Anyone else noticed a lot of power problems?

  Totally-braindead 12:14 05 Jan 2006

I'm just wondering if anyone else has noticed an increase in the number of postings by people which appears to be caused by power problems? I've seen 5 or 6 in the past few days including one for myself (which I hasten to add hasten to add hasn't been resolved yet as I'm waiting for my new PSU to arrive). I have to say that power is not necessarily the problem in a lot of the threads but its definatly a probable cause.

I'm wondering if a lot of this is caused by people getting a computer related present this year. With newer processors using more power, more memory, more optical drives, more people with two or more hard drives and so many getting MP3 players, hubs, cameras and other USB devices its hardly any wonder that the poor power supply is struggling.

Is there such a thing as a program which you can run which can actually tell you how much power your power supply can provide and how much power your pc is using, obviously by running and testing the components. I'm not talking about one of the power supply programs which you key in your components and it tells you what wattage power supply you need, I've seen a few of them. I'm looking for a program which will stress test the components to see input and output of the power supply unit. Anyone seen something like this, does it exist? And if not anyone out there have the skill, time and wish to create it. I think it would be a good troubleshooting program to have to at least eliminate the power issue from a problem if nothing else.

I'm due my new power supply today and fingers crossed it will solve my little niggles with my PC.

  rmcqua 13:05 05 Jan 2006

There are so may variables in the power consumption of PCs that any kind of simulation to calculate the power consumed by a particular m/b + chipset + cpu + graphics adapter + all the other bits would, I think, be very difficult.
As for the power that a psu can provide, the true test of this is really a hardware based test - load the PSU up to its rated capacity on each voltage supply rail and see how the voltage regulation, ripple, noise etc. suffers (or not). This is really a lab based exercise needing variable loads and decent measuring equipment, and not the kind of thing that the average computer user could simulate easily.
Some of the lower end of the market/less well known PSU manufacturers can be over optimistic in declaring the max. rated output of their supplies. If in doubt, choose a well known brand name and err on the high side for power rating.
In my spare time I fix/update PCs for friends and work colleagues and I have noticed that some of the PSUs in systems over a couple of years old seem to be very much rated on the low side and any upgrade to a better m/b + cpu usually necessitates A psu upgrade as well.

  Chegs ®™ 14:27 05 Jan 2006

There was a puter mag recently that reviewed a range of PSU's by taking a selection to a lab and rigging up the sort of test descibed by rmcqua,the results were astonishing,as one PSU literally blew up,the others were often unable to produce the specified outputs on all the rails.There was only one(Tagan I think)that was within quoted specs even at 100% load for a half hour.I was only loaned the mag,but I'm due to see the mags owner later today so I will ask for his opinion,as he has purchased the recommended PSU for another mates system.

  Chegs ®™ 16:46 05 Jan 2006

Twas a Tagan TG480U PSU that was the recommended device,and the mag was Custom PC which might have the review available to read on their website.

  Chegs ®™ 16:50 05 Jan 2006

Only just been to click here and looked in the PSU reviews section and got "We are sorry but have been unable to find any products that match your search request. Please modify your request and try again." despite the article being under 6mths ago. :-(

  Totally-braindead 21:25 05 Jan 2006

Well I've just bought a Tagan 480w power supply in the hope it would cure my USB problem, it didn't but its not a waste as I really wanted a quality supply anyway and this certainly if that.

  wiz-king 22:30 05 Jan 2006

It is probably the same advertising agency that wrote the power supply specs as wrote the adverts for the 100w transistor radios a few years ago. They use 'music power' measurements. I am not sure whether the power supply wattage is input, output on one rail or total output on all rails, the specs don't usually say. However the best solution would be to get the one that will take your computers maximum load plus 25% and from a purist point of view load all unused outputs with a resistor that takes a current of a few milliamps - this will make sure the regulators have work to do.

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