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Thirty Four PSUs Tested - Is Biggest Best?

Hemos posted more than 9 years ago | from the does-size-matter dept.

Hardware 276

SteveK writes "Hexus has been testing some 34 PC power supplies to see which is best. There are some interesting results. An Enermax 535 Watt PSU couldn't deliver much over 450W, while a cheap 250W PSU did exactly what it said on the box. There's also a video of a (very cheap) 650W PSU under 400W of load, requiring over 1kW of input power to sustain the load, before blowing up."

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Hexus = good reviews, shitty servers. (5, Informative)

jgaynor (205453) | more than 9 years ago | (#13649853)

Mod me down for slander, but I don't understand why we keep linking to Hexus reviews. Their content quality is high but their servers can't take a slashdotting for more than 3-4 minutes. 0 comments and it's taken over a minute to load as it is :(.

Re:Hexus = good reviews, shitty servers. (2, Insightful)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 9 years ago | (#13649885)

Chicken and egg.

Lots of slashdotters go there because there are lots of reviews.
When a new one is posted, it gets submitted and because its good gets posted here...

Either that or Hemos is taking backhanders from the hexus BOFHs to push for extra server upgrades "Boss, the servers keep going down, we need more power".

Re:Hexus = good reviews, shitty servers. (5, Informative)

unts (754160) | more than 9 years ago | (#13649893)

Steve from HEXUS here. :)

We've got new kit going into place soon, but that's not my department. We've taken measures in the meantime to cope with any traffic surges, like Slashdottings, but with a massive article like this one, it's tricky.

Thanks for your patience, guys.

Re:Hexus = good reviews, shitty servers. (3, Insightful)

LordSnooty (853791) | more than 9 years ago | (#13649959)

Why doesn't the submitter just post the Coral Cache link straight off? Then we wouldn't have this problem. Or am I being dense? Surely there's no point pushing a server over if it's obvious to all that it will not survive the slashdotting.

Re:Hexus = good reviews, shitty servers. (1)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650126)

AFAIK, none of the coral servers talk/share cache, so for each different coral server it each needs to cache a copy of the content, so the server *does* need to be still up by that point.

Re:Hexus = good reviews, shitty servers. (2, Informative)

tolan-b (230077) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650206)

Re:Hexus = good reviews, shitty servers. (1)

tolan-b (230077) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650237)

replying to self sorry...

that only works for the first page, still you can read the intro.

Coral cache (3, Insightful)

sshore (50665) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650518)

Some networks don't allow requests to nonstandard ports like 8090 that Coral Cache uses.

Re:Coral cache (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13650537)

Don't bother wasting your breath. I've said it 1000 times, and people still just manage to ignore it.

Re:Hexus = good reviews, shitty servers. (0, Redundant)

eclectro (227083) | more than 9 years ago | (#13649978)

but with a massive article like this one, it's tricky

Are your power supplies blowing up??

Re:Hexus = good reviews, shitty servers. (1)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 9 years ago | (#13649998)

Would you consider posting the text of the article as a comment?
It's not like you'll be getting hits in the meantime anyway and it
might bring people back for the pictures later.

Re:Hexus = good reviews, shitty servers. (1)

BrynM (217883) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650088)

Hi there "Steve from HEXUS". Just a thought: This [slashdot.org] is a great idea for a follow up article... 'cause you know... you've got a few PSUs around. Since it was posted AC, I'll just quote it.
To be honest, at the moment my needs are more focused on the quietness of a power supply, I can quite easily cope with 300W on my main PC.

Sorry about your server. I didn't get the chance to read the article, but I'll be back for it.

Question on slashdottings. (2, Informative)

Grendel Drago (41496) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650123)

I assume you guys are server-limited, not bandwidth-limited, when the Slashdot beast comes around. So why don't you put up a static version of the page when the Slashdotting hits? Why don't you at least use some sort of caching to reduce the load on your servers? Is there something obvious that I, not being a mighty server admin, am missing?

Eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13650168)

It's not the hardware, a 200Mhz P2 could easily saturate 100Mbps. Unless you have insufficient bandwidth, it's your CMS that is failing the slashdot test.

Re:Eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13650435)

Only if it's serving 100% static content. Dynamic content, on the other hand....

Re:Hexus = good reviews, shitty servers. (1)

halleluja (715870) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650203)

Steve from HEXUS here. :) http://www.stevekerrison.com/ [stevekerrison.com]

Looks like your h/p will continue to lack development ;)

Thanks for the info, I'll try and fetch the article later.

Re:Hexus = good reviews, shitty servers. (4, Interesting)

ZorinLynx (31751) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650249)

Tell me.. Why does Hexus, and so many other sites, divide the articles into so many small pages?

This review is 26 pages! That's at least 26 pageviews to read the whole thing for each user. Multiply that by slash dot and... Well, let's just say the server is KO'ed.

Instead, why not have several reviews on each page? Just doubling the size of each page halves the number of page loads needed for each user. This applies for news sites and such too. I don't get why they split the articles into three or four pages, when you could easily have one big page to scroll through. Less pages also means readers will be less annoyed having to click and wait for the next page when the server is bogged down.

-Z

Re:Hexus = good reviews, shitty servers. (5, Informative)

grazzy (56382) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650306)

Two reasons;

1) Templates. A template for a large article wouldn't be usable for shorter (1-page) articles.
2) Pageviews. Equals money in pocket.

Re:Hexus = good reviews, shitty servers. (4, Insightful)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650320)

one or two words depending on how you look at it, but let me put it in slashdot style

1) Split story onto many many pages
2) Sell more ads
3) Profit!!!!

Two words (0, Redundant)

Bimo_Dude (178966) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650332)

I don't get why they split the articles into three or four pages, when you could easily have one big page to scroll through.

Ad Revenue.

Re:Hexus = good reviews, shitty servers. (4, Interesting)

Shaper_pmp (825142) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650446)

Funnily enough, this actually encourages the Average User (a mythical beast, only whose footprints have ever been found) to read the whole article. Usability reports I remember reading a few months ago indicated that on an interactive medium like the web, users get "bored" if they don't have to interact with a page for too long. If you don't provide regular user-interaction (eg, by making them click for the next page) they get fractious and are more likely to drop out of reading the article.

I've actually noticed this myself a bit - if I've got a long page (> 5 screens) to read I'll often find myself double-clicking on words/lines in the text or highlighting them with the mouse. I don't really even realise I'm doing it, but when an article's split into several shorter pages (although it annoys me slightly having to click "Next" all the time) I don't find myself doing this.

Of course, it also inflates "page-views" and ad revenue ;-)

" Is Biggest Best?" (5, Funny)

netfool (623800) | more than 9 years ago | (#13649857)

Yes, always. If you're told otherwise, it's because they feel bad for you.

Re:" Is Biggest Best?" (4, Funny)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 9 years ago | (#13649898)

I always heard that it wasn't the size of the PSU that mattered, but the power in the box.

Re:" Is Biggest Best?" (5, Funny)

bjs555 (889176) | more than 9 years ago | (#13649933)

If the plug reaches the socket, it's long enough.

Re:" Is Biggest Best?" (1)

dAzED1 (33635) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650515)

not if there isn't enough length so that the box can move around...

Re:" Is Biggest Best?" (1)

marom (917828) | more than 9 years ago | (#13649930)

And it had better have a big load.

Re:" Is Biggest Best?" (1)

Jendi (917869) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650223)

This is true, but there is such a thing as "scary big".

For example, if you take 3-phase power, that's a pretty good indication that you've crossed the scary threshold.

TMM endorses only one PSU (0, Offtopic)

TripMaster_Monky (885678) | more than 9 years ago | (#13649858)

American-Designed & American-Assembled using the world's best components: PCP [pcpowercooling.com]

Re:TMM endorses only one PSU (-1, Flamebait)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 9 years ago | (#13649900)

So that's basically trying to make the worst possible product using asian components.

Speaking of power packs (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13649865)

To be honest, at the moment my needs are more focused on the quietness of a power supply, I can quite easily cope with 300W on my main PC.

Slighlty offtopic, does anyone know where I can get a 250W power pack in the UK for my iDeq 200N?

Re:Speaking of power packs (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13650023)

www.gemma.co.uk

Re:Speaking of power packs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13650072)

Try PC Ideals www.pcideals.com . We have 250W Dell PSUs which are very reliable. Disclaimer: I work for PC Ideals.

Fraudulent Labeling , Consumer Safety - Who Cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13650348)

In Australia, reported several brands that blew up (.au on 240 ac. Vic, NSW, ACT and QLD consumer protection bodies did nothing = useless. Inside, a wire jumper was substituted for a fuse!
The 240v surge blew the caps off, landed, and stuck in the cooling fan, while the PCB cooked a real stench with some more bangs (louder than popcorn).
Self regulation/certification sucks. Will lay bets those CE marks certify the stickers only. About time they read some reviews, and decide to act. Nowadays the PSU's fail before the fan gets noisy.

Re:Speaking of power packs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13650483)

ebay

Where's Antec? (5, Informative)

tgbrittai (599035) | more than 9 years ago | (#13649871)

It's a fairly popular high-end PSU brand. Seems like it should have been included in the review. Hmmm...

Antec (1)

p51d007 (656414) | more than 9 years ago | (#13649970)

I noticed that also....no Antec must mean they didn't get a "free" one :) I had to pull my 430 Antec out because when I popped out my GeForce 5700 Ultra to replace it with a 6600GT (no laughs now!) it wouldn't handle: 4 Hard Drives 2 CD/DVD Burners 1 Water Cooler 2.8 HT P4 TV Tuner 6 USB 2.0 devices I just don't know why? LOL Anyway, popped in an Antec 480 and it's runnin' like a champ The 430 is still ok...kind of screwed up in reverse too... I thought the power supply "might" be bad so I went to best buy on a sunday (and we all know how painful that is) and bought another 430 watt antec...didn't fix it.....so...boxed up the 430 and took it back and exchanged it for a 480 watt, which fixed it. When I was cleaning up the mess, I took a look at my "old" 430 watt supply and realized that I took my OLD 430 watt version ONE power supply back to best buy, and kept the version TWO one. Oops! I thought about calling best buy but figured what the heck, they've got enough of my money over the years, kind of nice to come out ahead once in a while.

Re: Antec (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13650068)


Yeah, right. You returned the old one just to cheat them.

If you're going to be a dishonest fuck, at least be honest about it.

Re: Antec (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650069)

Best Buy wouldn't care. They just need a product to ship back to their distributor, who'll likely only look in the box to see that "yup, it's an Antec 430 PSU all right!" Anyways, your problem was most likely with your drives. Running 6 drives puts quite a drain. Seeing as how a an Intel P4 system needs 350W-400W minimum, 430 just ain't enough to run 6 drives, a power hungry GPU and a water cooler. But even without the 6600GT, you were definitely pushing the limits of the PSU for sure.

Re: Antec (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650485)

Just for the sake of sharing, I'm running an Antec Sonata with its included (not available seperately) 380W PSU with an AMD Barton 2500+ and 5 drives (3 IDE, 7200 RPM and 2 SATA, 7200 RPM).

pictures of hardware [mikebabcock.ca]

Re: Antec (3, Informative)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650286)

no Antec must mean they didn't get a "free" one

From TFA:
We were very careful to use retail power supplies for our testing, mindful of not falling into the trap of asking manufacturers for supplies only to have special units sent which stand up more than a retail unit would.

Re:Where's Antec? (5, Informative)

pmc (40532) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650289)

Nope - don't go for Antec if you live in the UK. I bought one of their 430W power supplies, and after eight months it died. Fine, I thought, it is under warranty. So went to the web-site and after a bit of mucking about I managed to get an RMA. Or thought I did. I actually had filled in a form to request a form to request an RMA. Pointless bureaucracy gone mad. Still I got the form. Or rather excel spreadsheet. So now I need a) a working computer (erm, guys, the power supply's gone) and a copy of excel (probably an other speadsheet would have done) to tell them who I was, what I'd bought and when I'd bought it. Oh - they also wanted a scanned copy of the receipt sent back to them too. I did have an electronic copy that could have sent them, but it was on the computer that was dead. (They did suggest I could take a digital photo of the invoice and send that instead, but this was getting too Alice-in-Wonderlandish for me.)

But all this was just slightly stupid and annoying. What was very stupid and immensely annoying was that I had to send the power supply to them at my own expense to a different country. The power supply originally cost about 50GBP - to post it to the Netherlands (for that is where their warehouse is) from the UK cheaply (but insured) would cost about 25GBP. And they would not send me a new one until they had the old one back and checked out. I would end up out about half the cost of the power supply, and be without one for possible a couple of weeks. Suddenly, paying a premium price for a quality product did not seem to be such a good idea when faced with a avaricious and slow customer service department based in an entirely different country.

So my advice is avoid Antec if you live in the UK - you effectively pay about half the cost of the power supply if you need warranty repairs/replacement.

The story does have a happy ending - I bought the supply thought Amazon originally, and so phoned them up. After a bit of reminding them of their duty under Sale of Goods act (basically a quality brand should last longer than eight months) they agreed to replace it. They dropped the ball on the first attempt, so I actually ended up with a better spec'ed supply. Still an Antec, so if it dies it hits the bin rather than muck about with any ludicrious postal demands.

Re:Where's Antec? (1)

bigtrike (904535) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650536)

So my advice is avoid Antec if you live in the UK - you effectively pay about half the cost of the power supply if you need warranty repairs/replacement.

This is the case with almost every product $100 and under in the US. They want you to pay for postage both ways, which tends to be about $30 total. Even with this expenditure, they still may decide not to fix your product. I don't bother filling out warranty information any more, it's usually not worth the time required.

Re:Where's Antec? (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650538)

The story does have a happy ending - I bought the supply thought Amazon originally, and so phoned them up. After a bit of reminding them of their duty under Sale of Goods act (basically a quality brand should last longer than eight months) they agreed to replace it.

That's what I thought in the first place; I'd be interested in finding out what the legal position was w.r.t. stuff like this, bearing in mind that the UK has had fairly good consumer protection for a long time, and it's now even stronger (w/ the new EU rules).

If you bought it in a shop, is it reasonable to expect to have to ship it halfway across Europe at your own expense, especially if this wasn't made clear on the box?

If you bought it mail order, is it reasonable to be expected to ship it outside the country of purchase?

No Antec or PC Power & Cooling? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13649874)

This is a pretty worthless comparison without even one sample from Antec or PC Power & Cooling.

Re:No Antec or PC Power & Cooling? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13649979)

Antecs are trash. Pure utter trash.
They have zero overload protection.
Capacitors they use are very cheap.
Put any load on them and they go spectacularly.

At work we blew sparks out the back of 4 550 true controls, those were dual 2400MP's, MPX chipset, 4 200GB hard drives.
Those ones the power supplies only killed themselves. We had another desktop recently blow out itself and the board.

Our solution has been to go over to coolmax ps's. Much better made power supplies.

If you want to see more rants about how bad antecs are go to 2cpu.com

Re:No Antec or PC Power & Cooling? (1)

Noehre (16438) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650122)

Funny, I'm running dual 2800XPs, MPX chipset, SCSI drives, 6 PCI cards, etc. on an Antec 550W and I haven't had a single problem.

PEBCAK perhaps?

Not trolling (-1, Offtopic)

omega9 (138280) | more than 9 years ago | (#13649882)

Please stop linking to Hexus! Their site is shit and their servers are uberslow. It's a shame since their writeups are usually not that bad. For fucks sake, I've got client side CSS that highlights Hexus links just so I can avoid them.

Even mirrordot.org doesn't help much on this one.. (1)

Cronky (541988) | more than 9 years ago | (#13649944)

... as it [mirrordot.org] doesn't cache the linked pages ;-(

For PSUs, these days... (4, Informative)

Silverlancer (786390) | more than 9 years ago | (#13649896)

Quality usually goes hand in hand with price. The best ones are usually the most expensive (PC Power and Cooling). The cheap ones do stupid crap like toss 400 watts onto the 5 volt rail and then call it a 650 watt power supply, when it might crash when you put in that 7800 GTX. Cheap supplies also often are very inefficient, dissipating huge amounts of perfectly good elecricity as heat. There are some exceptions to the rule, but in general I've found that the better ones tend to cost more.

Re:For PSUs, these days...HEC/Sparkle (5, Interesting)

Tmack (593755) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650048)

Quality usually goes hand in hand with price. The best ones are usually the most expensive (PC Power and Cooling)....

Not always, and not what I buy. ALOT of powersupplies these days are way overpriced. They focus more on inflated power ratings on the cover and bling like LED fans and chrome gratings (who is even going to see that, the fan usualy is in the back??). A better way to determine quality is weight comparison. The ones that work better generally weigh more as they actually use real components rather than single-chip regulators. The brands I have stuck with are Sparkle and HEC, two brands that are rebranded by several other companies after inflating the price for their company's logo or the bling they add to it. 3 HEC's to replace cheapo came-with-the-case PS's, and all three are still running strong, several years longer than the ones they replaced. Best part is, they dont cost that much. Most reviews that include them (no I didnt rtfa on this one) take note of it, and they usualy wind up near or at the top, depending on how the test was done.

tm

Re:For PSUs, these days...HEC/Sparkle (2, Informative)

slaker (53818) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650231)

I'd just like to add that HEC power supplies are also surprisingly quiet and generally very reasonably priced. Sparkle PSUs are loud SOBs, but the parent here is absolutely right: Sparkle and HEC units are generally so reliable that they verge on boring. Which is very good thing to say about power supplies.

Re:For PSUs, these days...HEC/Sparkle (1)

Solder Fumes (797270) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650478)

Sparkle all the way...never tried a HEC but I'll take a Sparkle-user's word on what constitutes a good power supply. In all benchmarks I've seen, Sparkle gives what the nameplate claims, and sometimes more. Right now I have a 300W Sparkle supply running an Nforce4 motherboard, Athon 64 3200, two CD/DVD writers, two hard drives, and a Radeon x800 plus a tangle of USB devices. Should I be using a 400W or above supply? Probably, but the Sparkle is marching right along.

Re:For PSUs, these days... (1)

dusanv (256645) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650175)

The only PSU that ever died on me was the most expensive one:
Topower 420 [dansdata.com] . It was in my gaming PC to protect the expensive components. I turn that machine on once a week at best. And no, it wasn't the dust that killed it - it popped a cap and was completely dust free. I also have a no-name PSU that cost me $30 with the case that has been on since mid 2000 (Linux server) with no problems.

Re:For PSUs, these days... (2, Informative)

Eil (82413) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650190)


Where I work, our rule of thumb is that heavier power supplies are higher quality than lighter ones. While I'm sure this isn't going to be true in every single case, it makes a certain amount of sense. A manufacturer of cheap power supplies is going to try to put the least amount of material and labor into their units as possible. Quality PSU manufacturers tend to put in better components and beefier heatsinks. (Hence the fan(s) can spin slower, resulting in a quieter PSU as well.)

Amazing speculative conclusion (5, Insightful)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 9 years ago | (#13649907)

like all things in life, if you cut corners [price wise] you'll get burnt...

Though to be honest I've always gone with Antec cases [Sonata series for instance] and never once had a problem with the case or PSU [specially on things like dual-core AMD and Intel processors with multiple drives and PCI-X cards].

If you paid 30$ for your 400W supply and it doesn't work ... don't act very surprised.

Tom

Re:Amazing speculative conclusion (2, Insightful)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650055)

Round here the 'name' brand is Enermax (the cheapest brand is coolermaster, which have a habit of exploding a couple of months after you bought them, and sound like an aircraft taking off...). Never managed to get the enermax to perform as it says on the tin - I have a 550w enermax that can't drive a 6800GT for example. They consistently overrate their PSUs, cover them with gold paint and sell them as 'premium' when they're nothing of the sort.

OTOH the 'no name' PSUs seem to perform much better.. they're also cheaper to replace when they explode (about once a year seems to be average).

Re:Amazing speculative conclusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13650547)

Amazing. Quoth the befuddlement: the 'no name' PSUs seem to perform much better.. they're also cheaper to replace when they explode (about once a year seems to be average)

WTF? So you normally wait for a cheap PSU to risk taking out your entire system? Or are you one of those types who blows $1500 on go-faster hardware yet is too anal or ignorant to buy a power supply, the heart of your system, from a reputed manufacturer? Also, regarding the 6800GT + Enermax comment: What the hell do you have in there that a 550W supply won't cover? Though with nvidia making the GPU equivalent of a P4, I can almost understand your situation.

Re:Amazing speculative conclusion (1)

bjs555 (889176) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650148)

like all things in life, if you cut corners [price wise] you'll get burnt...

Not in my experience. I usually buy the least expensive components I can find and I've rarely been burned.

I've designed lots of small switchers and the (usually field effect) transistors that block and pass current through the magnetics are very sensitive to the waveform on their gates. My guess is that supplies that die have out-of-margin or overly temperature sensitive wave shaping circuits within. Some manufacturers of expensive supplies no doubt design and test to higher specs, but some just spend the extra income on marketing (not against that but it doesn't do the end user much good).

Re:Amazing speculative conclusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13650375)

If you paid 30$ for your 400W supply and it doesn't work ... don't act very surprised.

Why shouldn't I expect a product to perform as advertised? Isn't that the point of the article?

Re:Amazing speculative conclusion (2, Insightful)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650427)

You haven't lived in the free market world very long I guess.

Companies lie.

Companies sometimes lie without engineers initially knowing they're lying.

Government regulations do little to stop it.

Buyer beware.

Re:Amazing speculative conclusion (2, Insightful)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650437)

You should.

However, if it's too good to be true...

Clean input (4, Insightful)

P-Nuts (592605) | more than 9 years ago | (#13649908)

Why did the testing procedure involve powering the supplies from what looks like a serious piece of kit delivering bang on 230Vac/50Hz. Surely an important consideration in choosing a power supply is how well it copes with a dirtier mains input?

Re:Clean input (2, Insightful)

ettlz (639203) | more than 9 years ago | (#13649995)

In order to make it a fair test. There's no way this could be achieved with the crappy quality of supply sometimes found coming out of sockets all over the UK.

Re:Clean input (2, Informative)

GeekDork (194851) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650103)

Well, I can't RTFA due to some other people trying to do so, but a good test setup usually includes a "clean" primary power supply for fairness as was already suggested and then some fun add-ons to simulate controlled SNAFUs like bursts, surges and very short interruptions of up to, say, 100ms.

fsp makes great quiet PSUs (0)

rd4tech (711615) | more than 9 years ago | (#13649912)

I have a PSU from FSP, 350 W extra quite. Paid over $50CDN for it but I can't hear it at all when the computer is on.

Real Geeks (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13649928)

Build their own power supplies.

External Power Supply Macho (4, Interesting)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 9 years ago | (#13649938)


INTERNAL power supplies? Bloody hell is this really what we've come down to. If its not external and capable of re-starting a dead body then its not a power supply.

Seriously though, its a wonder to me that each device continues to insist on its own PSU, if you are running 3 servers (surely a minimum for the slashdot crowd), then 2 external supplies (main/redundant) should be all you need with a lightweight re-route internally to get the power onto the rails. This should be more efficient than multiple seperate boxes as it can level the load more evenly, and being external it can be cooled seperately as required.

Always suprised me on these new pizza box servers that I can't buy a pizza box PSU or two and save space enough in the main box for an extra CPU or two.

Re:External Power Supply Macho (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13650115)

And you wouldn't waste a ton of power converting from AC to DC to AC to DC when you are using a UPS. UPSs waste a ton of power in all these conversions. Assuming 70% effiency each time, you're getting .7*.7*.7 = 34.3% percent effiency by having internal power supplys when you have to switch over to battery power.

Re:External Power Supply Macho (2, Insightful)

interiot (50685) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650124)

Always suprised me on these new pizza box servers that I can't buy a pizza box PSU or two and save space enough in the main box for an extra CPU or two.

I think it's a basic issue of amperage and voltage drop?

You take the same wattage of power, coming in over 120v, and output it at various voltages under 12v, and your cables coming out end up being pretty large if you need to go 4+ feet. Cable size and weight varies with amps [powerstream.com] , not with volts or watts, so for the same wattage, lowering the voltage makes the cable size grow, so it's more efficient to transport electricity around at >=120 volts rather than <=12 volts.

There might be more details like the PSU not being able to respond to spikes in current draw fast enough because of characteristics of the line too, but I bet the cable size/weight is the biggest part of it.

Re:External Power Supply Macho (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13650129)

Easy enough, look to the telcom world.

Get some nice -48V atx dcdc converters for your boxes, and a couple of really nice rectifiers.

Makes battery (and generator) backup so much easier, and it's much more efficient.

Re:External Power Supply Macho (1)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650264)

if you are running 3 servers (surely a minimum for the slashdot crowd), then 2 external supplies (main/redundant) should be all you need with a lightweight re-route internally to get the power onto the rails.

I've thought about this, and it has been discussed on the beowulf mailinglist. And, in fact, APC has products that do this, but the number of computers that have direct DC inputs are few and far between. Usually, they are "telco" grade computers.

Anywho, I think it would be awesome to have one hot swappable and redundant power supply _and_ a UPS that takes 5U or so in each rack. It seems as though it would be so much more efficient, especially when involving a UPS. Think about it you have AC voltage coming into your UPS which goes from AC->DC which goes to the batteries, and then the DC->AC again to go to the computer, and then the PSU in the computer does AC->DC again to distribute it to the internals of the computer. Now multiply it by each server you have.

Any EE types out there that have any justifications for each and every gizmo that you plug into the wall having its own power supply? I would really like to get rid of all of those external AC->DC adaptors that come with smaller electronics. Those get to be a pain real quick, especially when they are fighting for real estate on a power strip.

Re:External Power Supply Macho (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650367)

i think for small electronics it is merely an issue of nobody taking the initiative to create and promode a standard low voltage DC format

Re:External Power Supply Macho (3, Funny)

Intron (870560) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650271)

Telephone systems do it right. Power supplies charge battery, 48VDC. Each unit has an efficient DC-DC converter from clean battery power down to their working voltages. No surges, no dropouts. If Bell had designed the first PC, it would be modular, run on 48V and have a cool black Bakelite case.

My external power supply/UPS (1)

linuxpyro (680927) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650418)

At home I run a Web/Mail server. It uses a 1 GHz mini-itx board which I got from a friend who planned on using it in his car. So, I got it along with the power supply that uses a 12 volt input. Rather than pick up a 120 volt PSU for it, I decided to try something new, rather than just plug it into my UPS with my router, cable modem, and other server. I looked around and found this [astrodyne.com] (sorry, the data sheet's in PDF format). It's a small DC power supply that can also charge a 12 volt battery. It can act like a UPS as well, so in the event of a power failure, it will switch my server to battery power. It's not bad; the server typically takes about 3 amps at 12 volts. So far it's been very reliable.

As for powering other electronics and replacing the wall transformers, this would be a good idea and could be easily done. Most of them take a small amount of current at about 12 volts, so all you'd really need would be a decent power supply (Astrodyne's got a lot of them), some kind of regulator circuit to keep the battery from overcharging, and wiring to all the devices. It would be a lot more efficient than each device having its own separate transformer.

In related news SUVs are better than cars (0, Offtopic)

Junks Jerzey (54586) | more than 9 years ago | (#13649946)

Yes, even though only some people need 4WD and high ground clearance, SUVs are clearly the better vehicle and we all should have them.

(Mod away!

Re:In related news SUVs are better than cars (0, Offtopic)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650149)

Moderators obviously suck today, this is called an analogy or a metaphor. This means that it is in fact on topic.

Parent was saying (sarcasm on) that even though very few people need 600W (SUVs in the analogy), they are obviously far better than 300W/400W PSUs (Efficient city cars in the analogy) and therefore we should all buy them.

This highlights the fact that you don't need a 600W PSU for your office machine, much as you don't need an SUV for city driving.

Re:In related news SUVs are better than cars (2, Insightful)

karnal (22275) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650263)

But, if you do buy a 600 watt power supply that is 10% more efficient than the 300/400 watt power supply you're not necessarily going to use all 600 watts all the time. In fact, if you put the same load on the 600 that you were going to put on a replacement 300/400 watt supply, you'd come out ahead.

So, the SUV comparison isn't exactly valid, unless the 600 watt is horribly inefficient.

Coral Cache link (5, Informative)

grimwell (141031) | more than 9 years ago | (#13649960)

Maybe try a Coral Cache url instead of linking directly to Hexis http://www.hexus.net.nyud.net:8090/content/static/ psu_roundup.html [nyud.net]

Re:Coral Cache link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13650215)

I can't even get it from Coral Cache. Let it load for 10 minutes and all I had was the header and sidebar. Tried loading it again and it finished in about 3 minutes. There are like 20 or so pages in the article, and page 2 doesn't seem to be loading any faster.

Re:Coral Cache link (1)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650230)

AFAIK, none of the coral servers talk/share cache, so for each different coral server (the whole DNAME "find a local server" bit) each needs to cache a copy of the content, so the server *does* need to be still up by that point.

Truepowe (2, Interesting)

metricmusic (766303) | more than 9 years ago | (#13649972)

ah the site is slashdotted. Anyone lucky enough to have got ther before it caught on fire could they answer this for me: did they test the Truepower 2 550? how did it go because I just put in a order for one no longer than 10 minutes ago.

Re:Truepowe (1, Redundant)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650111)

It electrocuted the installer on first boot under half the rated load.

Re:Truepower (2, Interesting)

Lost_In_Specs (843932) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650316)

Funny you should say that... On Friday I was helping a friend put together a cheap e-mail box for another friend. He'd ordered all the parts online and was using the PSU that came with the very cheap case. We plugged it in and then got a nasty surprise when we touched the metal. Luckily it wasn't pouring out every watt into the case. It was just enough to be mighty uncomfortable. I'm now a true believer in better power supplies. If the site ever comes back, I'll be reading it.

PSU, eh? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13649983)

Apparently their servers used one of the "bad" PSUs...

Dell 250W (4, Interesting)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 9 years ago | (#13649987)

I work in a computer repair shop. We use Dell 250W PSUs - they are reliable and do what they say on the box.

We had one guy buy a motherboard from us. He couldn`t get it to start up. We tested it, it was fine. He took it away, came back saying it was definately buggered because it wouldn`t even start with his mates £65 super 650W mega-PSU that makes the lights dim when you turn it on. We showed him it working with a £15 Dell, and he was sold. Tail firmly between legs that time.

Re:Dell 250W (2, Interesting)

io-waiter (745875) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650119)

Doesnt dell has a remapped pin layout that breaks the ATX specification ?

Re:Dell 250W (2, Insightful)

Minwee (522556) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650386)

Not on all of their PCs. Some, like the Dimension 4x00, 8x00 and Optiplex GX400, use real ATX power supplies. Most of their other models require a rather inexpensive adapter in order to run with a standard PSU.

Requesting BT of video (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13650051)

Does anyone have a BitTorrent of the video? Seeing the magic smoke being let out was really the only reason I was interested in the article.

Re: suggestion for next Hexus review: bandwidth (1)

halleluja (715870) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650121)

I am about to fulfill your request just after I've finished loading the article...

Now we're at it, could you have known "Captain Stitch Me Up" is possibly sexier than CowboyNeal??

Yaaawwwwnnnn. Could there be anything more boring? (-1, Troll)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650194)

Slashdot usually has interesting stories , but , oh boy , its it a short news
day or something? A story about PC power supplies?? Jeez christ , what next ,
the top 10 power cords? A quick chart rundown of the most popular blanking plates?
Cmon guys , you can do better than this!

Re:Yaaawwwwnnnn. Could there be anything more bori (4, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650325)

Jeez christ , what next , the top 10 power cords?

I'm sure the top one would be a Cisco power cord.

Back in the day when I worked in a Cisco shop/ISP I was flipping through a Cisco Router parts catalog. I came to "Power Supply Cord" under one of the sections -- it was $50!

I asked my boss what was so special about a Cisco power cord. He said, "Cisco sells it to you", and proceeded to show me how a Cisco power cord is exactly the same as a normal power cord but with a slightly heavier gauge (14AWG vs 16AWG) of wire. When I pointed out that I could buy a 50 foot long 14AWG extension cord for less then $25 he said, "Yeah, but not from Cisco."

Re:Yaaawwwwnnnn. Could there be anything more bori (2, Interesting)

ghost-maker (910160) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650559)

Next to CPU's and motherboards...your PSU is a very essential and pivotal component of your computer. And with all the new changes in format (going from ATX to ATX 2.0, the increased power demands of dual cores/sli/crossfire) I think MORE needs to be written about PSU's. Many times instability, computer issues that are blamed on everything else come down to PSU's. There are so many things that most people still don't know and isn't enough information about on these websites. Like: 1) Exactly what kind of issues derive from bad PSU's 2) Rated wattage for PSU's are usually tested at unrealistic temps (like 20 degrees celcius) when in all honesty they produce much less than that at nominal internal computer temps...why isn't there a standards body like JEDEC or the ones for displays..that will have more adequate information going to the consumers? 3) Clearer exploration of active PFC, cleaner power sources and how they effect performance. 4) Are having 2 PSU's handling load a better or worse alternative in terms of power and usage to using 1 larger more expensive one? and others. Its weird that one of the most essential parts of the computer is usually overlooked or considered trivial by people. I mean if you bought an expensive car..and it had a totally generic battery that undervolted and was of dubious quality you would go bonkers. But for a substantial moentary investment like a computer I see people do that all the time.

Tom's Hardware's PSU Strees Test, Aug. '05 (2, Informative)

PoisonousPhat (673225) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650270)

Only 19 PSUs tested, but you can still get to the site (for now).

http://www.tomshardware.com/howto/200507111/index. html [tomshardware.com]

To cut to the chase, TH recommended the Fortron FSP300-60GNF and the Seasonic S12 600.

1KW input? (1)

NoseBag (243097) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650321)

The Slashdot effect is in full force so I can't RTFA, but given the 1KW in / 400W out description, I would venture to guess that either someone didn't measure or account for power factor on the input current waveform, or the thing was significantly glowing prior to smoke-release. 40% efficiency at that power level - ahem - sucks mightily.

Obvious Joke (4, Funny)

cgenman (325138) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650338)

What power supply was the server using?

No Seasonic, Antec or PC Power & Cooling? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13650357)

That was a bad on their part, but they do have alot of the other "major" Power Supply venders. Q-Technology, Hiper and Fortron are respected brands. Antec is our company's main PSU and we have never had a problem with them. Too bad they weren't there.

Let me get this straight (1, Informative)

Psionicist (561330) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650458)


The review tested all these products in FSG Groups facility, an employee of FSG Group is said to be "sexy" in the review, and a product from FSG Group won? Yeah, right...

Important things in a PSU (2, Interesting)

hattig (47930) | more than 9 years ago | (#13650496)

1) Noise - should be as silent as possible
2) Reliable supply of power - amount of power isn't an issue because if I want low noise I'm not going to be running a processor that has a jet engine attached to it! 250W should be more than enough, but I'd prefer 150W systems or 80W systems in the long term.
3) Life expectancy. I'd like 5 years at least.
4) Ability of a single Power Supply to supply power to more than one system. Especially if it is a 450W+ beast. I imagine that this would go hand in hand with being an external power supply however.

After that come things like those fancy removable cables, and last of all comes bling. Bling matters for the outside of the case if it isn't small and sexy so you have to make up for it with bling.
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