Need advice on PSU - which is the best?


Yesterday, for the SECOND time in just 15 months, an Enermax (!) PSU went up in smoke. Luckily this time the rest of the computer stayed healthy.

Now i need a new PSU again and, frankly, i don’t trust in Enermax anymore. According to their own calculator, my computer should draw no more than 355 watts, so how come that a 450 watts Enermax “just so” burns out? It was connected to a UPS and died while i turned on the computer, there was no surge or anything. See attached picture.

It is still under warranty, but that process can take several weeks here and i need a new PSU.

So which one should i buy? I want one with 500 watts this time, and it has to LAST LONG and be stable.

Oh, and no “active PFC” or what that’s called because i don’t want to waste additional money for buying yet another UPS too.

Thanks in advance for any advice :slight_smile:

Best regards…


When it comes to power supplies the wattage ratings on the lower quality units are about worthless. I recommend this one from Antec: Right now it is on sale for $29.99 with free shipping. It is an 80+ Certified power supply so it saves energy over cheaper units. I have this power supply in an Antec case and it is working just fine running an AMD X2 (2.8 ghz), ATI video card, three hard drives, DVD burner, four sticks of RAM, an add-on PCI card and a couple of USB devices. It is conservatively rated at 380 watts. Also, the price can’t be beat right now. Getting this power supply shipped to your door for $29.99 is a very good deal.

Hello :slight_smile:

Thank you for your reply. However the problem is that i am NOT living in the U.S.A. but in Thailand, and nobody will ship anything here at all - i just recently found out, trying to obtain something so obscure like a freakin’ motorcycle rain suit large enough for a 6ft3in person. No way. Nobody ships to Thailand, and nobody on E-Bay either.

I heard good things about Antec, i am sure they are available here, however 380 watts aren’t gonna do it. The one that just burned out was a 450 watts, i guess at cold boot my system just pulls way too much. (Both Enermax that burned out, actually the first one blew up, did so upon cold boot).

I don’t mind spending 100-150 us$ on a PSU as long as it is going to stay with me for a few years instead of months, and doesn’t fry my other hardware if it decides to blow (like the first Enermax that took the MoBo and graphics card with it).

Thing is, here in Thailand, things imported from the U.S.A. likely cost about twice as much as there, due to the import duties, even if they are “grey” imports. Very few exceptions! For example my Arctic Freezer Pro 64 cost just twice it’s U.S. price here. Also my last Enermax, costing roughly 50 U.S. $ in the States, is roughly 80 U.S. $ here, despite it being “Made In China”! And software even worse - we still pay 200 U.S. $ for genuine XP pro and over 500 U.S. $ for genuine Vista Ultimate. No wonder piracy is rampant here - well, i’m on Linux now :slight_smile:

With best regards…


For power supplies, you can’t just go by wattage. You have to actually look up reviews, because some manufacturers use the PEAK wattage figure as the marketed wattage.

As an example, your Enermax may have been able to do 500W peak–which could have just been for a microsecond, but it may not have been able to do less than 380W for an extended period without blowing up.

Also, some manufacturers have PSUs running in very “cool” conditions when testing the PSU designs. And at a lower temperature, all the components will be more stable and last longer. When reaching an actual computer case, however, the temperatures suddenly rise, and now that power supply rated at 500W can only do half of that without overheating and/or dying.

Furthermore, more trusted brands, like Antec, generally use quality OEMs, like Seasonic, Fortron Sparkle, and others, that have higher quality components. Many times in reviews, these higher quality power supplies can actually run GREATER loads than they are rated, and do so while still remaining efficient and do so WITHOUT dying; the power supplies may have even been conservatively rated.

So do NOT take the rating at face value. Instead, do research on how the supply actually performs against the competition, and how it performs in real life. You will be really surprised at how some big 600W power supplies are outperformed by power supplies that are “only” 450W, or so.

Also, I suggest you don’t just ignore power supplies with active PFC, as these may be the better supplies for efficiency, and you may actually want this. PSUs with active PFC prove themselves time and time again as being quite capable for providing stable power output to components, and are often the better PSUs available, anyway, from what I’ve seen. :iagree:

Thanh-BKK, see if you can find Seasonic PSU’s, they are the best, quiet, efficient, reliable.

Thanks Albert. You saved me a lot of typing.


The Antec power supply I referenced has plenty of power to run your setup. As Albert stated, what is printed on the outside of a non-reputable brand power supply many times means nothing in terms its actual performance. Also, you might want to invest in an uninterruptible power supply or a very good surge protector if you don’t have one.

I highly recommend dual-rail PSUs that can deliver rated load on both 12v rails. I have an Antec 600w here running 4 burners and 6 HDDs.

Hello :slight_smile:

Thanks again for all the replies. But something got me puzzled now. I have been recommended to “read reviews”.

Well i haven’t done much else since yesterday, and the mor i read the more i get confused… because:

“Enermax” seems to win every available award, every competition, and every review.

In particular, the stand out as being able to supply higher wattage than written on the label, being 100% stable at 100% load etc etc etc.

Now i wonder why TWO of them die on me in such a short time… or was that just bad luck??

Noise is of no importance to me, i have lost two HDD’s due to overheating before (remember i live in a tropical country, Thailand, where the ambient temperature rarely, if at all, drops below 30 degrees Celsius) and ever since i have my computer outfitted with fans, fans and more fans.

This is why i want a PSU that can supply much more power than needed - as it will stay cooler when less power is used than, say, a 400 watt one that has to bring these 400 watts all the time.

About the “active PFC”, it requires that i have a UPS with “true sine” output. Now, has anyone of you a clue how much cost one of those babies here? A hint: A new computer twice a year is cheaper. That’s why i don’t want that “featuire” as it would render my existing UPS (a Leonics) useless.

With best regards…


I don’t think whatever problem you have is due to excessive loading of the power supply. You system from what I read in the kink just doesn’t require that much power. It might be related to power surges from the electrical grid there. Maybe a new UPS is needed too. How many, and what size, fans are you running in the case?

Firstly, nowadays you will have poor Q&A with just about any company/brand you go with, and there is always a rate of failure, so expect answers like this is the best or that is the best, and surely, someone else will have a personal experience with it which is negative within their past.

Enermax is actually not a bad name… anyhow, my personal favorite 3 are as follows in order of most preferred being #1:

  1. Antec
  2. Thermaltake
  3. Enermax

Good call eric03se, I also use Seasonic PSUs, I currently have the 600W S12 and I love it, if there is one part of my computer I would not take any chances with its the PSU, for me Seasonic makes the best.:iagree:

[QUOTE=eric93se;2062531]Thanh-BKK, see if you can find Seasonic PSU’s, they are the best, quiet, efficient, reliable.[/QUOTE]oh yeah :iagree: My Seasonic M12 modular 700w is running my new build just fine. 10 ODD’s and 3 HDD’s plus all the other stuff i have hooked up. Click my build link in my sig for my parts list.

Thanh-BKK, since your ambient temperature is very high you might want to even get a 600w psu.

I don’t think you have to worry about the active PFC and non-sin wave backup systems, lots of people are doing that since they too cannot afford a true sin wave supply. I’ve been using that type of setup for a long time now and have no problems. If you briefly loose power it should be fine, but with any system I would not let it run on the backup system for any period of time. I set mine to shutdown within 1 minute of loosing power.

Do you know what the surge supression voltage is on your backup system, some of them are on the high side, and it might be worth it to add a power strip with a lower supression voltage, like one made by tripp lite, since they have a 150V peak suppression. I guess that voltage also depends on what voltage your country uses.

I’d have a look at Corsair HX 520W (it’s made by Seasonic) or Seasonic S12-II 500W if you want to save around 14$ bucks (no modular cables and 20W less power).

Another one to consider is Coolermaster.


Good morning :slight_smile:

Thanks again for all the replies, i highly appreciate it. The reason why i asked HERE for advice is BECAUSE people here build machines with a large number of drives in them and otherwise quite powerful… my machine isn’t all that powerful, but it has to be very reliable, i don’t OC much (1,800 instead of 1,600, i think Ubuntu would FLY on that thing even at stock speed) and i play no games apart from Extreme Tux Racer…

So tomorrow i’ll go shopping for a PSU, i will consider, in that order:

  1. Seasonic
  2. Antec
  3. Thermaltake
  4. Cooler Master
  5. Enermax

With 600 watts rating. I guess any of these, if they say “600 watts”, that’s 600 watts permanent, not “P.M.P.O.” as they are all reliable brands (unlike the cheapo i run now which “has 500 watts”, yes sure, it came in a 20 U.S. $ case…)

About the “Active PFC” again, i have read on Enermax’ website that, at least THEIR, active PFC PSU’s do absolutely REQUIRE a “true sine” UPS. And as i HAVE the experience of an Enermax (the exact one that now went up in smoke) not working with TWO UPS’s already, and the Leonics wasn’t exactly the cheapest either, i just don’t want to risk buying an expensive PSU only to come home and find it won’t work with this UPS - as in Thailand there is no such thing as “money back warranty”, as long as the unit itself isn’t faulty, i won’t get nothing but a smile and a “sorry sir, you’re screwed” type of comment. So finding a combination of UPS and PSU that work together can yield me a collection of several of each, all fully paid, and collecting dust until i find someone who will buy them off me - “second hand”, yeah, used for like a minute each. At an income of below 400 U.S. $ per month i can hardly afford that.

Best regards…


Hello :slight_smile:

Here i am again. As i already predicted to myself (this is Thailand after all) “Antec” - not available, “Seasonic” - never heard of.

Ended up buying a Thermaltake “Toughpower w0163” 650 watts modular. Costs an arm and a leg here… 4,500 Baht, a bit over 145 us$ converted. Also brought my Enermax to the service point and they said they “will inform me withing 2 weeks if my claim is accepted”. I sure hope so!!

Now a question regarding the Thermaltake. It has a very large fan (140 mm) but so far i notice that my CPU is running hotter than with the Enermax or the cheapo (actually with the cheapo, that also has a single fan just like this Thermaltake, but 120 mm, it ran cooler than with the Enermax!) and i wonder about that.

CPU temperature with Enermax, idle: 40, load: 42
CPU temperature with cheapo (“DeLux”), idle: 38, load: 40
CPU temperature with Thermaltake, idle: 42, load: 44

All temperatures in degrees Celsius, ambient temperature urrently 33 degrees Celsius (Thailand!)

Still i’m curious why wit the Thermaltake it’s hotter. On the package it says “Cool all your life”. Well… seems the cheapo cools better :slight_smile: CPU cooler is an Arctic Freezer Pro 64, by the way.

Oh, and the Thermaltake, despite having “Active PFC”, works just fine with my Leonics UPS - already tested by turning the power panel off (main power for the room), the computer kept going fine :slight_smile:

I hope i bought a good PSU here… expensive enough it certainly was.

Best regards…


It looks lilke a good PSU. The reason that you cpu is a bit hotter is because the new PSU is more efficient and generates less heat, so its own fan will spin slower, hence cooling the rest of your PC less.

You might want to upgrade your case fan to a higher CFM unit, or enlarge the hole to fit a 120mm fan.

Hi :slight_smile:

Thanks for that :slight_smile: I appreciate it. Another thing i notoced that i can NOT, for life of it, HEAR anything from the PSU! It’s blowing air out the rear, so the fan does in fact run, but i can’t hear it. My computer has never been silent like this :slight_smile:

As to the fans, i got a bunch of them

A large one (150 mm) in the front, basically to cool the HDD’s which are mounted right behind that fan. It blows air into the case.

A smaller one (100 mm? Or 80? Not sure) in the rear, just below the PSU. It blows air out of the case.

One more of the same size on the left side panel, around the CPU area, it, too, blows air OUT (i always thought such side fans should blow air INTO the case to cool the CPU??)

I also used to have a unit with three small and loud fans in the front, it did blow air into the case to cool the HDD which was then mounted behind it. However as i moved the HDD down i also took those fans out as i always had problems with them (noise, and always one or the other refusing to spin fast enough to be effective, even a brand new set did that! Cheap crap).

Now, should i reverse that side fan to make it blow air into the case instead of out? Or will that interfer with the CPU cooler (the Arctic, it blows air from front to rear, NOT from the top as the stock cooler!)

Oh, and before you suggest it - i can NOT keep the case open, it will take a couple of days and the machine will have an ant nest inside. Been there, done that, and having a computer full of ants sucks, big time.

With kind regards…


Another possible reason for the increase in CPU temperature is the new power supply is proving the correct voltage to the CPU where the old one may have been providing slightly less voltage than the specifications call for. If it becomes an issue you might be able to go into the BIOS and reduce the CPU voltage some. Many time a given CPU can run stable with less voltage than is specified by the manufacturer.