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 Post subject: Six Year Old PC- Preemptively Replace Power Supply?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2013 6:52 am 
8086
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Hello MaximumPC'ers,

I have a six year old machine that is still running great and meets all my needs. Thanks to the dominance of the consoles, my 1080 monitors, and my tendency to play games like Starcraft and Dwarf Fortress, I have zero need to upgrade anytime soon.

But I was thinking about what is likely to fail first. Wouldn't it be the power supply? Couldn't that potentially damage the rest of my system?

Does anyone think I should preemptively replace my power supply, to ensure the future health of my aging system?


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 Post subject: Re: Six Year Old PC- Preemptively Replace Power Supply?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2013 7:22 am 
Smithfield
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In my experience, I've had three systems that had their power supplies fail and it didn't seem to cause any damage. For one it looked like another piece of hardware was dying, but that was about it.


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 Post subject: Re: Six Year Old PC- Preemptively Replace Power Supply?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2013 7:46 am 
8086
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Interesting, thanks for the reply <3


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 Post subject: Re: Six Year Old PC- Preemptively Replace Power Supply?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2013 8:21 pm 
Thunderbird
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It is considered good practice to replace PSUs every 5 years. It is probably consider even better practice to just replace the PC.

But I keep mine for years and never replace them until they fail in some manner. I too have never had a failing PSU take out a system or component---but if it did I wouldn't cry over a 6 year old system if it did as long as the drives were backed up.


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 Post subject: Re: Six Year Old PC- Preemptively Replace Power Supply?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 3:28 am 
8086
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replace your powersupply asap since it is overused and the most likely to fail...and as long as you take good care of your system you are good to go for another decade or two.... :) :) :)


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 Post subject: Re: Six Year Old PC- Preemptively Replace Power Supply?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 5:01 am 
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Haranded wrote:
replace your powersupply asap since it is overused and the most likely to fail...


And what are you basing your assumption of 'overused' upon?


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 Post subject: Re: Six Year Old PC- Preemptively Replace Power Supply?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 11:49 am 
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my question would be who makes the psu that you are using now,and how much power does it supply a cheap psu would be worth replacing, a brand name psu should be usable for many years. a low power psu or a higher power psu makes a difference.


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 Post subject: Re: Six Year Old PC- Preemptively Replace Power Supply?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:12 pm 
8086
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It's the stock Alienware power supply, 1000 watts. I had to dig in my Gmail to find that one. Good lord, 1000 watts!? Did I really think I needed that much? What's the standard wattage these days?


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 Post subject: Re: Six Year Old PC- Preemptively Replace Power Supply?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:33 pm 
Smithfield
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It depends on how much hardware you have. If you're only sporting a single high-end video card, 550W-600W is fine. Then you add 150W per video card after that. The bare minimum though is 400W, if you're not planning on doing a burn-in on both CPU and GPU.


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 Post subject: Re: Six Year Old PC- Preemptively Replace Power Supply?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:38 pm 
8086
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Yup, I intended to "future proof" this when I bought it, but never went beyond one GPU. I did overclock the Core i7-920 to 3.5 GHz though, which made me feel special. So if I replace this power supply I can even get a smaller one and save some electric bill, so that's a nice bonus I guess.


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 Post subject: Re: Six Year Old PC- Preemptively Replace Power Supply?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:50 pm 
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the electric bill will not change with a smaller psu.


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 Post subject: Re: Six Year Old PC- Preemptively Replace Power Supply?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 2:10 pm 
Smithfield
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From what I've seen in PSU reviews on websites that do in-depth proper reviews (and not just "I plugged it in, it works, sweet" reviews), the sweet spot for efficiency appears to be 50%-60% usage. So if you're penny pinching for electricity, a larger one is probably better if you're going to work with high loads for extended periods of time.


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 Post subject: Re: Six Year Old PC- Preemptively Replace Power Supply?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 4:51 pm 
8086
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Oh! Fascinating. Of course it's silly because I'd spend way more on a new PSU than I would save on the electric bill. Like a hybrid car probably costs more than it saves in gas ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Six Year Old PC- Preemptively Replace Power Supply?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 6:09 pm 
Thunderbird
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dedgar wrote:
Haranded wrote:
replace your powersupply asap since it is overused and the most likely to fail...

And what are you basing your assumption of 'overused' upon?

Actually the PSU still uses electrolytic caps which age (dry out; leak). Solid caps have a maximal size limit so there is usually at least two very large caps inside a PSU that will go bad over time even if the PSU is sitting unused in a box in a warehouse.


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 Post subject: Re: Six Year Old PC- Preemptively Replace Power Supply?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 6:27 pm 
Smithfield
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electroly ... th_of_life

Short version: Electrolytic capacitors are usually rated for 2000 hours at some peak operating temperature (which we can assume is 85C). Every 10C you drop, it doubles the life expectancy. Usually good quality PSUs sit around at 40C. So this gives us about 45,000 hours. Give there are 8760 hours in a year, a good quality PSU should last 5 years and some change.

But given that you probably aren't using this PC 24/7, it should last even longer.


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 Post subject: Re: Six Year Old PC- Preemptively Replace Power Supply?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 7:44 pm 
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<-- is a ham radio enthusiast and knows a bit about electronics. I have some old radios that have electrolytic caps in them that are around 40 years old. They still work just as they should. Are they just like brand new? No, and never will be unless I change them out. But I won't do that until they tell me it is time when I pull covers and do inspections. Bulging, leaking, etc. and they're replaced. Not bulged, etc. and the radio still works, then they stay.
I've also had 'new' computer power supplies fail after only a short time being used. Conversely, I've also had computer power supplies that have lasted for many years. I've been overclocking my stuff for quite a while too. So the power supplies weren't just loafing along either.
Overclocking, SLI/Crossfire, multiple drives, lots of fans, etc. Been there done that.
I don't buy 'cheap' power supplies. I buy quality.

mclovin, the power used by the computer varies. The power supply rating is the nominal maximum it can supply. If your computer only uses 200 watts. Then that is what the psu outputs. If the load goes up, then the output goes up.
So it doesn't matter if you have a 1000W supply. If you replace it with a 500W supply and the computer only needs 200W, guess what the output of the power supply is? Yup, 200W.
So 200W out of a 1000W supply costs the same as 200W out of a 500W supply.
I do have to say that I am not familiar with Alienware power supplies. Anyone know who makes them? Who actually builds them does make a difference.
Now, will your power supply fail tomorrow? next week? next month? next year?
There is no way to tell. If you don't feel comfortable with the age of your power supply, then by all means go ahead and replace it. If nothing else, it will give you peace of mind.


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 Post subject: Re: Six Year Old PC- Preemptively Replace Power Supply?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 9:08 pm 
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