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Versatile "Mule" Power supply


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#1
jacobusmatthew

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Hey all! It has been a long time.

I am starting up a Tech consultation/repair business. I was wondering what your thoughts were on a power supply with nearly every type of connection. Does such a thing exist? Is there an affordable option? Would it be more practical to have several power supplies?

I need something I can use once I have determined a PSU is dead to verify my diagnosis. This would ideally prevent me from buying a new PSU and being wrong.

Thanks,

Matthew Jacobus
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#2
Ferrari

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A very reliable PSU made by Corsair should do the trick. Corsair 400 Watt PSU It has a 20+4 you can use for a 20 pin power connector or 24 pin connector. The CPU power is 4 or 8 pin. 6 molex connectors (mainly used with IDE interfaces, some fans) and 6 SATA power connector to cover modern systems.

Quoted from the Newegg specifications tab for the Corsair 400 Watt PSU.

1 x Main connector (20+4Pin)
1 x 4-Pin/8-Pin EPS Connector
6 x Peripheral
6 x SATA
2 x Floppy
1 x PCI-E


If I were you, I would also invest in a PSU Tester. HERE I have the $25 Rexus and it works great.

Hope that helps. :)
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#3
Digerati

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I am starting up a Tech consultation/repair business. I was wondering what your thoughts were on a power supply with nearly every type of connection. Does such a thing exist? Is there an affordable option? Would it be more practical to have several power supplies?

No disrespect or offense meant here, Matthew but I think if you are going to open a consultation/repair business, you need to learn how to research parts yourself! Especially when it comes to such a critical component as power supplies. Google needs to be a integral part of your life and tool kit. I might suggest working for someone in the business for a while to learn the ropes, or hitting up your local community college for courses on PC repair and running your own business. There are PC repair types everyone - you need to stand out as the one to go to for answer, not as the one who does not know.

As to Ferrari's suggestions, I agree that a good tester (one that displays the voltage as opposed to just an LED) is handy to have on hand and I keep one in my tool bag when I am "in the field". But using one of these testers is NOT conclusive as they do not test the supply under a true load, nor do they test for anomalies in the voltages, such as excessive ripple.

I happen to like Corsair PSUs, but I don't think a 400W supply is sufficient to act as a "universal" spare/test supply. There are many computers that need bigger supplies.

Finally, I remind everyone reading of the Board Rules/Terms of Use we all agreed to when joining this site and note where it says,

•We offer free computer help and tech support for home and personal use. We are not here to support others that work for profit, or to support/replace your company's IT department.


Edited by Digerati, 26 March 2010 - 06:13 AM.

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#4
Ferrari

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I don't think a 400W supply is sufficient to act as a "universal" spare/test supply. There are many computers that need bigger supplies.

I couldn't disagree more. As a tester it would be done "on the bench", not with 4 GTX 295's in SLI connected with Prime 95 running. It just needs to get to the BIOS really. 30 amps on the 12 volt is more than anyone would need to test a system. Here is an i7 Gaming Rig HERE and power consumtions HERE. With a 5770 AT COMPLETE LOAD, 251 watts, a 5850 (only a step down from arguably the best card out) uses 325 watts at load.

Many don't have systems that high end anyway, and 90% of the ones that do or have even higher end systems trouble shoot themselves.

Finally, I remind everyone reading of the Board Rules/Terms of Use


We offer free computer help and tech support for home and personal use. We are not here to support others that work for profit, or to support/replace your company's IT department

Digerati, can you post in the "if you need a moderator" forum to check this topic out? I once asked about a topic like this and an admin told me as long as they aren't abusing the free tech support and not completely replacing an IT Department for a company, it was OK.

Edited by Ferrari, 26 March 2010 - 06:02 PM.

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#5
Digerati

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There are many computers that need bigger supplies.

I couldn't disagree more. As a tester it would be done "on the bench",

You couldn't disagree more??? There are MANY systems out there that need more than 400! Testing the BIOS may be how you would use it, but that is not how the question was presented. The question was presented looking for a PSU with "nearly every type of connection" and that it will be needed to verify another PSU is dead. That suggests he would be using it in a real-world setup, perhaps temporarily installed in place of a suspect PSU, not just on a bench to check if they can get into the BIOS Menu.

not with 4 GTX 295's in SLI

Now that's just being ridiculous. :) If you are tying make a point, especially if trying to educate, how about being realistic? But just for the record, since you feel 400W is plenty, note that for just ONE GTX 295, the "minimum" recommended PSU is 680W. Even the popular GTX260, which I have and like, requires a minimum of 500W.

ATI Radeon HD 5770 - Minimum recommended power, 450W.

As far as the ToU, this is obviously not for home or personal use.
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#6
Ferrari

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Now that's just being ridiculous. sad.gif If you are tying make a point, especially if trying to educate, how about being realistic?

I watch videos and follow people that run systems like this all the time. Water cooled, and all. It is realistic. But I clearly noted that most of these people would do all their troubleshooting themselves, So you wouldn't need the 1000watt PSU or whatever their running as a tester.

And I am educating. Volts x Amps = Watts. You are only mentioning the power supply wattage the manufacturer is recommending. They make a general recommendation because they know not everyone buys a 80 Plus PSU. I'm sure I can find a 600 watt PSU that has less amps on the +12v Rail(s) than the 400 watt Corsair. So from what you are saying, that would be better than the 400 watt Corsair.... no it wouldn't.

For example:
400 watt Corsair PSU - 30 amps and 80 Plus.
630 watt Hunk of Junk that will power a GTX260 or 5770/5870 huh? It's over 500 watts isn't it! It's absolute maximum is 26 amps on the +12v rail with a minimum of 16 amps depending on what the +3 and +5 volts are using. And since it's not 80 plus the wattage is going to be bouncing all over the place.

I've already linked to a test system that clearly shows that a 5770 with an i7 overclocked to 4ghz only uses 251 watts. The manufacturer just needs to cover it's bases because they know people try to cut back and buy cheap PSU's so they have to say 400 or 500 watts.
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#7
SpywareDr

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FWIW ...

First Look: Nvidia GeForce GTX 480 (page 3)
http://www.washingto...32604662_3.html

When we pushed the cards during our FurMark test, we saw 460W at load on the GTX 480, ...


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#8
Digerati

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Sorry Ferrari but your logic only fits a few specific examples - NOT the universal fit we are looking for here - and therefore your position is NOT realistic for THIS situation. You are absolutely correct about current on the +12V rail being the critical criteria (as I've noted many times here at G2G, as a sticky at G2G's sister site, WhattheTech, and elsewhere; when researching PSUs, the order of importance is (1) Current (amperage or amps) on the +12V rail, (2) Efficiency and (3) Total wattage. Note I too urge folks buy quality PSUs from reputable makers only. And yes, the Corsair 400 is a most excellent supply, and certainly one that will support most users better than many no-name, generics PSUs with bigger specs. But a 400W supply, with only 30A on the single 12V rail, is NOT a suitable "universal" substitute for someone intending to use that PSU for troubleshooting purposes in a technical support business!

While your 4 card extreme case is extreme, there are many users that do run with big cards, and many with 2 power hungry cards. Some users have 5 and 6 hard drives. If you are doing PC repair for a business, you need something big enough to handle just about anything. As a formally trained technician for 35+ years, when troubleshooting electronics, after safety, I always start at the wall and make sure I have good power. When troubleshooting a power hungry computer, I regularly swap in one my "known good" PSUs. It would be irresponsible of me to use a grossly underrated PSU. A stressed PSU can overheat and become unstable, affecting everything it feeds.

So from what you are saying, that would be better than the 400 watt Corsair

I said no such thing. Do NOT put words into my mouth or twist my words around. And please understand I have nothing against Corsair, or the single rail concept - I think it superior and have a Corsair 750TX (with 60A on the single rail) running this PC.

I've already linked to a test system that clearly shows that a 5770 with an i7 overclocked to 4ghz only uses 251 watts.
The manufacturer just needs to cover it's bases because they know people try to cut back and buy cheap PSU's so they have to say 400 or 500 watts.

No. That is incorrect. The manufacturer is covering it's bases because like you and me, we do not know what CPU the user is using, what type or how much RAM will be installed, if a full size ATX or micro ATX motherboard, number of drives, fans, or what other devices will be used in those systems. Now look at these test results from the same HardwareCanucks site using the exact same i7 overclocked hardware - note it clearly shows results with two cards using 419 and 420 watts. So even if you were right and the card makers were covering their bases, it is not likely the same review site, same lab, same technician even, using the same overclocked gaming test rig and testing procedures skewed these results, but not the results for your example. I don't think Dell's cheapest i7 920 would come with a 525W supply if they could get away with something cheaper.

So the bottom line is this, even the best 400W supply does not have the horsepower to fulfill the wide-ranged duties of a temporary power supply in a repair shop. Great for testing fans and drive motors, and most "office" type machines running with on-board graphics, or some entry to mid-level cards. But to temporarily replace a PSU in a big rig, something with more horsepower that can deliver the current without straining is needed.
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#9
Ferrari

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I choose not to respond agreeing to disagree.
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#10
Digerati

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I choose not to respond agreeing to disagree.

Well, that's a response, isn't it? I'm sorry you feel that way. Your theory is sound and I have not disputed it. But your application (400W test supply for a repair shop) is not. Disagreeing despite overwhelming evidence only stifles growth and learning. SpywareDr cited evidence and I cited 4 sources, including your own. I am sorry you choose not to accept it.

Have a good day.
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#11
Ferrari

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Well, that's a response, isn't it? I'm sorry you feel that way. Your theory is sound and I have not disputed it. But your application (400W test supply for a repair shop) is not. Disagreeing despite overwhelming evidence only stifles growth and learning. SpywareDr cited evidence and I cited 4 sources, including your own. I am sorry you choose not to accept it.

Right back at ya, ditto. Like I said, agree to disagree. :)
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#12
Digerati

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Well, teach me something. I could be wrong. You explained how all the card makers exaggerate. How are these results wrong? How is the reference SpywareDr cited wrong?
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#13
Ferrari

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My main point lies here...

And I am educating. Volts x Amps = Watts.

For example:
400 watt Corsair PSU - 30 amps and 80 Plus.
630 watt Hunk of Junk that will power a GTX260 or 5770/5870 huh? It's over 500 watts isn't it! It's absolute maximum is 26 amps on the +12v rail with a minimum of 16 amps depending on what the +3 and +5 volts are using. And since it's not 80 plus the wattage is going to be bouncing all over the place.


I think where the disagreement and argument is taking place is how one chooses to test a system. You had stated you like to pop in a good power supply just to make sure you are having good power. I think that is a wise decision, but I don't do it that way. It really depends on the symptoms, but I break it down on the bench disconnected everything but what is required. In that scenario, a small power supply (which I wouldn't consider 30 amps small) is more than enough to get to the BIOS even with a high end card connected. From there, I add one component there after to find the culprit. (without writing a book, I think you have the experience to know what I'm talking about).

Somehow the conversation got blown out of proportion talking about GTX 480's at Load, nothing would be at load if you are just testing. Maybe my links and an example of 4 GTX 295's in SLI started that.

I've conferred with other techs I know (two of which have 30+ years of experience also) and they have never used a hefty PSU for testing... one of which is somewhat my mentor, so I just do it the way he taught me was a bench test, breaking it down and then rebuilding one component at a time.

Now, I'm in total agreement. If I owned a Custom Computer shop where I'm primarily testing High End Rigs especially if I offered a warranty, I would probably go with a 600-700 watt Corsair PSU, maybe even their 1000 watt if I was building real extreme systems.

I think what I had in mind when the OP was talking about starting a repair business was OEM Dell's, Gateways, and HP's... which is primarily what I deal with when repairing computers. I guess in retrospect, I should of asked the OP to clarify what he would primarily be repairing.

I hate to get off on the wrong foot. The OP isn't responded anyway :) We probably scared him off :)

Also, to help clarify and you asked to see if I could teach you something... with everything I've been taught and researched... the amps on the +12v are really what it's all about, not so much the overall wattage. I've seen many cheap PSU's claiming high wattage, but they aren't 80 plus and have low amperage for the +12v rails.
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#14
Digerati

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I don't do it that way. It really depends on the symptoms, but I break it down on the bench disconnected everything but what is required

You are right, it depends on the symptoms - I don't rip everything out of the case unless I need to, or suspect something, like an extra standoff might be under the board.

nothing would be at load if you are just testing.

Then that's not much of a test. Lots of stuff can run at idle all day long, then fail the second you add even a tiny bit of gas.

and they have never used a hefty PSU for testing

Define "hefty". I don't call 650 watts "hefty" any more - not when Newegg sells more 100 models above 800w.

Also, to help clarify and you asked to see if I could teach you something... with everything I've been taught and researched... the amps on the +12v are really what it's all about, not so much the overall wattage.

As I noted above, amps first, then effeciency then watts.

And since it's not 80 plus the wattage is going to be bouncing all over the place.

Ummm, 80 Plus has nothing to do with voltage stability. 80Plus certification just means the PSU has 0.9 Power Factor or greater at 100% load and an effeciency rating of 80% or better, with 20% or less being wasted in the form of heat. It has nothing to do with wattage bouncing or being stable or unstable.

I think where the disagreement and argument is taking place is how one chooses to test a system.

No, that is incorrect. There are many [correct] ways to test a system. The disagreement is in the suggestion that a 400 supply is adequate to serve as a test PSU in a repair shop to...

...use once I have determined a PSU is dead to verify my diagnosis. This would ideally prevent me from buying a new PSU and being wrong.

In many cases, a decent 400 watt supply is plenty. But for many computers, especially computers today built to support today's graphics oriented content, 400 is not enough to test the whole computer under load - which is essential if the goal is to thoroughly troubleshooting performance and possible heat related problems.
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#15
Ferrari

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You really like to argue don't you? :)
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