Another "How big of PSU do I need" thread...

AgSilver

Member
Nov 4, 2005
31
0
0
Hey guys, great forum, first post here.

I'm trying to find out how big of a power supply I need. I've been told that my current PSU may be why my computer randomly reboots at the most inopportune times.

I have:

P4 2.53
Intel 845 something or other mobo
1GB RAM
6 hard drives (27, 40, 80, 80, 160, 250)
2 optical drives
XFX GeForce 5900 Ultra
A few other cards and goodies

I believe that right now I have something like an Enermax 400W. This is, presumably, not enough. What size would you recommend?

I think I need better (read: any) cooling, as well. But that's another story.
 

bob4432

Lifer
Sep 6, 2003
11,694
28
91
Originally posted by: AgSilver
Hey guys, great forum, first post here.

I'm trying to find out how big of a power supply I need. I've been told that my current PSU may be why my computer randomly reboots at the most inopportune times.

I have:

P4 2.53
Intel 845 something or other mobo
1GB RAM
6 hard drives (27, 40, 80, 80, 160, 250)
2 optical drives
XFX GeForce 5900 Ultra
A few other cards and goodies

I believe that right now I have something like an Enermax 400W. This is, presumably, not enough. What size would you recommend?

I think I need better (read: any) cooling, as well. But that's another story.

when exactly is the machine rebooting?

you definately need cooling. enermax makes goos psus and i would think you are right on the edge. i might think it has to do with cooling considering you do have an enermax. if you had some piece of sh!t psu i would say that is it along with cooling, but you definately need to get the cooling under control. can you take off the side of the machin and see if the random reboots stop?

also, why all the hdds? can't you combine some of the smaller ones?

welcome to the forums :)
 

ribbon13

Diamond Member
Feb 1, 2005
9,343
0
0
If you want something that may help with your cooling situation, get something with 120mm fan. Like a Seasonic S12-500 or S12-600

I ask why all the HDDs as well. Why not buy another 200GB, and put the '27, 40, 80, 80' on it. What kind of case do you have?
 

AgSilver

Member
Nov 4, 2005
31
0
0
Hi Bob, thanks for the quick reply.

The machine reboots...whenever. It used to always do it when I right clicked on a file, then I reinstalled, and now it just does it randomly, or so it seems. I haven't been able to determine any pattern. It'll do it when the system's not even being used. It's not uncommon for me to wakeup to the logon screen.

The biggest reason for all of the hdd's is that they've accumulated over time - whenever I need more space, just get another hard drive! But I rarely get rid of old ones. Plus, it gives nice separation for the data - music, movies, tv shows, all on different drives. I know that I could probably turf three of them for one big one, but that would cost more money. Then again, so will a new PSU. Ah, the starving student life.

The one side has been off forever. Maybe I'll take the other side off for awhile. I'm sure airflow is a part of it - all of those ribbon cables prevent airflow for sure, and I don't actually have ANY case fans, but don't have the side on either, so didn't figure it mattered too much. I'm probably wrong. My brother was telling me the other day that he heard that your system will actually stay cooler with the sides on and proper fans than it will with the sides off. Something to do with still air, I guess.
 

AgSilver

Member
Nov 4, 2005
31
0
0
ribbon, because that would be 227 gb lol! :)

no, but mostly it's just because I'm cheap and like to have stuff on separate drives in case I lose one (my bro just lost 80 gigs of music)
 

bob4432

Lifer
Sep 6, 2003
11,694
28
91
Originally posted by: AgSilver
Hi Bob, thanks for the quick reply.

The machine reboots...whenever. It used to always do it when I right clicked on a file, then I reinstalled, and now it just does it randomly, or so it seems. I haven't been able to determine any pattern. It'll do it when the system's not even being used. It's not uncommon for me to wakeup to the logon screen.

The biggest reason for all of the hdd's is that they've accumulated over time - whenever I need more space, just get another hard drive! But I rarely get rid of old ones. Plus, it gives nice separation for the data - music, movies, tv shows, all on different drives. I know that I could probably turf three of them for one big one, but that would cost more money. Then again, so will a new PSU. Ah, the starving student life.

The one side has been off forever. Maybe I'll take the other side off for awhile. I'm sure airflow is a part of it - all of those ribbon cables prevent airflow for sure, and I don't actually have ANY case fans, but don't have the side on either, so didn't figure it mattered too much. I'm probably wrong. My brother was telling me the other day that he heard that your system will actually stay cooler with the sides on and proper fans than it will with the sides off. Something to do with still air, I guess.

everything is probably getting too hot. my case has 7 80mm fans and it stays within 1-2C when i have the side off and on. you definately need to get some air moving, you are putting everything at risk including the hdds, m/b, psu, everything. maybe leave off the sides and put a cheap small desk fan blowing in and see if that helps. if it does you know it is a cooling issue. also, you may want to check you m/b and see if you have any ooozing/leaking cpacitors (that are around the cpu socket), they are easy to see, a normal capacitor has a tin looking top, but the ooozing ones have a type of redish/rust color discharge. your symptoms also could be related to the cap issue and heat can cause a cap problem also.
 

w00t

Diamond Member
Nov 5, 2004
5,545
0
0
Ok, if i were you i would try to save some power unplug all drives except for main disconnect optical drives this will tell you if there is a problem with your psu. get back to me after you done with that and we will try to pinpoint exactly what is happening.
 

ribbon13

Diamond Member
Feb 1, 2005
9,343
0
0
The sides on/off thing is completely case-dependant. If you want a nice case, with good airflow, that's cheap -> Antec SLK3000B

You realize multiple hard drives actually increases the chances of something going wrong? Multiple moving parts to fail, more heat, more ribbons blocking airflow, more crosstalk increasing chances of data corruption. And you have no case fans. BAD!

Do you actually have all of those small drives maxxed out? Get another 250GB then, and nix those 4 smaller HDDs, that should save you about 30w of continual draw.
 

AgSilver

Member
Nov 4, 2005
31
0
0
Originally posted by: w00t
Ok, if i were you i would try to save some power unplug all drives except for main disconnect optical drives this will tell you if there is a problem with your psu. get back to me after you done with that and we will try to pinpoint exactly what is happening.

uh, that would interrupt my online poker game, wouldn't it?

no, but seriously, that might work, but on the other hand, the rebooting isn't consistent - sometimes it'll do it once in a week, sometimes less, sometimes several times a day

so that might be a hard experiment
 

bob4432

Lifer
Sep 6, 2003
11,694
28
91
mabye you have a virus? or seriouls spyware/malware?

also, like ribbon says, all those hdds are not good, get another 250GB and you will be bette off.
 

AgSilver

Member
Nov 4, 2005
31
0
0
Okay, so here's my theory:

For now...I get a Maxtor 300GB HD 7200rpm 16MB (SATA) (it's only $159 CDN), sell one of the 80gb drives to my boss for $60 because he was going to buy one anyhow...take out the 40 and 27 as well.

Then I have 300 (SATA), 250 (SATA), 160 and 80 (ATA 133), two DVD RW drives, GeForce 5900 Ultra, 1gb RAM, SB Audigy2...and that's it. Should the Enermax 365 be okay then? Also, I'll grab a couple of decent fans to throw in there. I think the pictures show room for two up front and one in the back.

Sound about right?
 

AgSilver

Member
Nov 4, 2005
31
0
0
Originally posted by: ribbon13
why not plug a 80mm fan into that 80mm fan spot?

Is that the one up front?

I haven't bothered up until now because the place I buy my stuff is always out whenever I go there. I think it's time that I did it, though.
 

ribbon13

Diamond Member
Feb 1, 2005
9,343
0
0
no, right below the PSU. you can see it in the second and third images. in fact, that spot being empty is actually BAD for airflow.
 

AgSilver

Member
Nov 4, 2005
31
0
0
I see. Yeah, okay, definitely put a fan there. Should I fill the two fan spots up front as well? (in the first picture)

Assuming adding a 300gb drive to replace one of the 80gb drives, the 40, and the 27 - and adding in three case fans, all things being equal...no new PSU should be needed?

Or should I still get rid of the other 80 gb drive?
 

ribbon13

Diamond Member
Feb 1, 2005
9,343
0
0
I wouldn't bother with the front of the case. In my experience they aren't that effective at cooling the whole PC, but for when someone maxes out the HDD slots. which you shouldn't do anyway.
 

AgSilver

Member
Nov 4, 2005
31
0
0
you mean someone like me? ;)

alright, great, thanks

and not to question your knowledge, but just to ask in relation to my own understanding, I thought that having one or two fans up front, blowing air in, and one fan in the back, blowing air out, provided ideal cooling...? no?
 

ribbon13

Diamond Member
Feb 1, 2005
9,343
0
0
that's the idea, but it wont be necessary. That empty 80mm fan slot is probably a big part of your problem. most of air it will draw out will come from the path of least resistance, which will be the holes near your card mounts and the intake holes near those two front 80mm fan mounts anyways. I think it would be better to save your money for a new decent case or PSU, if your such a poor starving student.
 

AgSilver

Member
Nov 4, 2005
31
0
0
OKAY! This hasn't helped. I put in the two case fans (one up front, one in the back), am down to 4 hard drives, and thet hing has probably restarted 4 times today alone.

I'm guessing I might need a new PSU after all...recommendations on size and brand and place to buy would be awsome!

Thanks...
 

cpals

Diamond Member
Mar 5, 2001
4,494
0
76
Originally posted by: AgSilver
OKAY! This hasn't helped. I put in the two case fans (one up front, one in the back), am down to 4 hard drives, and thet hing has probably restarted 4 times today alone.

I'm guessing I might need a new PSU after all...recommendations on size and brand and place to buy would be awsome!

Thanks...

Have you even checked other possibilities other than it being your psu?
 

AgSilver

Member
Nov 4, 2005
31
0
0
Well, I added the recommended cooling.

Not sure what else it could be, really. RAM? How do I test that?

I'm certainly open to ideas...
 

Slammy1

Platinum Member
Apr 8, 2003
2,112
0
76
I think you have a 350W Enermax (model #365). They're good PSUs, my old one is powering a friend's system. I would say you should have a bigger PSU, but also that your current one also should be adequate. Mine ran a 2.4C at 255FSB and 3 SCSI drives (plus 2 opticals) and an o/c'd 9700 Pro without breaking a sweat. Random reboots can mean lots of things, even CPU failure. Rather than replacing components, try the following.

1. Check event viewer when you reboot an Google any errors.
2. Turn off the "Reboot on Error" option and Google any errors that may occur.
3. Turn off system restore.
4. Run memtest to verify your current memory is OK. You might try increasing your memory voltage if you have memtest problems.
5. Check your disks for errors.

If it is truly random reboots, you might also be seeing a CPU problem. A program like SpeedFan would help to monitor your temps, and watch your voltages to see if you have any rails that are going OOS.

EDIT: Memory is usually the first place to check on reboots. PSU problems are usually indicated by cold boot issues, but so can drivers and conflicts with anti-virus or firewall programs.
 

Lasthitlarry

Senior member
Feb 24, 2005
775
0
0
That pc looks scary indeed.

How old is your PSU? I have an Enermax 365, it's about 3 years old, and it is starting to go bad(random crashes, tears on screen). I would strongly suggest a 250GB Seagate(SATA if you got it). The 250GB is best price per GBs atm.

Also, you will definately want to consider external or even internal hard drive boxes with fans if you want to have multiple drives.

Also, re wire if you can, get that airflow path free

Well I drew a diagram but the spaces were deleted: air goes in from front(preferably 120mm or 2 80mm) and out the PSU and back(preferably 120mm but 2 80mm will work).

Though I believe this is just a case/cooling/hard drive issue, you could go ahead and get a new PSU anyway, no sense in taking chances with old equipment. Seasonic, OCZ, Xclio, Fortron, Antec.