PSU for Core i7 system

  Peter Lanky 10:51 27 Feb 2010

I have been asking a few related questions previously, so for anyone noticing my other posts, I am just juggling with computers.

My new PC, not arrived yet, is a Dell Vostro 430 with the following spec:
Core-i7 860, 4GB 1333Mhz RAM, HD4350, 500GB Drive to which I will add another 500GB and a 1TB drive.

I believe the PSU is only 350W, though I only surmise this from reading other posts, and it has been suggested to me that this is too low. I'm not speculating as to why the PSU is only 350W when a few £££ extra could have provided a more substantial PSU, but they don't mention such things in the spec. which seems to be the norm for the big suppliers. Anyway, I'm seeking the opinion of others here.

In it's lifetime the PC is unlikely to have more than 3 hard drives, though they may be swapped for larger ones when I run out of space and 2TB drives become entry level. I'm sure the GPU will be upgraded in the future, but current advice suggests I keep the HD4350 for now, and again in the future the RAM is likely to be upgraded to 8GB. I am not likely to over-clock or start using fancy cooling, so if it really is advisable to upgrade the PSU, then what rating should I bee looking for?

My knowledge of PSUs is nil, so I've no idea what a £100 one will do that a £50 one won't. Are they all the same size for instance, so I don't end up buying something that doesn't fit? If the 350W is considered borderline inadequate, but should still do the job, what are the consequences of continuing with it?

  sunnystaines 11:43 27 Feb 2010

i use 700w in core i7

  GaT7 13:57 27 Feb 2010

Dell PSUs are absolutely fine for the specs they come with, & then some. This is because they under-rate their PSUs - i.e. their actual peak rating is closer to 450-500W.

The only time you need to be concerned is if you did any overclocking (which is difficult anyway with their 'locked' BIOSes), or installed a GPU that required the extra power connector.

So you can safely install any GPU that won't require a dedicated 6-pin PCI-E power connector from the PSU. These include a HD4670 / GT240 / HD5670.

Btw, I've heard of people running the older, power-hungry 8800GT cards on their 300W Dell PSUs - yes, 300W. 8800GTs required a single 6-pin PCI-E connector & they supplied power to them via SATA to molex, then molex to PCI-E adapters - as those PSUs came with SATA power cables only, & I think still do. G

  Peter Lanky 14:16 27 Feb 2010

What advantage is it to Dell to claim the PSU is 350W (according to info researched) if they are much higher in reality?

I've read about these locked bios's. What advantage to the supplier is there in doing this?

  retep888 14:36 27 Feb 2010

If you're juggling with computers then you shouldn't have bought from Dell particularly from their business model sections.

<<What advantage is it to Dell to claim the PSU is 350W (according to info researched) if they are much higher in reality?>>

As Crossbow7 said their actual peak rating is closer to 450-500W. Dell can guarantee this PSU supplies 350W at all time but upto 450-500W if required for a short while.

<<I've read about these locked bios's. What advantage to the supplier is there in doing this?>>

Obvious the supplier want to guarantee stability of their systems over unreliable overclocked performance.

  retep888 14:42 27 Feb 2010

If you look at the specs and dimensions click here
does the PSU look standard?

Because Dell always have their own made to measure hardwares and I doubt if you can put in a big GX card in there without modding or changing the case.

  GaT7 14:55 27 Feb 2010

Well, retep888 has answered your questions well.

PSUs are standard on Dell's mainstream desktops these days. The only concern will come if the replacement PSU is a non-standard size: some high-end ones are longer & taller.

If it's a NON-slim type case, then most standard graphics cards 9" or shorter will fit - measure the space available just to be sure. But, as it probably has a mATX motherboard in a mATX-sized case, single-slot GPUs will be the ones to go for - i.e. avoid the ones with large coolers, unless you've got your measurements right & know it will fit OK alongside the other expansion cards you may have. G

  Peter Lanky 15:28 27 Feb 2010

Thanks once more for the useful info.

I've just noticed also that the system claims to only take 2 x 1TB drives. It's not the end of the world as I can easily keep a couple of spare drives in another PC. They are only for storage anyway. Is the 1TB limit likely to be correct, or is is realistic that Dell just says this because 1TB would seem to be very large to the average business user? It would seem a strange limit on a new PC with 1.5TB drives being very affordable now, and no doubt 2TB ones will be by the end of the year.

  T0SH 16:42 27 Feb 2010

If you do have problems with overloading of the built in power supply and you have a spare 5.25 CD/DVD bay available, you can fit an auxilliary power supply like the one below to run your graphics card

click here

This was the solution I used when adding a Radeon HD 4870 X2 to a Dell Core i7 system for my son

the only downside is that you end up having two power leads on the PC but a 3 way 13 amp plug adaptor solves that problem

Cheers HC

  Peter Lanky 16:55 27 Feb 2010

I will have a spare drive bay, but possibly my need the space to add a hard drive (if I can). I think I'll just have to wait till it arrives and look at what what potential there is. I'll have to open it up whatever to add at least one hard drive, though I hope I can add 2 more depending on further advice given.

  GaT7 18:09 27 Feb 2010

For a 3rd drive, you could always get an external enclosure like one of these click here (3.5" SATA ones).

And if you find an optical 5.25" bay going free you could get an internal caddy like click here. Or, for a simpler & much cheaper solution, a bay converter like click here. G

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