How long do PSU's last?

J Macker

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The oldest PSU I have that still works is 14 years old (reviews back in 2006, I think I bought it in the fall). it's an Enhance ENS-0560G model that I use for charging LIPO RC batteries. I modded the wires and jumpered it to boot without a motherboard connection. I've charged at 30A on two 12v rails combined and no problems. Granted, it hasn't been used much in the past 6 years since I retired it from full-time computer useage, but it still works fine.
 

sphinx99

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A well engineered power supply should last in the neighborhood of 15-20 years with reasonable function, as long as it was not run continuously at its limits and/or heat-soaked for a good portion of its life. I'm continually baffled by the notion that they should be any less reliable. I have 40 year old computers working fine on their original power supplies... and 60 year old amplifiers and other gear. This is not to say that every PSU will last for ever, or that even a good quality one won't have some outliers, but in general there's a lot of know-how out there around doing AC/DC power conversion properly.
 

Ready4Dis

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The oldest PSU I have that still works is 14 years old (reviews back in 2006, I think I bought it in the fall). it's an Enhance ENS-0560G model that I use for charging LIPO RC batteries. I modded the wires and jumpered it to boot without a motherboard connection. I've charged at 30A on two 12v rails combined and no problems. Granted, it hasn't been used much in the past 6 years since I retired it from full-time computer useage, but it still works fine.
I use an old PSU for the same thing, just uses the 12v rail to my charger, lol. I wouldn't doubt it's similar age (or older), I think it came out of a Pentium 4 box...
 

DanNeely

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I use an old PSU for the same thing, just uses the 12v rail to my charger, lol. I wouldn't doubt it's similar age (or older), I think it came out of a Pentium 4 box...

Something that old probably isn't actually giving 12V if you don't have anything in the 3.3/5v rails. PSUs from that far back always (almost always?) use a group regulated design will have voltages go out of spec if you don't put reasonable amounts of load on both halves of the output (if you're looking at reviews this is looked at in cross load tests) with the highly loaded rail going out of spec high and lightly loaded one low. Newer designs avoid this problem by only creating the 12V rail via AC-DC conversion, and then creating the 3.3/5v rails off of the 12V DC instead.

Depending on how picky your charger is this may or may not be a problem. I'd assume a good one would have enough onboard regulation to deal with crappy input and nope out and shut down if it reached the point that it couldn't. OTOH because lion batteries have destructive failure modes, I really don't like the idea of pushing the envelop with them in any way however safe other components should make it.
 

Ready4Dis

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Something that old probably isn't actually giving 12V if you don't have anything in the 3.3/5v rails. PSUs from that far back always (almost always?) use a group regulated design will have voltages go out of spec if you don't put reasonable amounts of load on both halves of the output (if you're looking at reviews this is looked at in cross load tests) with the highly loaded rail going out of spec high and lightly loaded one low. Newer designs avoid this problem by only creating the 12V rail via AC-DC conversion, and then creating the 3.3/5v rails off of the 12V DC instead.

Depending on how picky your charger is this may or may not be a problem. I'd assume a good one would have enough onboard regulation to deal with crappy input and nope out and shut down if it reached the point that it couldn't. OTOH because lion batteries have destructive failure modes, I really don't like the idea of pushing the envelop with them in any way however safe other components should make it.
Oh, my charger doesnt care. I think the spec is like 9v to 15v or something. It was made to run from a car battery for field charging.
 

polonyc2

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the PSU I'm currently using is 10.5 years old...which is why I trust Corsair and will continue buying their PSU's
 
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atarione

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I think some of y'all over think this Power supplies in a PC can (not all of them will) last for decades... Right now I'm listening to music on my circa 1989~ Sony ES stack (TA-N77ES / TA-E77ESD) the amp is rated at 200WPC and weighs the better part of 56lbs the pre is 30~lbs .. this stuff is 30~yrs + old now and it is going strong .. I have older vintage audio gear from the 70s that has no problems with the power supplies... meh.. The Power supply in my wife's computer is about 8yrs old now.. mine (ironically) is a Seasonic X750 that had to be warrantied at about 6yrs old... the replacement is a year and half ? maybe 2 yrs old.
Build quality / luck / ??? may cause results to vary but these things can last a long time, I have found 25yr old pc's that still boot fine with their ancient power supplies.. Figures my $$$ Seasonic ate crap at 6yrs.. lol.. on the upside it didn't take anything with it, the computer just wouldn't boot anymore with that psu.

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I have a 9 year old Seasonic SS-850HT. It's probably been running about half power it's entire life and shown no issues. Am I good to just keep using it until it fails?
 

SmokeRngs

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I have a 9 year old Seasonic SS-850HT. It's probably been running about half power it's entire life and shown no issues. Am I good to just keep using it until it fails?

I literally just retired an almost 12 year old Antec NeoPower HE 650. It was still powering everything fine with no issues but I wanted to replace it as I felt that was long enough to have been using it and I had finally upgraded hardware. I'm not sure I ever even hit 50% usage on it as I only purchased a 650 because it was on sale, not because I needed that sort of wattage. It doesn't hurt that the PSU was used daily and I practically never turned the machine off unless I had to tear it apart or clean it.

If your PSU isn't giving you any issues, don't worry about it. Seasonic PSUs are almost all good quality.

It's one thing to replace an older, marginal or low quality PSU but for the most part there's no need to replace an older high quality PSU if it's still running fine. It has always been my habit to buy a new PSU when building a new system but part of that reason is because I rarely tear down the old system but continue using it in some form.
 

AIM9x

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My Corsair TX750 V1 lasted for over 10 years and went through three builds. I only replaced it because I connected a fan to the motherboard with one pin off the connector on accident and it smoked it up and modular is nice. Still worked but I replaced it anyways after that. Would've went with another corsair but the Seasonic I got was a steal.

Seasonic is one of Corsair's OEMs, so there's a possibility you went from one seasonic to another. They are one of the earliest brands I remember seeing switch to a 12cm fan with an underslung intake while everyone else was still using a loud 8cm fan on the back panel.

I have a 9 year old Seasonic SS-850HT. It's probably been running about half power it's entire life and shown no issues. Am I good to just keep using it until it fails?

There's always the possibility something can fail, but seasonic makes good stuff. Capacitors will degrade over time just due to what capacitors are, but if you're only running half load it might take quite some time before it becomes an issue. I have a Seasonic PSU from 2007 that still is being used in a family member's hand-me-down pc. I wouldn't trust it with expensive brand-new hardware, but it's being used on some older hardware and the data should be backed up fairly often.

My current pc is actually using a 7 or 8 year old Seasonic supply. I might eventually swap it out, but I also run it at half-load and it (the supply) is a bit of a beast.
 

legcramp

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Seasonic is one of Corsair's OEMs, so there's a possibility you went from one seasonic to another. They are one of the earliest brands I remember seeing switch to a 12cm fan with an underslung intake while everyone else was still using a loud 8cm fan on the back panel.



There's always the possibility something can fail, but seasonic makes good stuff. Capacitors will degrade over time just due to what capacitors are, but if you're only running half load it might take quite some time before it becomes an issue. I have a Seasonic PSU from 2007 that still is being used in a family member's hand-me-down pc. I wouldn't trust it with expensive brand-new hardware, but it's being used on some older hardware and the data should be backed up fairly often.

My current pc is actually using a 7 or 8 year old Seasonic supply. I might eventually swap it out, but I also run it at half-load and it (the supply) is a bit of a beast.

Agreed but I think my specific model was CWT built which is also solid.
 

n0ob3r

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I have been running a raidmax 700AC now for 8 years on an AMD 8320. Knock on wood...and yes I need to upgrade =)
 

zandor

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I've only had 2 PSUs malfunction on me personally, and both were back in the early 2000s. Add another one if you count the rig I helped a friend build back in 2006 that needed a new PSU 4-5 years later. The PSU in my current "main rig" is a PC Power & Cooling Silencer 950W from 2012, though I have a Seasonic Prime TX 1000W sitting in a box for my next build since I'm not tossing the machine the 950W is in. It's old (i7-3820), but it has 64GB of ram so good for some programming fun when I need more than one box.

The first one was the PSU in the 486 machine my parents bought me when I started college in 1993. It needed repair around 1999 or so when the fan failed. It didn't die, it just got scorching hot. One day I touched the case and "woah that's hot". It was fine after a fan swap. I just ran over to Radio Shack, got another fan and did a little soldering. My dad had the same problem with a machine he bought a couple years later, though he swapped in the 80mm AC fan he salvaged from the Toshiba 100 computer he bought in 1982 or so. It wasn't quiet, but the bearings in that old fan were so good that 20 years later you could hold it flat in your hand, rotate the housing, and the blades would stay in about the same place. When you turned off the computer it took a couple minutes to stop spinning. Everything in that old Toshiba CMS machine that plugged into something was gold plated. I guess that's what you got in a computer that cost $2000+ in 1982.

Next up was the PSU in a cheap case I bought in 1997. Probably went 5 years, then popped.

Since then, nada for PSU failures in my machines. I had a 400W or so Antec, then a PC Power & Cooling Turbo-Cool 550, followed by a couple of PCP&C Silencers - 750W or so and a 950W. The 550W Enermax I put in a dual socket 940 compute box I helped a friend build back in 2006 while he was working on his Ph.D. died some years later though. It didn't take anything out when it went. He replaced it with a Corsair 850TX (CMPSU-850TX), which is currently powering the file server/Linux box sitting next to my cable modem/wireless router and ethernet switch in the basement. He moved to Hong Kong a few years ago and gave me his old compute box. All the expensive parts were old junk by then, but I'm keeping the Lian-Li full tower all aluminum case with the row of 5.25" bays all the way down the front and the PSU is still good.
 
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I have an "aging" HX850 its about 8 to 9 years old. I wanted to see also what the consensus about using an older PSU for one for the newer cards " mid range 6 series or mid range 3 series"
 

GotNoRice

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I have an "aging" HX850 its about 8 to 9 years old. I wanted to see also what the consensus about using an older PSU for one for the newer cards " mid range 6 series or mid range 3 series"

The spec hasn't changed. It will be completely compatible with a new card. Any card that requires an adapter should have one included. My ~13 year old PSU does fine with my 2080 RTX. Assuming that your PSU was a good design to begin with, age isn't the main factor you should worry about. The more significant question would be, what kind of life has your PSU had? If the PSU has been kept clean, kept cool, and not pushed too hard, then it should be able to last decades. Some PSUs, both new and old, use cheap or bad capacitors that can fail over time, but that's more of a design flaw issue than an age issue. If your PSU has already lasted this long, then it probably didn't have bad capacitors in it, and will probably be good for a long time to come.
 
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The spec hasn't changed. It will be completely compatible with a new card. Any card that requires an adapter should have one included. My ~13 year old PSU does fine with my 2080 RTX. Assuming that your PSU was a good design to begin with, age isn't the main factor you should worry about. The more significant question would be, what kind of life has your PSU had? If the PSU has been kept clean, kept cool, and not pushed too hard, then it should be able to last decades. Some PSUs, both new and old, use cheap or bad capacitors that can fail over time, but that's more of a design flaw issue than an age issue. If your PSU has already lasted this long, then it probably didn't have bad capacitors in it, and will probably be good for a long time to come.

Well, it has been "married to my 3570k and Original GTX titan since the beginning. Slight OC on CPU @ 4.0 ghz forever. Ive cleaned it out occasionally, case has a dust filter(upside down mounted) My only concern is with increase load ( going to build around zen2 + midrange 6 or 3 series) might cause stress on an otherwise flawless PSU. Thank you for your insight.
 

Tsumi

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Well, it has been "married to my 3570k and Original GTX titan since the beginning. Slight OC on CPU @ 4.0 ghz forever. Ive cleaned it out occasionally, case has a dust filter(upside down mounted) My only concern is with increase load ( going to build around zen2 + midrange 6 or 3 series) might cause stress on an otherwise flawless PSU. Thank you for your insight.

In that case, you're going from a 250+ watt GPU to a 150 watt GPU. CPU-wise you're going from a 100 watt CPU to a 80-150 watt CPU, depending on which model you get. Your 850 watt is already way overkill for your system, and your planned system uses less power.
 
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In that case, you're going from a 250+ watt GPU to a 150 watt GPU. CPU-wise you're going from a 100 watt CPU to a 80-150 watt CPU, depending on which model you get. Your 850 watt is already way overkill for your system, and your planned system uses less power.
Thanks, thats good comparison numbers! I will just keep it and use the save money elsewhere. TY
 

MrAgmoore

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I ran a PSU 7 months past its 7 year warranty and when it died, it took the high end sound card with it. After that happened, I started writing down the month and year that I started using the PSU ( inside the lid of the cardboard box ). Periodically, I compare the "birth date" to the warranty.

I have PC case dust filters and UPS but I've never opened up a PSU and cleaned it, it's not something that I would even think to do.

The random chaos that can ensue from the power supply dying is such a hassle that it's not worth being cheap about replacing the PSU.
 

evhvis

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My Corsair AX850 (rebranded Seasonic X) is 8 or 9 years old and still could run a rtx 3080 with no issues, which is ironically not the most powerhungry GPU it has supplied. Did replace it with the new AX850 though, but still using several high quality PSUs that are 7+ years old with no issues. Be nice to your PSU with not pushing it above 80% load etc. and it will last you many builds.
 

therealjustin

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I purchased my SeaSonic 760W Platinum in December 2013 and it has been absolutely rock solid.

Do you think it would be safe to use it on a new build? I can't find any Prime models in-stock except for ones costing $250+.
 

evhvis

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I purchased my SeaSonic 760W Platinum in December 2013 and it has been absolutely rock solid.

Do you think it would be safe to use it on a new build? I can't find any Prime models in-stock except for ones costing $250+.
Should be fine, unless you are planing on pushing it close to the limit. High quality PSUs last a long time. I use 8 and 9 year old PSUs in my other systems without any issues. I also know others who are using 10+ year old PSUs and their systems are working just fine. Just be aware that it can be something to check early if your system starts to run into issues. One of the main issues with PSUs is capacitors going bad, but high quality ones last a lot longer than the ones they use in the cheapest PSUs. The highest quality capacitors are fine with 15+ years of use at 50C.
 

kent

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12 year old corsair power supply in the ole htpc mining its ass off. Machine has probably been on doing something 11 out of 12 years
 

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DrezKill

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I'm using a Seasonic-built Corsair HX850W PSU (CMPSU-850HX) that I got in Summer 2010. Been used every single day, for 16-24 hours per day. Been running fine this whole time. Seasonic PSUs usually have 10-year warranties, and I expect them to last at least that long.
 

shoman100

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Multiple PS from the 2008 or so still plugging along. The quality products outlasted the cheapo stuff by a long shot. I can't recall any of the good ones going bad. Blow them out every 4-6 months and keepem from heating up. I read that dust coating a PS is like wearing a heavy coat in a warm home and will wear the PS out sooner.
 
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It really depends on the quality, but I'm currently on my 9th year with a Corsair HX650 that is still running okay. I gather that 8-10 years is about as long as you want to run a power supply though, so this one is probably on its last legs, though it hasn't shown any signs of wear yet.

I've had really cheap PSUs that used to come with cases or pre-built computers last about 5-6 years if you only use about half the rated capacity, and those were probably low quality units. I imagine the good ones like the one I have now last longer.
 

GotNoRice

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Multiple PS from the 2008 or so still plugging along. The quality products outlasted the cheapo stuff by a long shot. I can't recall any of the good ones going bad. Blow them out every 4-6 months and keepem from heating up. I read that dust coating a PS is like wearing a heavy coat in a warm home and will wear the PS out sooner.

Yeah heat kills for sure. That is one of the big differences between a good and bad unit. A cheap PSU will have cheap undersized heatsinks. Metal is expensive.

But IMO what is better than dusting out the PSU every few months is putting dust filters on your case air intakes, while maintaining positive case air pressure, so the dust never reaches the PSU in the first place.
 

evhvis

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Yeah heat kills for sure. That is one of the big differences between a good and bad unit. A cheap PSU will have cheap undersized heatsinks. Metal is expensive.

But IMO what is better than dusting out the PSU every few months is putting dust filters on your case air intakes, while maintaining positive case air pressure, so the dust never reaches the PSU in the first place.
Having zero fan idle mode helps a lot as well as most of the time it is not forcing air into the PSU. My old AX850 (fan stop on lower low powerdraw) picks up very little dust while a similarly old HX750 picked up quite a bit of dust. The HX750 probably needs cleaning 5 times for every time the AX850 needs cleaning.
 

VirtualMirage

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My grandfather's power supply in his PC just bit the dust. He built the computer many years ago. The power supply was a Casedge F300-A 300W power supply. The motherboard was a DFI NB71-BC, a socket 478 with either a Intel 845 or 845E north bridge and an ICH2 south bridge. I am not sure of the CPU since I only had pictures to go by. Either way, I have determined that the PC was built somewhere between 2002 (when the chipsets were released) and early 2004 (when health issues kept him from building more PCs). So that would show that the power supply lasted somewhere between 17-19 years before biting it. Lately, all it was used for was playing spider solitaire.

With him currently suffering from dementia (he no longer recognizes me) and multiple health issues, it would be best to not disturb his routines and what he is familiar with. This means swapping out his computer with a new one was not much of an option. Luckily, we managed to find an identical power supply earlier this week and got the computer up and running again today. We were glad to see it was just the power supply and not anything else. He was happy to play spider solitaire again.
 

dexvx

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It's more about capacitor performance than anything.

Some of the oldest PSU's I have are:

Dell XPS P60c (Pentium 60 from 1994)
486 SX33 PC AT PSU (circa 1991)
 

WilyKit

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For the most part, a quality PSU will last quite sometime provided it's not constantly loaded to it's limit and received periodic cleaning (blowing out dust) however I did read/watch a review a couple years ago that tackled this very question. It found that while they still worked and were adequate for most tasks, their full load capacity had dropped a few percentage points and the power they were delivering wasn't nearly as clean as when tested new. Likely a result of capacitor aging.
 
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