power supply problem

Posted on 2004-08-28
Last Modified: 2010-04-26
My rig
Gigabyte 8knxp rev. 2 motherboard
Intel Pentium 3.2 512k cache
2 x 512 Corsair XMS memory
ATI Radeon X800 Pro
SoundBlaster Audigy 2
2 x 36.7 gig 10k SATA Raptors raid 0
1 x 160 gig SATA
Aspire 510watt power supply
Liquid Cooled CPU & Video
Windows XP Pro

when i run aquamark 03 i get good benchmarks (57,278 i think) but i ran motherboard monitor cause i was worried about my psu and my +12 got down to 11.49 actually that was the peak. the 3.3 stays right at 3.3. is that a big problem? otherwise would i be getting better bechmarks? i have ran the machine playing Far Cry for 10 hours and did not seem unstable at any point?
Question by:shadow66142000
LVL 69

Accepted Solution

Callandor earned 100 total points
ID: 11921845
A better power supply won't improve your benchmarks in video, but it will make your system more stable when you push it.  All your 12v peripherals, like drives, benefit from a steady, regulated, power supply.  Aspire is not a well known brand in that category.

Assisted Solution

chuckatosc earned 100 total points
ID: 11921948
Analog components won't always function exactly at specs.  If your system isn't unstable after playing games for 10 hours there's nothing wrong with your power supply.

Assisted Solution

derenm earned 100 total points
ID: 11927426
It is ok for your 12volt rail to fluctuate like that.  There are many components that are constantly drawing different ammounts of power at different times.  Even with your CPU, there will be a minimal ammount of fluctuation in power, however to much can result in a hang.

Do not expect to get better benchmarks with more power, unless you are tinkering in the overclocking world.  Even then, that is isolated to your memory and CPU and NEVER the components that are dependant on the 12v rail.  I personally do extreme overclocking and need massive cooling solutions to help compensate for the increase in power that I deliver to my board, CPU and memory.

Try this experiment.  Keep MBM up and running the whole time while you do this so you can see how your 12v rail fluctuates.

1. Start a defrag on your HDD(s), and take note of the 12v...
2. Insert a CD, taking note of when the CDrom starts to spin-up.  This is the greatest power draw that can happen, and it should flatten out when the CDrom reaches speed.

This is a -small- stress test for you... Help ya understand at all?  Granted there are alot more variables involved, and we are only playing with two of them...

LVL 16

Assisted Solution

OliWarner earned 100 total points
ID: 11927812
As you're using such expensive equipment you should probably get a power supply to match...

Antec TruePower is the model you want but i'll warn you - my 550W one cost £90 - but it does have fantastically accurate voltages all the time... and will keep your components much happier...
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Assisted Solution

alivingstone earned 100 total points
ID: 11928331
Most hardware is designed to accept a 5% deviation, so if your +12V line drops to anywhere near 11.5 you are definitely in the danger zone.

To help put this is perspective for you my 12V rail never falls below 11.94. If this was my computer I would swap the aspire for the Antec or Enermax 550W

A final word of caution: When power supplies blow they usually take a few other components with them.

Expert Comment

ID: 11940734
I dont know which comment you'll accept :))
especially that 500 points is too much ...

Anyway, as they're all saying:
Nothing is wrong with 11.5v

Expert Comment

ID: 11957841
The bottom line is that 11.5 is low.  Anyone who tells you any different is either lying to you, or doesn't know what they are talking about.

11.6-11.5 is the point where if the voltage drops any lower you will start experiencing stability issues because you are passing out of the 5% deviation that most hardware is designed to accept.

If the rig is prime-stable (Run prime95 for 24 hours straight), and if you aren't getting any crashes to desktop, or restarts during high load situations like gaming or benchmarking, then your PSU is stable enough to power your devices.

But if it isn't and you start seeing random crashes and instability, then re-examine your voltages, and consider investing in a quality PSU (ie: Enermax or Antec 550W or greater)
LVL 16

Expert Comment

ID: 11958320
11.5 isnt too bad...

I built a AMD64 today with dual 10k HDs - a real power whore - on a 550W cheapo PSU and its not having any problems... its been looping round a burn-in tester we run and it hasnt had a single crash and its been going for 13 hours now... with the 12V @ 11.42V

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