Power Supplies - Too Much Power?

July 28, 2010 at 08:18:51
Specs: Windows 7
I run a regular ol' gaming rig, a mutt I put together myself. If I'm not doing the whole SLI double/triple thing, do I really need a souped up power supply? I'm comfortable with the 750W I've got now, but friends of mine have gone with 1000+ in a build that just doesn't seem to demand such a thing.

What's your thoughts on the sweet spot between "just enough" and "way too much"?

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July 28, 2010 at 08:52:30
You can never have too much power, ever. It just costs more.
Just enough is not enough.
Enough with some in reserve is what you need, therefore err on the side of too much.

1000 watts seems like a bit of overkill unless yo are running a corporate server.

720 watts should be adequate for a desktop.

However, the wattage doesn't mean much in isolation.

It is largely used as a marketing gimmick and you should be looking at the amperage on the different voltage rails. An unscrupulous manufactures can put a high amperage on the 3.3 rail and lower amperages on the other rails and still have a total of 750 watts output. Whereas you really need the high amperage on the 12 v rail which is a little more expensive to implement.

Quite often an expensive 500 watts power supply will out perform a cheap 750 watt power supply.


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July 28, 2010 at 11:02:08
Unless you have a hardcore gaming machine, a 750W PSU is overkill. The majority of computers (even gaming rigs) don't even use 500W under full load, let alone 750-1000W. There are good reasons for having a PSU larger than you need though...planning for future upgrades or maintaining a reasonable safety factor are 2 examples.

Have a look at the following table to get a rough idea of total system power requirements. Notice that the 2 biggest power consumers on the list run dual video cards in SLi or Crossfire but still only require about 600W:


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