400W PSUs - Safe Or Not?

  Ken Ju-On 15:26 24 Jul 03
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My computer is an Athlon XP 2600+. I've heard that 300W PSUs supply quite enough power.

Will I experience better performance if I install a 400W PSU? Or will it generate too much heat and fan noise?

I'm a dunce when it comes to computer PSUs (of which people who have read my posts will know well!) so I'd really appreciate some advice.

  Confab 15:37 24 Jul 03

Are you experiencing a probelm with your PC?

A more powerful PSU won't help with "performance" unless you are experiencing problems with the power requirements of your pc and peripherals.

You will find that it is perfectly "Safe" and will supply only the power the system needs.

As to pro's and cons, a bigger power supply could well be quieter if it has a thermal contral as the good ones do. This is due to the fact that it would be rated for a higher output than you require and so would be running at less than 100%. This means that it would run cooler than a 300W at full pelt and so need less cooling.

Also, a larger PSu is better in terms of being able to provide a more constant and stable supply rather than the voltages dropping if you draw all that is on offer from a 300W.

Go for it - you can always upgrade your system in future to take full advantage of the potential!!

Gawd, my typing is awful today. Yes - as Confab states, absolutely no "performance" gains.

  Bruce_Lee 16:12 24 Jul 03

My home system has a 450W Enermax PSU with a dial on the back to adjust the speed of the fan. I have it running almost silent with an Athlon 2500+ on an Asus motherboard with an Aero 7+ fan, 1GB of RAM, 2 hard drives (80GB and 120GB), a DVD ROM drive, a cd-writer and an Asus FX graphics card, and it all runs perfectly with very little noise. I turn the dial up when the computer is really working to keep the internal temperature of my PC down. CPU temperature is below 50C even under load.

So yes I believe that 400W (and higher) PSUs are safe, although buying a decent one makes all the difference.

  Stuartli 17:29 24 Jul 03

You don't worry about the capacity of your mains supply do you?

Whatever you are using such as a TV, vacuum cleanrer, computer etc takes the required supply and that's that (unless there are problems and that's why you have fuses and electronic trip switches).

The more items you are running in a computer the better it is if you have a usefully sized PSU wattage, otherwise you could be trying to demand more than it is able to provide.

They are, after all, only delivering a low voltage supply to your system by converting the mains power to DC.

  Diemmess 18:33 24 Jul 03

There is no possible harm from a larger power supply. After all you can draw 23,000 watts from the mains to an average house before the supply company fuse blows.

This doesn't happen (fortunately) because of all the various circuits down to the 3Kw fuse in the kettle plug and hopefully the 690watt fuse in your computer plug, and lighter fuses inside the computer itself.

No, - it is the amount of current that the computer bits will use that matters, too small a power supply runs out of puff and the computer stops computing. Too large a PSU means a costlier item and possible difficulty in finding somewhere to mount it, but no problem with the behaviour of the computer. You are paying for a very accurate voltage to be there when it wants it and that is all.

In a simple plumbing analogy - volts represent pressure, and amps the amount. Ask for too many gallons of water and the pressure drops from a too feeble supply.

  Ken Ju-On 20:19 24 Jul 03

Thanks for all your advice. Now I got a better idea of what I want to know.

If a 450W supply is indeed quieter and cooler, then I'll surely go for one. I'm asking this because I'm changing my current 230V PSU to one that accepts both 230V and 115V inputs.

Thanks again to all.

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