Friday, December 29, 2006

PSU Selection

I spent a lot of time fretting over which PSU to get. The main reason was that I didn't want a 1 Kw hair dryer running in my case. I had to figure out how much I power I realistically needed though. It was easy to get a handle on the processor power consumption, however the drives and the motherboard were largely a mystery. There is little published info on the L1N64-SLI WS so I had to just guess. The 8800 GTX was going to use a solid 200-250W from what I could tell. After adding things up I decided that a 750W power supply would be sufficient, my expectation is that at peak load the system would use about 600W of the 750W available.

I did a lot of reading up on what's involved in a high end power supply noise, power fluctuation, and reliability. This review over at Tech Power Up made up my mind. The be quiet! Dark Power 750 seemed to be the ideal candidate for my new machine, and I'm sure it still is however I couldn't find it anywhere for purchase. So I took the general criteria, Large Fan, Modular Cables and went hunting for something else. Price didn't matter so much as would it be quiet, and reliable?

I finally settled on a ThermalTake 750W due to a few positive comments about it's performance. Oddly it is the Crossfire Certified model, but I was purchasing based on output rather than certification and I felt that 750 was the number I needed. The ThermalTake site while visually unappealing, does have some good information on it. The packaging for the ThermalTake was very niiiiice, it came with a number of cables that are nicely appointed. The cables actually impressed me the most. They came sheathed in a slick mesh that refuses to snag on anything in the case, and holds up to a respectable amount of wear and tear.

Keep in mind the 750W is not sufficient to run two 8800 cards. It is also physically unable to as it only has 3 PCI-e connectors.

ThermalTake does offer another SLI power supply rated to 850W that has 4xPCI-e that will probably be sufficient. I'm not convinced that a 1Kw power supply is needed in a stock 4x4 system. I think that 850 would likely be sufficient, but if you are doing overclocking and such the 1Kw in SLI is probably a good idea.

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