on a more objective side, It means that as long as you buy a quality single rail unit, above 650 watts, you should have no problem running almost anything up to SLi. Above 850 and you're good for most two way solutions. A high quality 1000 and you're good for 3 way SLi.



However, considering most multi-rail PSU’s hold 18 to 20 amps on a single 12v, and they usually come with either 2 or 4 rails, power for high end systems get hazy. You will want to use both 12v to power your graphics solution if using anything stronger than a 570. Luckily, good vendors list or label which cable is for which rail.





Point 4: Were can i get educated about power requirements and all enthusiast components in the future?





There are not many truly good review sites around. Most review sites are better for different things, and some review sites even have obviously flawed testing methods. One popular site even tests graphics cards on CPU intensive games and makes their judgements on numbers totally out of wack with the rest of the industry.



So, here are some of my personal favourite sources for enthusiast computing education in general:



Bit-Tech - www.bit-tech.net



Bit-Tech.net, in my opinion, is the best location for enthusiast computing. They are unbiased to a T, and their article are well written, in lamens, and educational. Their writers are put an emphasis on practicality and some of my best purchases have been made on the opinions expressed on their site. They have a fantastic podcast in which they talk about all sorts of things (GPU's, CPU's, SSD's etc) and most of my enthusiast education, when i really started getting into this, came from this site. They are, however, adamantly against impracticably, so if you're looking to make an SR2 system with dual extreme i7 980x's and four GTX 580s, prepare to be offended.



This site is, however, not ideal for coolers as they measure in DeltaT which in my opinion is a useless metric.



CustomPC - Magazine publication of Bit-Tech



CustomPC is the magazine publication of Bit-Tech. It is the same writers, but their write ups are more in depth for the featured article. This forum post was large in part inspired by one of their write ups. If you are American, this magazine is expensive ($16 vs $9.50 for American written magazines) as it's imported, but well worth it as they are about twice as large as a standard magazine.



Guru of 3D - www.guru3d.com



Guru3D is fantastic for hard facts and numbers. The metrics in this post were calculated with the data from Guru3D. They are excellent at breaking down the logistics of issues. They, however, are not ideal for graphics card reviews, in my opinion, as their prime testing candidate is Call of Duty Black Ops which is not only a console port, but completely processor dependant, and their final conclusion usually is out of step with their article's analysis of the product and almost all their reviews get a "Guru3D recommended" even when the product is terrible. But, again, fantastic for hard facts.



Legit Reviews - legitreviews.com



Legit Reviews is new, but they are great for graphics cards and overclocking. They are quick reads, and are great for reference when overclocking graphics cards when you need some hard numbers to compare to.





===========================================================================================

1st Amendment: Every Nvidia forum member now holds the right to bare arms. Jkjk, Lordred would like you all to keep in mind that modern processors run mostly off the 12v stash, so that will both cut into the available power for GPU's and motherboard components. Add another 38A on top of your graphics solution for a heavily overclocked i7.



2nd Amendment: Changed Section 3; My opinion in lue of newer evidence to my previous beliefs



3rd Amendment: The Professor has provided a handy dandy link to a chart of almost every graphics card and it' approximate power consumption. I checked the GTX 580 to check it's accuracy with my numbers; The GTX 570 SLi on my chart is 763 watts, the GTX 580 SLi on their's is 810 watts, so they are both fairly accurate :) Check his post for details!




Good quick hitter. Edit this and should be made perm since nothing has been put up yet. It should lead to users being able to read ,research and make a good decision.
Good quick hitter. Edit this and should be made perm since nothing has been put up yet. It should lead to users being able to read ,research and make a good decision.

#2
Posted 12/19/2010 07:53 PM   
[quote name='middydj' date='19 December 2010 - 02:53 PM' timestamp='1292788396' post='1163420']
Edit this and should be made perm since nothing has been put up yet.
[/quote]

Thanks for your feedback. It's much appreciated. What do you think should be edited d00d?
[quote name='middydj' date='19 December 2010 - 02:53 PM' timestamp='1292788396' post='1163420']

Edit this and should be made perm since nothing has been put up yet.





Thanks for your feedback. It's much appreciated. What do you think should be edited d00d?
Nothing major. Just few misspellings and such. if you have MS word.. pop it in their right fast and it should fix things.. Overall a good job. Like you said in the opening. I too wonder what the heck people are thinking when it comes to power and such.

Just a tiny bit of research can save a catastrophe down the road.
Nothing major. Just few misspellings and such. if you have MS word.. pop it in their right fast and it should fix things.. Overall a good job. Like you said in the opening. I too wonder what the heck people are thinking when it comes to power and such.



Just a tiny bit of research can save a catastrophe down the road.

#4
Posted 12/19/2010 08:21 PM   
[quote name='middydj' date='19 December 2010 - 03:21 PM' timestamp='1292790098' post='1163441']
Nothing major. Just few misspellings and such. if you have MS word.. pop it in their right fast and it should fix things.. Overall a good job. Like you said in the opening. I too wonder what the heck people are thinking when it comes to power and such.

Just a tiny bit of research can save a catastrophe down the road.
[/quote]

Yea, man. I know how you feel. I will read it over and catch some more typos. Copy pasting it from Word 2010 starter actually screws it up and compounds a bunch of words.
[quote name='middydj' date='19 December 2010 - 03:21 PM' timestamp='1292790098' post='1163441']

Nothing major. Just few misspellings and such. if you have MS word.. pop it in their right fast and it should fix things.. Overall a good job. Like you said in the opening. I too wonder what the heck people are thinking when it comes to power and such.



Just a tiny bit of research can save a catastrophe down the road.





Yea, man. I know how you feel. I will read it over and catch some more typos. Copy pasting it from Word 2010 starter actually screws it up and compounds a bunch of words.
gonna ask a mod to sticky this /thumbup.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':thumbup:' />
gonna ask a mod to sticky this /thumbup.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':thumbup:' />

Core i7 960 @4.14Ghz 180x23 1.3v Liquid cooled

Gigabyte G1. Assassin

EVGA GTX 560 Ti "Maximum Graphics Crysis 2"

Cooler Master HAF-X

Corsair Dominator GT CMT12GX3M3A2000C9 RAM

RMA broke my 580 SLI. Now I have a 7970 and a GTX 580 gathering dust, looking for a buyer.

#6
Posted 12/22/2010 07:57 AM   
[quote name='Ultimate PC Man' date='22 December 2010 - 02:57 AM' timestamp='1293004644' post='1164771']
gonna ask a mod to sticky this /thumbup.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':thumbup:' />
[/quote]

Well if the Ultimate PC man think's it's good...it must be.
[quote name='Ultimate PC Man' date='22 December 2010 - 02:57 AM' timestamp='1293004644' post='1164771']

gonna ask a mod to sticky this /thumbup.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':thumbup:' />





Well if the Ultimate PC man think's it's good...it must be.
Enermax designs and manufactures their own PSU's, the others mentioned above just buy from OEM suppliers. There aren't many: FSP Fortron, Delta, Channel Well Technologies, Seasonic, AcBel Politech, Enermax, more doesn't come to my mind.
Good source of info and PSU tests: Xbitlabs, Jonnyguru.
Enermax designs and manufactures their own PSU's, the others mentioned above just buy from OEM suppliers. There aren't many: FSP Fortron, Delta, Channel Well Technologies, Seasonic, AcBel Politech, Enermax, more doesn't come to my mind.

Good source of info and PSU tests: Xbitlabs, Jonnyguru.
#8
Posted 01/16/2011 08:22 PM   
[quote name='bsh' date='16 January 2011 - 03:22 PM' timestamp='1295209320' post='1177972']
the others mentioned above just buy from OEM suppliers.
[/quote]

This was already addressed
[quote name='bsh' date='16 January 2011 - 03:22 PM' timestamp='1295209320' post='1177972']

the others mentioned above just buy from OEM suppliers.





This was already addressed
Hey what about Silverstone PSU's? My BFG 800watt would shut down a 3 way SLI Benchmark, but this SilverStone 1000watt runs like a Champ [img]http://forums.nvidia.com/public/style_emoticons/default/w00twave.gif[/img]
Hey what about Silverstone PSU's? My BFG 800watt would shut down a 3 way SLI Benchmark, but this SilverStone 1000watt runs like a Champ Image

CM HAF 932 - ASUS Rampage IV Extreme- Intel i7 3930K - Mushkin Redline 16GB 2133 - Antec HCP 1200kw - Galaxy GTX 670 3 way SLI - 2 WD 1TB Black,WD 640GB Black, WD SSD 64GB - Thermaltake CLW0217 Water 2.0 Extreme - ASUS 24x - Logitech G9 - Logitech G105 - I INC 28" Monitor at 1920 X 1200 (Native) Wow Gaming is great! Speakers - Logitech 530's - Win 7 Ultimate 64bit

Posted by Rsabatino, techjesse you are the people's champ of overclocking

Vantage P70249ORB
Image

#10
Posted 01/17/2011 06:01 AM   
[quote name='techjesse' date='17 January 2011 - 01:01 AM' timestamp='1295244092' post='1178228']
Hey what about Silverstone PSU's? My BFG 800watt would shut down a 3 way SLI Benchmark, but this SilverStone 1000watt runs like a Champ [img]http://forums.nvidia.com/public/style_emoticons/default/w00twave.gif[/img]
[/quote]

I'm not sure about BFG psu's. When they came out, they were reviews as really great, simple units that could handle just about anything, but that was back in 8800 GTX days. Now the BFG is dead, it's not to relavent anyway, lol.
[quote name='techjesse' date='17 January 2011 - 01:01 AM' timestamp='1295244092' post='1178228']

Hey what about Silverstone PSU's? My BFG 800watt would shut down a 3 way SLI Benchmark, but this SilverStone 1000watt runs like a Champ Image





I'm not sure about BFG psu's. When they came out, they were reviews as really great, simple units that could handle just about anything, but that was back in 8800 GTX days. Now the BFG is dead, it's not to relavent anyway, lol.
Wow Heedless you really miss read my post, I was referring to "Silverstone" PSU's [img]http://forums.nvidia.com/public/style_emoticons/default/yes.gif[/img]
Wow Heedless you really miss read my post, I was referring to "Silverstone" PSU's Image

CM HAF 932 - ASUS Rampage IV Extreme- Intel i7 3930K - Mushkin Redline 16GB 2133 - Antec HCP 1200kw - Galaxy GTX 670 3 way SLI - 2 WD 1TB Black,WD 640GB Black, WD SSD 64GB - Thermaltake CLW0217 Water 2.0 Extreme - ASUS 24x - Logitech G9 - Logitech G105 - I INC 28" Monitor at 1920 X 1200 (Native) Wow Gaming is great! Speakers - Logitech 530's - Win 7 Ultimate 64bit

Posted by Rsabatino, techjesse you are the people's champ of overclocking

Vantage P70249ORB
Image

#12
Posted 01/18/2011 11:17 AM   
[quote name='techjesse' date='18 January 2011 - 06:17 AM' timestamp='1295349469' post='1178929']
Wow Heedless you really miss read my post, I was referring to "Silverstone" PSU's [img]http://forums.nvidia.com/public/style_emoticons/default/yes.gif[/img]
[/quote]

You said your BFG shut down...i figured that was the more important subject in your post [img]http://forums.nvidia.com/public/style_emoticons/default/unsure.gif[/img]
[quote name='techjesse' date='18 January 2011 - 06:17 AM' timestamp='1295349469' post='1178929']

Wow Heedless you really miss read my post, I was referring to "Silverstone" PSU's Image





You said your BFG shut down...i figured that was the more important subject in your post Image
No problem Heedless, I just think Silverstone PSU's should be added as high quality brands in your presentational comments. Congrads on the Sticky [img]http://forums.nvidia.com/public/style_emoticons/default/wave.gif[/img] TJ
No problem Heedless, I just think Silverstone PSU's should be added as high quality brands in your presentational comments. Congrads on the Sticky Image TJ

CM HAF 932 - ASUS Rampage IV Extreme- Intel i7 3930K - Mushkin Redline 16GB 2133 - Antec HCP 1200kw - Galaxy GTX 670 3 way SLI - 2 WD 1TB Black,WD 640GB Black, WD SSD 64GB - Thermaltake CLW0217 Water 2.0 Extreme - ASUS 24x - Logitech G9 - Logitech G105 - I INC 28" Monitor at 1920 X 1200 (Native) Wow Gaming is great! Speakers - Logitech 530's - Win 7 Ultimate 64bit

Posted by Rsabatino, techjesse you are the people's champ of overclocking

Vantage P70249ORB
Image

#14
Posted 01/18/2011 08:35 PM   
well, its made it into the highly sought after space of my signature.




i would add zalman into the list of good PSU's, i run a 1000watt heat pipe cooled beast and it is damn good.

well, its made it into the highly sought after space of my signature.









i would add zalman into the list of good PSU's, i run a 1000watt heat pipe cooled beast and it is damn good.


_ NVLDDMKM problems_ | _ problems getting a driver for a laptop graphics card_ | _What PSU do I need?_

[quote name='The Professor' date='11 August 2011 - 10:33 AM' timestamp='1313055223' post='1277858']

I think Qazax is a pretty cool guy. eh kills aleins and doesnt afraid of anything.

#15
Posted 01/18/2011 08:43 PM   
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