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  • Community Question: What makes a good motherboard?

Recommend power supply and size?

Endgame124

Senior member
Feb 11, 2008
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I’ve been reviewing my stack of systems - I have 3 with Seasonic 330w gold power supplies (htpc, dB server, freenas), 1 with 550w platinum (12 years old), and 1 650w titanium, all Seasonic.

I’m starting purchases for my next system now, which will be a 16 core AMD Ryzen 4000 (4950?) with top end Ampere video card (3080ti?). I am also planning on upgrading my 2700x to a 4950 (that host has the 650w titanium). I would normally just go with another 650w titanium, but I’m a little concerned that won’t be enough if I add my 1080ti to the system as well.

Thoughts? How close to max output do you go? Maybe I don’t put the 1080ti in the same host as the 3080ti, and if I get a second card for those systems, go 3060(ish)?
 

UsandThem

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You will likely need to go with 750W+ unit to ensure it comes with at least 3 CPU pins (3 x 4-pin). It seems like many of the higher performance boards, along with a demanding CPU, need that extra 4-pin to work. In the past, the extra 4-pin really only was needed for heavy overclocks, but the times they are a changin'. :p

That said, since the specs aren't official yet, and we're speculating, a 850w unit should easily power just about any CPU + one video card in existence. Although a 750w unit should be plenty as well.
 

Howdy

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Nov 12, 2017
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There are several PSU calculators out there, unfortunately none will have the future parts you are listing. Without known power requirements it's kind of hard to suggest. I use this to give me a general idea of what I will need. I also go a little higher in wattage on the PSU for more headroom if I decide to add or change out GPUs. I have played the game with "ahh this will be fine" only to have to buy another PSU because I went cheap and got exactly what I needed. Then again this is just me and my poor decision making.......;)
 

TennesseeTony

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Aug 2, 2003
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edit: I am not sure 750w would be enough for 2 high end cards and top end processor. 800w maybe. end edit.

Personally, having gold or above is of more concern to me. Those $35 1200w PSU's can't handle 250w for long.

Seasonic is a solid brand, as is Corsair and EVGA (Gold and above). I tend to try to size mine with a 15% reserve, running at 85% of the capacity. I have no reservations putting 1035 watts on a 1200w Corsair for months on end. I do this because you get max effciency up high, and because you can trust the higher end models (especially Platinum and Titanium, but Gold too).

My 'twin' systems have different PSUs, and the power meter can always tell when I am using a Bronze PSU in one of them, 30-40 more watts at the wall just for the PSU, with both systems running the same project and GPUs.

It is that wasted heat that will kill a PSU, in my opinion. And another reason to run a good PSU hard....you pull 300w out of a 1500w unit, your efficiency on some models dip into the 60% range. Now your pulling 500 at the wall, 200w of heat from the way too big PSU. Not healthy even for good units.

Prices seem awfully high right now. I always try to be patient and find those ebay deals where the seller is a terrible salesman, blurry pictures, and no one else seems interested because of it. Also search for what you want by misspelling the name, lol, quick way to find one no one else has found yet.

So overall, get just a little bigger than you will pull, and get Gold or above, and a well known brand.

I will quit rambling now. :)

 
Last edited:

Endgame124

Senior member
Feb 11, 2008
453
273
136
You will likely need to go with 750W+ unit to ensure it comes with at least 3 CPU pins (3 x 4-pin). It seems like many of the higher performance boards, along with a demanding CPU, need that extra 4-pin to work. In the past, the extra 4-pin really only was needed for heavy overclocks, but the times they are a changin'. :p

That said, since the specs aren't official yet, and we're speculating, a 850w unit should easily power just about any CPU + one video card in existence. Although a 750w unit should be plenty as well.
The Seasonic Titanium series comes with 2 modular 8/4 cables CPU cables, all the way down to the 650 watt model. I believe it's safe to estimate a max of 300W on the 3080ti, and 175W for the CPU, which if I went with the 650W model, would leave 175 for the remaining system. I could probably toss in a 125W secondary card in the system, but it looks like that would put it on the poor end of the efficiency curve checking the Seasonic site: https://seasonic.com/prime-tx

I think typing up a reply to you just convinced me I need to go with at least the 850W :D


edit: I am not sure 750w would be enough for 2 high end cards and top end processor. 800w maybe. end edit.

Personally, having gold or above is of more concern to me. Those $35 1200w PSU's can't handle 250w for long.

Seasonic is a solid brand, as is Corsair and EVGA (Gold and above). I tend to try to size mine with a 15% reserve, running at 85% of the capacity. I have no reservations putting 1035 watts on a 1200w Corsair for months on end. I do this because you get max effciency up high, and because you can trust the higher end models (especially Platinum and Titanium, but Gold too).

*snip*
I agree with pretty much everything you wrote above. The 330w Gold power supplies that I have are pretty much ideal for what I was using them for (mostly idle systems), though if anyone made a 330w Titanium power supply I would have gotten them. Now that I'm running all the systems 24x7 and looking at adding video cards, those 330w will be insufficient for anything other than 125w cards.

850W is probably where you want to start if you're going with 2 top end cards like 2x 2080ti or 2x 3080ti. I would really like to get 2x of the top end card and watercool the whole thing, but I don't know if I can justify the cost of the cards + blocks + rest of the system. I could very much see going with 1x 3080ti and 1x 3070 or 3060, though. Maybe I need to look into VR and see if 2x cards is still a thing, as I know SLI is pretty much dead. If I could use 2x 3080tis for more than just folding it would be a lot easier to convince myself to spend the money.

Of course, if I go 2x 3080ti and watercool them, my next question will have to be how much radiator is necessary for that much load.


Prices seem awfully high right now. I always try to be patient and find those ebay deals where the seller is a terrible salesman, blurry pictures, and no one else seems interested because of it. Also search for what you want by misspelling the name, lol, quick way to find one no one else has found yet.

So overall, get just a little bigger than you will pull, and get Gold or above, and a well known brand.
How much do you expect to pay for a 850w or 1000w titanium supply? I haven't been keeping track of prices in quite some time.


I will quit rambling now. :)

Dang, that is a fantastic looking system system. What cards are those?
 
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StefanR5R

Diamond Member
Dec 10, 2016
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You will likely need to go with 750W+ unit to ensure it comes with at least 3 CPU pins (3 x 4-pin). It seems like many of the higher performance boards, along with a demanding CPU, need that extra 4-pin to work. In the past, the extra 4-pin really only was needed for heavy overclocks, but the times they are a changin'.
Higher-performance cheaply-laid-out boards perhaps?

A single 4-pin connector should suffice for the more wasteful ones among desktop processor SKUs.
A single 8-pin connector is good for 240 W server processors.
 

UsandThem

Elite Member
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May 4, 2000
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Higher-performance cheaply-laid-out boards perhaps?

A single 4-pin connector should be plenty for the more wasteful ones among desktop processor SKUs.
A single 8-pin connector is good for 240 W server processors.
I've noticed several users here and on other forums not being able to boot their systems until they populated all three of the CPU connections. Many of the current motherboards require 2 x 4-pin to be installed, with the additional 4-pin usually being optional and only used for extreme overclocking.

It hasn't been with every new board of course, but Markfw has also dealt with it a bit as well. The power supplies used were known quality models, so it could simply come down to PCB design. I'm just pointing out it's probably something for users to think about going forward with high-end components. Especially considering the power draw of of new CPUs like the Intel 10th gen i7 and i9 processors, in which the latter can pull as much as 254w if pushed.
 

TennesseeTony

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Aug 2, 2003
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I was frankly shocked with my new x570 boards having one 8 and then a 4 pin beside it. Freaked me out, but I knew the 8pin was overkill to start with on a 3950x. Luckily the 4 pin appears optional on my boards.
 

StefanR5R

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Dec 10, 2016
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I suppose marketing requires a certain pin count of power connectors at certain price tiers of DIY motherboards.

Open up a recent OEM desktop computer, and you will likely find... a lone 4-pin connector.
 

UsandThem

Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 4, 2000
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I suppose marketing requires a certain pin count of power connectors at certain price tiers of DIY motherboards.

Open up a recent OEM desktop computer, and you will likely find... a lone 4-pin connector.
Yeah, I rarely deal with OEM boards.

However, I have four self-built computers at home, and all of them have have at least 2 x 4-pin connectors, with one having the additional 4-pin connector on top of the regular two. However, I don't have any really demanding CPUs that would need it/require it.
 

StefanR5R

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@Endgame124,
I've got 750 W platinum PSUs for computers with dual 250 W GPUs. These PSUs don't break a sweat in these systems.
I have one system with triple 250 W GPUs and 1200 W platinum PSU. The fan of this PSU gets loud when the the system is fully loaded.

Re cooling:
  • A thick 360 mm radiator + a slim 240 mm radiator are able to cool dual 250 W GPUs plus supporting desktop processor. But the five 120 mm fans need to run at their top speed (1300 RPM), which makes far more air noise than is to my European tastes.
    But this cooling system fits into a compact ATX tower. Which in turn fitted into a shelf along with most of my other computers.
  • A thick 360 mm radiator + a medium 420 mm radiator cool dual 250 W GPUs plus desktop processor with very little air noise and little pump noise.
    This cooling system needs a respectively deep ATX tower. This narrows the choice of cases, and doesn't fit into mentioned shelf.
  • I am cooling triple 250 W GPUs plus supporting Xeon with an external MORA 360 and an internal slim 280 mm radiator. The latter isn't doing really much in this, maybe it's superfluous, but I added it in order to minimize temperature deltas in this loop.
    The D5 pump in this large loop needs to run at top speed, but the PSU fan is much louder than the pump.
    Once during a SETI@home contest, it was August, the nine fans on the MoRa didn't spin for two or more hours because of a loose plug. The GPUs ran somewhat hotter than normal, but AFAIR still did not actually throttle.
 

Endgame124

Senior member
Feb 11, 2008
453
273
136
@Endgame124,
I've got 750 W platinum PSUs for computers with dual 250 W GPUs. These PSUs don't break a sweat in these systems.
I have one system with triple 250 W GPUs and 1200 W platinum PSU. The fan of this PSU gets loud when the the system is fully loaded.

Re cooling:
  • A thick 360 mm radiator + a slim 240 mm radiator are able to cool dual 250 W GPUs plus supporting desktop processor. But the five 120 mm fans need to run at their top speed (1300 RPM), which makes far more air noise than is to my European tastes.
    But this cooling system fits into a compact ATX tower. Which in turn fitted into a shelf along with most of my other computers.
  • A thick 360 mm radiator + a medium 420 mm radiator cool dual 250 W GPUs plus desktop processor with very little air noise and little pump noise.
    This cooling system needs a respectively deep ATX tower. This narrows the choice of cases, and doesn't fit into mentioned shelf.
  • I am cooling triple 250 W GPUs plus supporting Xeon with an external MORA 360 and an internal slim 280 mm radiator. The latter isn't doing really much in this, maybe it's superfluous, but I added it in order to minimize temperature deltas in this loop.
    The D5 pump in this large loop needs to run at top speed, but the PSU fan is much louder than the pump.
    Once during a SETI@home contest, it was August, the nine fans on the MoRa didn't spin for two or more hours because of a loose plug. The GPUs ran somewhat hotter than normal, but AFAIR still did not actually throttle.
Good to know on the radiator sizes. I have 2 thermochill 120.3 left over from a different project that I was planning on tossing into my new fractal Define 7XL. Seems like they might be enough for dual gpu + cpu, however I’m not certain the fan spacing will be correct on those old rads for new cases. I can always pickup a 480 HW labs GTR for the new system if the old rads won’t work.
 

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