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PSU Compatability Questions


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#1
DirePenguin

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How do I know what kind of PSU I need for my system and if it will be compatable with it?
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#2
DirePenguin

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My current PSU supplies 250W max (that's listed anyway), and has 4 4 Pin Molex connections, a 20 pin connector and another connector that I don't know about.

What is it called?

It's got four wires going into it, like the molexes, but it's arranged in a square shape rather than all four in a line, like:
__ __
|__|__|
|__|__|

and it's connected to my motherbroad next to the fan.
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#3
WinCrazy

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The 4-pin connect is an auxillary power connector that appeared in the days of the Athlon XP and Socket 478 Intel Pentiwm 4's. Its essental for any motherboard that has the mating connector.

All new power supplies always have this 4-pin power connector. Even the newest power supplies are "backward compatible" with older ATX motherboards.

A 250 watt supply is weak by today's standards but may be perfectly suitable for your motherboard.

If you are going to buy a new power supply the lowest wattage you should get is a 350 watt unit. You didn't mention what motherboard you have so getting a larger wattage supply is likely to be a waste of money unless you plan to use multiple hard drives and optical drives.
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#4
DirePenguin

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No, it's an old computer and I don't plan to be using it much longer before I upgrade.

I was thinking of getting a Fortron 350w PSU w/ 120mm fan, looks solid enough. It's not gonna be drawing any serious power with the old parts in there. Even though I do probably tax it to its limit when I play WoW. :whistling:
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#5
DirePenguin

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4 pin molex? Is it the same as a peripheral connector?
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#6
WinCrazy

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I'll have to guess what's meant by a "peripheral" connector, but no, that's not what that square 4-pin connector is.

Are you thinking of buying a new power supply that will be used to power your system now and later on for a new system ? If so, then buy a power supply that is rated for more than 400 watts. I don't have a clue where you are but Newegg.com has several highly rated models in the 400 to 450 watt range that are available for less than about $60US.

400W LOGISYS Computer PS550ABK 2 FAN ATX12V

450W ROSEWILL RV450 ATX12V 450W 2 FAN

430W COOLER MASTER eXtreme Power RS-430-PMSR

430W Thermaltake TR2-430 W0070 ATX 2 FAN

400W FSP Group (Fortron Source) AX400-PN ATX12V

These supplies are not the big name brands (read: expensive) but they have been rated well by users. See the user reviews for each of the products.
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#7
Samm

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WinCrazy is right. The only other thing you may need to check, is that your current PSU is a standard ATX one.

EG if you have a branded system, such as HP or Tiny etc, or any system that is based on the micro ATX form factor, you may find that your psu is mATX/SFX. These PSU's are physically smaller than standard ATX & so a standard PSU may not fit in the case.
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#8
DirePenguin

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Well, it's a Gateway, and it's pretty old and large, so I think it's not an mATX. I'll check to be sure. I heard that that four-pin square is an auxillary power connection for older motherboards, like the one I have, and that all newer PSUs have it in order to be backwards compatable.

In any case, I think my family would rather appreciate if I left them with a working computer after I upgrade this summer, so I'll be buying 2 PSUs.
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#9
WinCrazy

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Since your system is an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) model (Dell, Gateway, HP, etc.) be very careful to check that it uses a standard sized ATX power supply. Most OEM models use non-standard proprietary power supplies that are not the standard size and also have non-standard power connectors.

All aftermarket power supplies like the ones you are going to buy are strictly standard and interchangable. But, that won't do you any good with your present system if it won't fit in the case or plug into the motherboard.
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#10
Samm

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Assuming that you have a Gateway tower case (as opposed to a desktop case), then I'm fairly certain the PSU is standard size.

The 4 pin power connector you mentioned - if the 4 pins are arranged in a square shape (i.e 2 rows of 2), then this is the ATX12V connector that supplies the cpu power.
If the pins are arranged in 1 row of 4, i.e [o o o o], then this will be an auxilary connector.
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#11
DirePenguin

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Wow, awesome, looks like I'm in the clear then. I sent off for a 400W Fortron one, I think I'm in the clear. :whistling:
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