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Should I upgrade the power supplies on new Dells I buy?

I buy a lot of inexpensive Dells for customers who just want the basics, word processing, Internet, etc.   At one point Dell systems were underpowered and this led to problems.  In fact Im seeing a lot of dimension 4600s with dead motherboards these days. I think its because the power supplies are going and taking the motherboard with it.

I dont know if Dell still has this problem, especially since they're sata systems now.  But Ive been throwing new 400 watt Dynex DX-400WPS power supplies into Dells I buy.  I got a mess of them at a liquidator auction.  Also I've put in some Ultra 400-500 Watt V and X-Finity power supplies that I got in past years.
 
"I want to do right by my customers, but now I'm having second thoughts.  First I'm wondering what happens if the computers have problems. Will Dell honor the warranties if they open them up and see these non-Dell power supplies?  Im also wondering, especially about the Dynex, why so many of them are showing up on the market these days.  Theyre returns, mostly unopened.  

Also, in one auction I got two Rocketfish 700watt RF-700WPS power supplies.  My own workhorse computer is a monster two year old  Dell XPS Gen4. I'm thinking of throwing in one of these Rocketfish power supplies.  Would this be a wise thing to do?

What I want most from a computer, both for myself and my customers, is reliability.   But more than once I've added that extra thing for a customer and it ended up creating problems. My inclination is to do anything for a customer that adds value and increases the chance their computer will last.  But another part of me says, "If it aint broke don't fix it". 

Any opinions?
Thanks,
Al

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alanlsilverman
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alanlsilverman
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3 Solutions
 
mmcodefiveCommented:
Problem with the Dimension 4600 is not the power supply. The problem is the capicators on the motherboard go bad. You can tell if it is bad because the capicators will be fat on top or be leaking fluid. Dell will replace the motherboard if it has this problem on Optiplexes but for Dimensions they wont. I saw one 4600 yesterday that had this problem. Though I would mention it to you.
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PUNKYCommented:
You can always calculate power supply:

http://www.extreme.outervision.com/psucalculator.jsp

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chuckyhCommented:
Dell will not honor their warranty if then open up a pc and it's got a different power supply in it.

I don't know where you are getting your information from but it's completely incorrect. Dells do not come with underpowered power supplies. They are labeled well under their true capacity, don't pay attention to the 250W  sticker on the side.
A few Dell models including  Optiplex GX270 and GX280 in that time frame all suffer from a batch of bad capacitors(as mmcodefive mentioned) http://www.news.com/PCs-plagued-by-bad-capacitors/2100-1041_3-5942647.html Some people have reported the same problem on Dimension 4600's

There's no reason to throw in any aftermarket power supply into a Dell unless you have running 5 hard drives and multiple video cards. Even then I would only use power supplies from http://www.pcpower.com/products/power_supplies/dell/ I have a 400SC with the stock power supply as that 4600, running 4 HDs, an ATI x850xt, and a DVD burner with no problems, this is going on 4+ years.  

I would go with if it ain't broke don't fix it, especially when it's pre-built computers by a large company. You are not adding any value by adding in an aftermarket power supply from a no name company. Good luck!
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alanlsilvermanAuthor Commented:
It might have been in this question that I read it:
10.24.2007 at 08:28AM EDT, ID: 22914346
      
sparkmaker:
Dell is known for using underpowered PSU's. If you have added on any extra drives or power consuming components to this computer since its purchase, its likely the PSU is wearing out.
One of the issues with Badcaps can also be an overheating symptom due to the wrong voltage being applied to the CPU,  capacitors work in conjunction with the voltage regulators on the motherboard to provide a steady voltage to the components such as the CPU. When irregulerties occur in these voltages, the result are the symptoms you are seeing.
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alanlsilvermanAuthor Commented:
Also, will Dell also not honor the warranty if I put in another fan to cool the tower, or a new hard drive?  
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alanlsilvermanAuthor Commented:
There's also this CNET forum that talks about problems with the 4600 power supply:
http://forums.cnet.com/5208-7813_102-0.html?forumID=68&threadID=131500&messageID=1486693

So power supplies are like memory used to be, incredibly idiosyncratic and if you use the wrong one it can screw up everything.  Ah well,
Al
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alanlsilvermanAuthor Commented:
By the way, I will definitely stop doing this sort of thing.  Problem is you don't know who to believe.  Here's something I found in another search:
Propriatary
by tuxmaster - 12/30/06 11:15 PM
In reply to: Picture shows it has the stock ATX and ATX12V connections. by R. Proffitt Moderator

T

Oh and last time I checked Dell did not use propriety parts they use standard parts. In regards to Gateway I believe they are also the same. I am not so sure with them though. In regards to power supplies a power supply is a power supply. It just needs to fit your case and be ment for your motherboard (AT ATX BTX NLX). If it fits your case and it gives adequate power to the motherboard and it is a Known Good power supply then most likely it is not the power supply. Given that you bought your motherboard of EBAY I would say it is a bad motherboard most likely not a bad power supply.

Proprietary parts have more to do with memory and Cards because the motherboard is the thing that checks to see if it is from the same company and if they are not it will not work.
And if the motherboard is not getting power then It cannot.

And to dispel a rumor you do not have to get a special power supply to fit dells. The problem they probably had is that they needed to get a special power supply to fit there small form factor case or a power supply to fit there case.

Be careful what you hear about computers in the computer industry in regards to the negatives about computer companies and information in general in regards to computers there is a lot off mis-information out there especially when it comes to being company specific when they should really be model specific. You can not categorize an entire company based upon one model which is what a lot of people do. With things like that they are all opinions.
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alanlsilvermanAuthor Commented:
Is there any way to get a hold of sparkmaker (see above) to see what he has to say about this?
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PUNKYCommented:
If you use calculate power supply tool, you will see how much power you need for a current system with all hardware counted. Dell will sell to you system with PSU that meeting with all hardware current setup on system, no more no less. And then, when you like to upgrade and add more hardware device, then the PSU will be underpower (that is what Sparkmaker pointed to).

There is no option to upgrade PSU at the time you place order with Dell.

I have many Dell on production here, and I always put on new PSU which has more watts to support needs. And I never have issue with warranty! Dell support always perform trouble shoot on phone first before coming in person, and when they come they replace failed motherboard or else. If you see you need to upgrade PSU for your customers, then it would be more easy if you place a call and talk to Dell support, they are more than happy to help you.
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chuckyhCommented:
Punky: I think you are just wasting money putting after market PSU in Dells. I've never heard of that before, what kind of PSU are you putting in Poweredge servers?  What extra hardware are you adding to these Dell systems?
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PUNKYCommented:
No, I dont put PSU in Dell PE, on other workstations.
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alanlsilvermanAuthor Commented:
Speaking of servers, did you see this Dell sale, $249 for an SC440.
http://www.dell.com/content/products/features.aspx/featured_server?c=us&cs=04&l=en&s=bsd

I'm getting a couple, putting in operating systems and turning them into desktops.
Al
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alanlsilvermanAuthor Commented:
Thanks to all.  I won't be putting any more aftermarket power supplies in Dells any more.  MMCODE5, if you see this and don't mind, I have a question.  Were these  capacitors defective from the beginning? If so, would it be possible to put on a new one and without too much effort fix these dimensions?
Thanks again,
Al
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mmcodefiveCommented:
Yep they were defective from the start and there are people that replace them - soder on new ones.
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PUNKYCommented:
You can replace bad caps by hand-soldering and if you could have correct parts for replacement. But all of work should be done in ESD (Electro-Static Discharge) environment.
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alanlsilvermanAuthor Commented:
Thanks much.
Al
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PUNKYCommented:
You are very welcome!
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