It's a weird time for power supplies

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All the big names associated with reliability now have lower tier products with inferior components. If you go into newegg reviews you will see around a 10 percent failure rate with almost every brand. (among comments not true failure rate). I've used several cheapo power supplies without much issues in the past. It seems the cheapos have reached some sort of parity with the ratings of more expensive psu's. This makes it hard to determine what you should aim for in a power supply if you are cutting corners by not spending enough, or if you are paying too much due to branding.

I guess the reviews don't paint a clear enough picture. I think from now on ill also weigh inwarranty length ( which usually indicates better components) and also if I can find out what caps a psu uses etc.

It just seems with other electric powered items, the items are expected to last 30+years. I wish we could say the same for pc power supplies.
 

Tsumi

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User reviews have never been a good source of information on PSUs. Professional reviews with full teardowns, oscilloscopes, and proper load test equipment are the only way to make PSU purchase decisions. The only thing PSU user reviews are good for is how responsive a company is to warranty claims.

Most people who buy crap PSUs aren't using them on systems that use all that much power to begin with. They also aren't likely to notice shortened component lifespan that can come as a result of a poor PSU, blaming the failed component instead. They're typically not overclocking either, so they won't notice instabilities due to unclean power.

Also, I don't know what world you live in where consumer electronics last more than 30 years. The PSU ATX standard was introduced in 1995. The modern PSU ATX standard with power primarily on the 12 volt rails was introduced in 2003. Now we're about to move to a new standard with no 3.3v or 5v rails, so there's a good chance ATX will be phased out in the next 5-10 years.
 

GiGaBiTe

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It seems the cheapos have reached some sort of parity with the ratings of more expensive psu's.
No... Cheap garbage IEDs are still cheap garbage IEDs. I had the unique opportunity of seeing the Logisys "480W" unit over the span of several years being further cost reduced from an already abysmal design. It was a popular PSU for awhile because it was $15 and people bought it to get old computers running. They blew up predictably and I got to perform autopsies on them, it was neat seeing how the older units were more well built than newer units that had been cost-reduced by removing components and eventually getting new PCB revisions to hide the fact that components were changed or removed.

They'll kill your computer dead.
 

PhaseNoise

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^ That.

Better PSUs which design for reliability and certify supply chains to avoid counterfeit parts are worth it. Honestly, I'd rather scrimp on RAM than the PSU. The PSU will be the cornerstone of many builds, and you REALLY don't want to deal with troubleshooting shoddy PSU problems.

My experience mirrors GiGaBiTe's with inexpensive PSUs. The thing is, reasonably good stuff doesn't cost that much more. You don't need to go full Titanium Prime level. Just get something from a vendor who cares about their reputation.
 

Nenu

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Get a quality PSU from a quality mfr with a 7+ year warranty.
You get better components, safety features and more stable power.
The chance of hosing other components due to power issues is very low and if you overclock, the PSU wont be what holds you back (power limit permitting).
Divide the cost by the years of service, no loss of other hardware and peace of mind, it ends up being cheap.

My last PSU was a Corsair AX750, based on a Seasonic 750W PSU, it lasted 8 years running 24/7 with overclocked hardware and is still serviceable.
It was replaced with a Seasonic Prime Ultra Titanium 750W.
My last suspect if there is a problem is the power supply and it lasts so long I forget when I bought it.
 

GiGaBiTe

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I run power supplies until they start acting up, then they'll go into the pile of "to be repaired eventually". When I get enough of them, I'll do a big parts order from mouser and recap them all and fix any other outstanding issues and put them back into service. The few that have major issues, like chips cratering or blown mosfets go into my dead electronics bin to rob parts from until they have nothing of use left and are recycled. Once mosfets start blowing, it gets too expensive to repair the unit, not to mention the PCB usually has holes blown in it.

There are some 20 year old PSUs in my horde that still work fine because of it, which is nice when you still need supplies with heavy 5V rails for old Athlon and Pentium 4 rigs. It's also great repairing proprietary PSUs where ebay scalpers want like $100+ for a 200-400W PSU.
 

xx0xx

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Not so sure about all "lower tier" options having inferior components when they're from name brands.

Does Seasonic even make a bad PSU? They have some non and semi modular options that are pretty affordable, but I bet they're built far better than the average PSU

Still makes no sense to go cheap on PSUs anyway. Super cheapos are still a huge risk not worth taking. I've had two cheaper PSUs take out whole systems in the past and I learned my lesson after that.
 

cyclone3d

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I run power supplies until they start acting up, then they'll go into the pile of "to be repaired eventually". When I get enough of them, I'll do a big parts order from mouser and recap them all and fix any other outstanding issues and put them back into service. The few that have major issues, like chips cratering or blown mosfets go into my dead electronics bin to rob parts from until they have nothing of use left and are recycled. Once mosfets start blowing, it gets too expensive to repair the unit, not to mention the PCB usually has holes blown in it.

There are some 20 year old PSUs in my horde that still work fine because of it, which is nice when you still need supplies with heavy 5V rails for old Athlon and Pentium 4 rigs. It's also great repairing proprietary PSUs where ebay scalpers want like $100+ for a 200-400W PSU.
Which proprietary PSUs? Are they the odd-shaped ones or just ones with non-standard connections? If the latter, there are usually ATX -> whatever adapters for a few bucks. If it is the previous or a combination of the 2, I would just shoehorn a standard PSU into the case or replace the innards of a dumb proprietary form factor with that from something that can be gotten easily.

I like using newer pwer supplies, even for heavy 5V rails ones as not only can you just get higher overall output new PSUs to handle that, but the good brand ones are going to be much more efficient and have cleaner output than the old ones.
 

pendragon1

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you get what you pay for with PSUs. but "high end" makers' "cheap" PSUs are probably still leagues ahead of cheapos.
 

GiGaBiTe

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Which proprietary PSUs? Are they the odd-shaped ones or just ones with non-standard connections?
All over the map. Some are proprietary form factors that are odd shapes and you can't just shoehorn a generic power supply PCB in because it won't fit. Some have proprietary connections, which can be worked around if you shoehorn a regular ATX/Micro ATX board in. Yet some others have non-standard voltages, like older Apple machines with a +25v rail for ADC, older AT style motherboards which require a -5v rail and some proprietary systems which have bizarre power rail voltages.

I like using newer pwer supplies, even for heavy 5V rails ones as not only can you just get higher overall output new PSUs to handle that, but the good brand ones are going to be much more efficient and have cleaner output than the old ones.
Modern power supplies are not designed for heavy 5v rails, high power units almost always put most of the capacity on the 12v rail(s) and there's usually a cap on the 5v rail. I've had modern 500-850W units not be able to run old multi socket PIII boards, Pentium 4 and Athlon XP machines. They'd boot, but when you put a load on them, the machine would either crash, reboot or get very unstable. They also lack the P8 power connector (a carry over from the AT standard), which was used on some high end boards to provide extra power to the motherboard. My P3TDDE board has one and is a lot more stable under heavy load with it plugged in.

The last power supplies manufactured which had heavy 5v rails were around 10 years ago. Antec still sells some of their Basiq Power models today that use the same PCB design from back then and are good for older machines, you just have to watch out for shitty capacitors.
 

Tsumi

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Not so sure about all "lower tier" options having inferior components when they're from name brands.

Does Seasonic even make a bad PSU? They have some non and semi modular options that are pretty affordable, but I bet they're built far better than the average PSU

Still makes no sense to go cheap on PSUs anyway. Super cheapos are still a huge risk not worth taking. I've had two cheaper PSUs take out whole systems in the past and I learned my lesson after that.
Like most things, there are several tiers between the top and the bottom. The cheaper PSUs from high end makers usually use a mix of components from the top tier and tiers in the middle. They're also less likely to overspec the cheaper PSUs.
 

P1x3L

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I haven't done research on PSUs in about 10 years... Which are considered the best today? PC Power & Cooling & Seasonic?
 

Tsumi

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I haven't done research on PSUs in about 10 years... Which are considered the best today? PC Power & Cooling & Seasonic?
PC Power and Cooling is a dead brand, OCZ killed them I think. Is OCZ still even alive?

Can't go wrong with Seasonic. Many other brands use Seasonic, like EVGA and Corsair. SuperFlower is very good but haven't heard about them lately. CWT makes a mix of mediocre to decently solid PSUs. FSP is a mixed bag as well ranging from decent to good.
 

FlawleZ

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No... Cheap garbage IEDs are still cheap garbage IEDs. I had the unique opportunity of seeing the Logisys "480W" unit over the span of several years being further cost reduced from an already abysmal design. It was a popular PSU for awhile because it was $15 and people bought it to get old computers running. They blew up predictably and I got to perform autopsies on them, it was neat seeing how the older units were more well built than newer units that had been cost-reduced by removing components and eventually getting new PCB revisions to hide the fact that components were changed or removed.

They'll kill your computer dead.
My parents computer had a Logisys 400 something that recently died. It was in use 24/7 for probably 6 years or so before it died. Didn't damage anything else.
 

Jandor

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To be fair any normal brand that build PSUs with good design and using good components should be as good as what are supposed to be better brands. I believe that Seasonic builds with his own design, which is always good and uses good components, but Corsair, for instance, is known for designing its own PSU but could build somewhere in a standard plant where they put the components Corsair wants with their design. I believe one can trust the soldering if Corsair trust them. Some people analyzed their PSU made at CWT and Great Wall, the later being a brand with quite no good reputation, and they have excellent specs and components without being too expensive for what they do (not overpriced but not cheap). This is all about the RM ..x series (CWT) and the SF series (Great Wall). I bet on those recently mostly because of the size. I hope I didn't miss something.
Their best height power line (1600W) is not even designed by them but on purpose made for them by some brand not specialized in PSU, namely Flextronics. However Corsair also sells some low cost not so great PSU, that used to be cheapest Seasonic line, but not anymore, that I'm not even sure they design themselves today. So there, you can't compare with Seasonic from whom even their bronze PSU are still great and will survive 10 years 24/24 of service.

On the other side EVGA, often compared to Corsair on quality, doesn't design it's own PSUs. They are all rebranded to some extent or ordered on purpose.
 

ryan_975

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My parents computer had a Logisys 400 something that recently died. It was in use 24/7 for probably 6 years or so before it died. Didn't damage anything else.
Probably because it was being used under the 200-250w design that it actually was.

Are they still making quality PSUs, or did the never before heard of "Firepower Technology" company buy them for brand recognition to peddle garbage? The only review I can find post-2014 is by THG... which I'm not going to bother with.
 

pendragon1

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Are they still making quality PSUs, or did the never before heard of "Firepower Technology" company buy them for brand recognition to peddle garbage? The only review I can find post-2014 is by THG... which I'm not going to bother with.
maybe, idk. they are not dead was the point. apparently they acquired ocz's psu division. so that answers that q.
edit: heres a review from 2018. i guess they are using High Power to build them now and the one reviewed was "ok".
https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/pc-power-and-cooling-silencer-1050w-psu,5871.html
 

ryan_975

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pendragon1

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If they're turned into a peddler of garbage now, they're dead.



Already said THG was the only one I could find.
i dont know it they are garbage. do you? is High Power crap?
did not know that THG = tom's
 

GiGaBiTe

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Probably because it was being used under the 200-250w design that it actually was.
The bridge rectifier setup in the Logisys 480W has a maximum continuous output of 188W, if it uses 2A diodes, and most of them do.
 

ryan_975

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i dont know it they are garbage. do you?
I don't know, that's why I asked. I'd love to relive the PCP&P glory days in my next build.

is High Power crap?
I hadn't heard of them until now, but I'm not particularly an expert of makers of things for other company's.
did not know that THG = tom's
THG = Tom's Hardware Guide. That place has been a joke since the early 2000's.
 

ryan_975

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The bridge rectifier setup in the Logisys 480W has a maximum continuous output of 188W, if it uses 2A diodes, and most of them do.
Does that account for the 50% duty cycle the diodes would be running at?
 

IdiotInCharge

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I don't know, that's why I asked. I'd love to relive the PCP&P glory days in my next build.
Seasonic is the new PCP&P; PCP&P made good units, but they were known to be loud.

Not really a bad thing back when Delta fans were being used on heatsinks, but also not something I'd want to intentionally relive ;)
 

ryan_975

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Seasonic is the new PCP&P; PCP&P made good units, but they were known to be loud.

Not really a bad thing back when Delta fans were being used on heatsinks, but also not something I'd want to intentionally relive ;)
Yeah, I buy Seasonic and Corsair PSUs exclusively anymore. There's just a bit of nostalgia with PCP&P, and it'd be neat to have high quality modernly designed unit with their name on it.
 

GiGaBiTe

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Does that account for the 50% duty cycle the diodes would be running at?
Bridge rectifiers are full wave, not half wave. The 188W figure was based on ~80% load of the four 2A diodes used as a bridge rectifier which is commonly found in the 480W Logisys. While you can run a diode at 100% of its rating, they're going to get smokin hot and usually burn the board since they're pressed right to the board.

The primary side switching I do believe is half wave, but that's a later stage than the bridge rectifier, the bridge rectifier sees pretty much constant load from charging the line capacitors.
 

ryan_975

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In a full wave BR, only two diodes are conducting at a time. The other two are blocking and aren’t handling any current.

(in 115v mode, only one diode is active, three are blocking)

So choosing a diode rating requires only considering 0.5 Idc (plus whatever margin you want). Those 2A diodes are good for at least 350w
 

chameleoneel

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All the big names associated with reliability now have lower tier products with inferior components. If you go into newegg reviews you will see around a 10 percent failure rate with almost every brand. (among comments not true failure rate). I've used several cheapo power supplies without much issues in the past. It seems the cheapos have reached some sort of parity with the ratings of more expensive psu's. This makes it hard to determine what you should aim for in a power supply if you are cutting corners by not spending enough, or if you are paying too much due to branding.

I guess the reviews don't paint a clear enough picture. I think from now on ill also weigh inwarranty length ( which usually indicates better components) and also if I can find out what caps a psu uses etc.

It just seems with other electric powered items, the items are expected to last 30+years. I wish we could say the same for pc power supplies.
I basically just buy whatever Johnnyguru rates "mythical" or near mythical.
 

Grebuloner

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I basically just buy whatever Johnnyguru rates "mythical" or near mythical.
Time to change your shopping methods. OklahomaWolf (JG PSU reviewer) retired from the game over a year ago, you're potentially missing out on the new stuff. TheFPSReview doesn't review as many, (well, no one did), but is a current high quality source.
 

Starfalcon

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Not to mention the site has only reviewed one PSU in the last year, and doesnt look like any are forthcoming soon. I miss OW and his reviews.
 

IdiotInCharge

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And I'm over here missing the [H]'s kill tests -- with a passing rating meaning that it didn't explode when run to spec :D
 

Ebernanut

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I was just shopping last week for a decent PSU to put in a budget gaming build and I agree that many of the better brands are pumping out some less than stellar units at their lower end. Prices also seem a bit high right now for some reason.

They're far from the worst about it but even Seasonic is guilty. Their new S12III is not something I felt comfortable using, even worse it's supposed to be a direct replacement for the S12II which had a rep as a good budget PSU that I would have had no issue using in the build.

EVGA is probably the worst in that regard and have introduced tons of new models with many of them being not very good, even most of the new gold rated models which is a shame because they still sell some of the best ones too.

Corsair seems to be a solid choice right now but I've had bad experiences with them in the past, especially with their CWT based builds which still seems to be their primary platform brand. Antec seemed be getting back on track a year or two ago but they have some real clunkers on the market right now.

Last I heard PC P&C had changed hands and then was still selling the same old units with 80mm fans for original price when much better units could be had for cheaper and 140mm fans were the standard, no idea if they had cheapened them in terms of quality.

Time to change your shopping methods. OklahomaWolf (JG PSU reviewer) retired from the game over a year ago, you're potentially missing out on the new stuff. TheFPSReview doesn't review as many, (well, no one did), but is a current high quality source.
I miss their reviews but the forums are still a good source of info on specific units, if someone has decent test result on a unit it often gets posted and at the very least you'll usually find out what platform it uses, any changes made to the platform, and what caps it has. If FPSReview is using the old [H] testing methods that would be the best I'm aware of currently though I did see a site mentioned a few times in the JG forums, I'll probably check both out next time I'm looking for unit for myself.
 

aokman

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Still rocking my Antec High Current Pro 1000W made by Delta. Don’t see a need to ever upgrade.

It is true though, every brand is making a shit line these days.
 

Grebuloner

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Prices also seem a bit high right now for some reason.
Most manufacturers use China for part or all of their PSU production and it triggered the 10% tariffs for imports to the US. Seasonic was up front about having to jack up their prices to cover the additional costs. It was supposed to move up to 25% late last year, but that's being pushed back. I can't seem to find anything on whether the new trade deal drops them (and would businesses with a strong demand market drop prices or just keep them where they are for extra profit?).
 
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