Are branded PSUs worth it?

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Hi guys. As suggested I'm shopping around for a new PSU, probably 500W.
Is it worth getting unbranded PSUs over say an Antec one? The Antec
PSUs seem to be 5x more expensive than an equivalent rated unbranded

Can you risk damaging your hardware with a bad PSU, or is the danger

Re: Are branded PSUs worth it?

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a $5M Q ............I went branded

Just read a few Google reports on their electrical capabilities and looked
at them physically.

I have to say the branded units did LOOK like they were worth the extra

but who knows............time can only tell

Re: Are branded PSUs worth it?

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There's very little risk of damaging hardware by using a inadequate PSU.
The likely problem is that you'll get instability problems and random
I went for a generic 400w PSU and it did okay but only lasted a little over
12 months.
It was driving 2 HDDs, a DVD ROM and CDRW plus the usual stuff plugged into
the motherboard.
I splashed out on a branded (but not Antec) 450w PSU and its twice as heavy
and delivers a higher ampage - its lasted
as long as the generic one and is still going strong. The generic cost £20 -
the branded cost £45 - it was worth it.

Re: Are branded PSUs worth it?

Hi Sleepy. Thanks for your input.

I'm curious, what happens when a generic PSU dies on you?

When you say there is "...little risk of damaging hardware by using a
inadequate PSU.", do you mean inadequate in terms of wattage or

Re: Are branded PSUs worth it?

No PC - no pwr

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Re: Are branded PSUs worth it?

  Little relationship exists between output power and
quality.  As Kony noted, the cheap power supplies will even
claim power ratings that they don't really output.  They did
not lie.  They measured something different from what you
needed to know.  But then they are selling to customers who
look only at dollars and watts; who think they are computer
savvy because they assembled a machine.  A power supply must
perform many functions.

  Find the Intel ATX power supply specs.  Power supplies must
contain and perform numerous functions.  For example, if a
function is missing, then a failed power supply can damage the
entire computer.  No power supply even 30 years ago would do
that if properly designed.  However overseas manufacturers
have discovered a ripe market for higher profits.  They forget
to include these many defacto standard functions, forget to
provide the long list of specs, and sell the $35 supply to
North Americans who  have no technical knowledge; ripe for a

  If the computer power supply is not selling for about $65
retail, then you know it must be missing essential functions.
That does not say a $65 power supply does contain those
functions.  But far more happens inside a power supply than
the OP realizes.  The Intel ATX Power Supply spec lists
numerous required functions that $25 power supplies must
forget to include.

  Provide no long list of specifications to sell inferior
supplies.  Perfect way to market to bean counter types who
fear simple technology concepts.   Many North Americans have
bean counter training and therefore declare themselves as
'computer literate'.  Ironic.  The term 'computer literate'
was coined by an executive who could not even use a computer.

Random Person wrote:
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Re: Are branded PSUs worth it?

w_tom wrote:

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Apparently Hiper are one make that sell good quality power supplies,
but are still cheap. They get good reviews.
This one's only 350w, but it is still cheap (£20) for 350w ==

Though Hiper seems to pull up only uk sites. May be a uk make / uk
retailers only at the moment!

Though it's questionable whether reviewers know what they're doing when
they test PSUs.

Electronics people I speak to tell me that even using a multimeter to
back-probe the PSU's connectors while the PSU is under load, will not
give accurate results.  And it's impossible to test a PSU's voltage
accurately and adequately, without expensive equipment.  Though that
back-probing with a multimeter method can pick out a a really bad psu.

For those that want to know what back-probing is / where I heard of it.
The back-probing method is in Scott Mueller's popular well known PC
Tech book  "upgrading and repairing PCs" now in its 16th edition.

you poke a probes of the multimeter into the back of - say - the
connector that is pluged into the HDD. And you check that the red wire
is about 5V. yellow is 12v .

It's all DC outside the PSU box, 'cos the PSU is also an AC DC
converter. so it's safe to probe connectors.

Re: Are branded PSUs worth it?

  The multimeter on a power supply under load will provide
extremely accurate results.  The typical region of unknown is
when voltage is in the lowest quarter of those limit.  In that
region, an oscilloscope is necessary to confirm what is
probably due to excessive ripple voltage.

  Meanwhile, if that electronics person says a multimeter is
not sufficient, then he also said why for numerous reasons.
IOW so many electronics people don't know why ... and promote
common myths.

  Been doing this stuff for over 30 years.  The multimeter is,
by far, the most effective tester per quid.  Once the meter
has confirmed power supply 'system' integrity, then move on;
the power supply 'system' is OK.

  I don't care what those reviewers say is and is not a
'quality' supply.  Most reviewers could not say what each part
inside the supply is nor what those parts do.  A highly
regarded power supplies ... and supply is missing essential
overvoltage protection?  Did any of those reviewers even
mention OVP?  Why not?  Why are they reviewing supplies when
they don't even know of essential functions?  OVP is one of
the first essential functions 'forgotten' to sell power
supplies at excessively low price to people such as those
reviewers.  AT £20, the supply must be missing essential

  Looking at that Hiper supply, well, where are any specs?
This is how a scam artist sells his product to the naive using
hype.  Supply does not meet minimal specs, so they don't even
try to claim such numbers.  No numerical specs is a damning
omission.  Then when the supply causes more damage, well, they
did not even claim to meet minimal industry standards.  That
£20 is provided for the dannysdailys of this world.  See the
other post about his recommendations and technical integrity.

  When those reviewers test supplies, do they routinely short
out all supply outputs with a wire sized per Intel specs?
Intel even defines the size of that shorting wire.  A properly
constructed power supply must have all outputs shorted
together and still the power supply is not damaged.  Some 'so
callled' quality supplies fail on this; another required spec.
So why did those reviewers not test this and so many other
functions required even by Intel's ATX specs?  Or did
reviewers even read those specs - to confirm each supply meets
each of those specs?

 Pictures that demonstrate where to take voltage readings are:

  Notice the difference.  Posted are the whys.  To have
credibility, those other 'electronics people' must also
provide whys.  Without those whys, then what they have said is
nothing more than rumor. wrote:
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Re: Are branded PSUs worth it?

w_tom wrote:
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Thanks for the info. That article was great.
that techrepublic site used to spam my inbox! They had good articles,
it was good spam. but  they don't seem to archive the spam on the site!
And mostly the articles weren't releveant to me at the time.

Regarding the £20 PSU (it was recommended to me, it wasn't just a
random £20 PSU I discovered!)

Here is the article on their site with spec and datasheet

They do high end PSUs too, at £70

Re: Are branded PSUs worth it?

Random Person wrote:
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Usually, a cheap PSU of 500 Watt is worse than a brand PSU of 350. The
cheap one often has voltages which way too far off what they should be
(so the 12 volt line at 11 or 13), which is either bad for your
hardware, or causes reboots.

So yes, it is worth it.


Re: Are branded PSUs worth it?

Hiya Marc.  If I remember the electrical part of my college Physics,
isn't it just a matter of getting the number of coils on the
transformers correct? How hard can it be for a PSU to supply a correct
output voltage?

What other issues am I missing?

Re: Are branded PSUs worth it?

On 27 Aug 2005 06:36:29 -0700, "Random Person"

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You are missing that "number of coils" is only valid at a
narrow range of power output, it varies quite a lot
depending on the load.  For example, grab a cheap wall-wart
(brick AC-DC adapter) of the typical
transformer->rectifier->capacitor type design (rather than a
switching type design) and measure it's output while under
different loads- and compare to it's rated output.

Re: Are branded PSUs worth it?

Random Person wrote:
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I have a branded one, and even that one never delivers the exact voltage
it should, and from stories at (dutch ICT site), I hear,
every time someone asks, that generic ones are even worse.

Re: Are branded PSUs worth it?

On 26 Aug 2005 20:58:07 -0700, "Random Person"

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Not if you need 500W.  "Watts" do not mean same thing with
generics as they tend to be rated on some imaginary
instantaneous current rather than sustainable current.  If
the 500W name-brand were rated the same way, it might be
called a 700W or more.

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Then you're only looking at some pretty bad generics, even
the mid-grade generics are no less than 40% of the cost of
the Antec.

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Yes, they may lack tight safety shutdown circuitry and
insufficient capacitors that cause rest of system to bear
the burder of what the power supply was "supposed" to be
doing.   That wears out parts, usually not immediately but

Why did you need to ask?  Clearly if a $15-25 generic was
suitable then nobody else, including OEMs, would be using
better PSU.

Re: Are branded PSUs worth it?

On Sat, 27 Aug 2005 00:58:07 -0300, Random Person  

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a bad psu can fry a system, an underpowered one can make it unstable,  
unstable is preffered, but only till it becomes annoying.  if the generic  
supply manufacturer has good reviews from enough people who know what  
they're talking about it may be good enough.  i had myself a supply, rock  
solid for about 2 and a half years, then all of a sudden starting the  
system and keeping it running became an adventure.  i pulled the supply  
open(which could have killed me if i didn't know what i was doing), it was  
nice and clean, which surprised the hell outta me, but a pair of  
regulators had desoldered themselves due to thermal overload.  from that i  
learned that i should get reputable oem when i want a good supply.
    maybe there's an antec solutions supply that you can dig up which will do  
well enough, it's their oem, and lots cheaper than the more well know of  
their supplies.  although i've had troubles with my antec supply, i was  
able to fix it by soldering on a new connector.
    the supply is important not just to keep things running, but to keep them  
running well, even somewhat flaky hardware will keep haulin if it's got  
real clean power.

Using Opera's revolutionary e-mail client: /

Re: Are branded PSUs worth it?

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Is the sky blue? Is the pope a Catholic? You get the picture.

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What are the actual prices? 5x X is not significant if X is small.

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Re: Are branded PSUs worth it?

"" wrote:
 > Hi guys. As suggested I'm shopping around for a new PSU,
 > probably 500W.
 > Is it worth getting unbranded PSUs over say an Antec one? The
 > Antec
 > PSUs seem to be 5x more expensive than an equivalent rated
 > unbranded
 > one.
 > Can you risk damaging your hardware with a bad PSU, or is the
 > danger
 > exaggerated?

I have a simplistic approach to power supplies..

   The heavier it is the better.

  Once itís installed donít fiddle with it.

  Donít assume that more expensive means no problems.

  Spec sheets are things to read, not to tell everyone how much you
  just because youíve read a lot of them

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Re: Are branded PSUs worth it?

Random Person wrote:

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Look up "inductor saturation".  When that happens, the transformer or
choke can generate a voltage surge that can damage the computer, and
because of where it occurs in the PSU, the overvoltage protection can't
prevent it.  Also the output filter in a cheapo PSU won't block it well
enough, and the surge is more likely to be generated in the first place
in a cheap PSU becaust the transformer and chokes are smaller in

I'm a very cheap person, but one thing I won't skimp on is PSU quality.
 OTOH in the past 3+ years I haven't spent more than $25 on one, and
that was a 300W Antec with a case.  There's just no need to spend a lot
for the best quality, especially because Fortron-Source Power PSUs
costing only $20-30 for 300-350W and $40-50 for 400-450W are available
from sources like and  These PSUs
tend to be very conservatively rated, meaning a 350W Fortron is
probably as strong as the average 400-450W model of another brand.  So
why take a risk with crap?  You won't save much money.

The best PSU reviews are probably at (includes very
detailed description of their test methods),,,, and
Unlike most other review sites, their full load tests apply an actual
full load, not the usual 250W.

Re: Are branded PSUs worth it?

Now that you've heard from everyone who says buy the branded PSU.  In
my experience, I've not noticed any real difference.

That's not to say there isn't one, but; I've got somewhere around 12
PC's running out there and not one has failed because of a PSU.  In
fact, not one has failed at all.  Most of these PSUs came with the

I will say this; I'm running a MSG 500 watt no name that came with
this case.  It runs 4 hard drives, an overclocked 6600 GT, XP-3200,
sound card, TV capture card and all the extras including about 20
lights and 10 fans.  According to my mobo software, the voltages are
right on spec and it's been running for about 7 months now.  In fact,
the voltage specs are closer then the Antec 430 "True Power" it
replaced.  No computer will be damaged by a PSU that's within 5 to 7%
of it's voltage specs.

I find the vast majority, check that; EVERY failure I've seen, has
been due to dirt and filth.  If the computer is kept clean, and the
inside of the PSU is peridically blown out,  you shouldn't have any
problems.  Just make sure the cooling fans are working.  That's true
with any power supply.

Remember; if there were vast differences in PSUs; as some suggest.
The cheapo's wouldn't even be out here.

Buy the way, OEM's use the cheapest components they can find anywhere.
 Don't let anyone fool you, that includes the PSU.

Re: Are branded PSUs worth it?

  They also said the household electricity was just fine
because the lights work.  Fortunately no one was home when the
house exploded due to a missing safety ground and another

  Dannysdailys is using same logic to justify a good power
supply.  By his own admission, he does not know what a good
power supply must do.  But 'since the lights work' then
everything must be OK.  His logic was also sufficient to
murder seven Challenger astronauts.  Granted, a power supply
will not cause seven deaths.  But the lessons from that
exploded house AND from the Challenger are how to not approach
any problem.  Everyone should see right through the failed
reasonings by dannysdailys.

  My experience is that those who buy cheap supplies then have
computer damage that they blame on mythical events such as
surges.  No wonder they've "not noticed any real difference".

  Every failure cited due to 'dirt and filth', well, we then
know that person has insufficient experience and usually does
not have basic electrical knowledge.  When he can cite
specific parts that have failed AND fix a power supply work by
soldering parts, only then can we suspect minimal technical
knowledge.  Any power supply damaged by 'dirt and filth' was
defective when it was designed.

  Furthermore, if using motherboard voltage monitors to
measure power supply voltage, then he failed to learn why it
is only a monitor - why that monitor must first be
calibrated.  But again, too many computer experts don't even
have basic electronics experience; instead promote myths.

 A vast difference exists in power supplies which is why cheap
ones do exist - in direct contradiction to what dannysdailys
posted.  Bean counters among us routinely pretend to be
computer experts only because the power supply worked for him
this week or this year.  Bean counters promote power supplies
that are missing essential functions.  Overseas suppliers have
found a so lucrative market by dumping supplies missing
essential functions.  Notice those supplies never come with a
full page of numerical specs - since they are selling to
dannysdailys.  So many *computer experts* don't even know how
electricity works.  dannysdailys has demonstrated same by
promoting business school speculations as if fact.  He even -
and this is embarrassing - claims that dirt and filth caused
power supply failures.  Clearly bean counter reasoning had
nothing to do with those failures.

dannysdailys wrote:
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