How can I tell if my PC has sufficient power from its PSU?

Discussion in 'IBM' started by Caseem, Dec 14, 2006.

  1. Caseem

    Caseem Guest

    I have a home built PC which has an AMD Athlon 3200 processor, 1GB of
    RAM, a single IDE hard disk, a Radeon 9600 graphics card, a video
    capture card, a USB expansion card, a card for a joypad (with 2 more
    USB ports), and an extra NIC (there is also a NIC and a soundcard
    onboard on the motherboard), and 3 DVD ROMs\burners. I noticed that
    when I added the last DVD burner, that it did not burn disks correctly
    anymore and error checking always failed. I was wondering if this is an
    issue with insufficient power for the PC with one component too many. I
    have a 500 watt power supply, but it was a cheap one from a budget
    manufacturer. How can I tell if it is inadequate power causing the
    burning to fail (in both Nero and Plextor tools)? Is there a
    downloadable software tool I can use?


    Caseem, Dec 14, 2006
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  2. Caseem

    R. McCarty Guest

    Why 3 Optical drives ?

    There are all kinds of Motherboard monitoring tools for download.
    Many have logging features where you can capture voltage readings
    over time in a graphical display.

    A 500-Watt supply should be adequate. I would suspect your
    burning issues are due to fully populated IDE channels/taps and
    interactions between the devices.
    R. McCarty, Dec 14, 2006
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  3. Caseem

    Douggie Guest

    Um, are you trying to copy 2 disks (or burn 3 from image) at once?
    If so, I'd guess power probs. Disconnect a drive you know works, see if
    the problem drive then burns ok.

    Douggie, Dec 14, 2006
  4. Caseem

    paulmd Guest

    500W OK. Cheap manufacturer +lots of stuff, not OK.

    A better brand PSU is probably the cure more than the wattage.
    paulmd, Dec 14, 2006
  5. Caseem

    Jonny Guest

    Generally speaking, find the +5 and +12V requirements for the vast majority
    of the hardware. (These are the most important) Make a sum column for each
    voltage leg mentioned. Add 10% for degradation of power supply. Add 10%
    for degradation of hardware components. Add 10% for minor use items like
    fans and such. Option, add estimated future +5 and +12V needed for any
    future add-ons. Don't forget peak amperage for +12V for hard drives in the
    total. Find a power supply that can provide both +5 and +12V amperage
    delivery of both. Ignore the total wattage rating of the power supply.
    Jonny, Dec 14, 2006
  6. Caseem

    Anna Guest

    The chances that the problem you're experiencing with your latest DVD burner
    is due to an inadequate power supply is next to nil.

    If that device does "not burn disks correctly" and all the other components
    of your system are functioning properly without problems, then your problem
    is with that DVD burner. Perhaps you configured it improperly or it's simply
    Anna, Dec 14, 2006
  7. Caseem

    w_tom Guest

    500 watts measured how? A power supply intentionally designed to be
    dumped in North America may claim 500 watts when it is really only
    equivalent to the 350 watt supply in HP or Dell computers. They have
    not lied. They simply hope you don't understand; instead buy on price.

    No one can say whether the power supply is your problem. Only you
    can do that by collecting numbers when the computer is running. That
    means one minute with a 3.5 digit multimeter. Simply measure voltages
    on one of red, orange, and yellow wires before and when DVD burner is
    used. Report is even better if other peripherals are also accessed
    simultaneously. Those numbers must remain above 3.23, 4.87, and 11.7.
    Furthermore, those numbers may report more if posted.

    Assuming voltage monitor hardware exists on motherboard, still that
    software reported number is not sufficient. It is a monitor intended
    to detect changes. Before it can accurately report voltage, first, the
    monitor must be calibrated. Another reason why the 3.5 digit
    multimeter is necessary.
    w_tom, Dec 15, 2006
  8. Caseem

    Caseem Guest

    I replaced the PSU with a 650w one from an OK manufacturer, and now DVD
    burning works again - but only with the slow free version of Plextor
    Tools. Nero 7 doesn't work, which is much faster. Online power
    calculators have given me totals of 293 watts and 750 watts, so I guess
    I need to use a program. Installed Motherboard Monitor but did not
    really understand it - might read the instructions tonight!

    Thanks to everyone who offered their two cents.
    Caseem, Dec 15, 2006
  9. Caseem

    Caseem Guest

    Thanks for everyone who gave advice. I used the power supply calculator
    given by JS which told me that I need 297 watts for my PC, but I used
    another one last week that told me I should not go less than 750! I
    think I need to use diagnostic tools to get the most accurate result. I
    downloaded Motherboard Monitor late last night, but could not figure it
    out right away so I went to bed. I might have to bite the bullet and
    read the instructions!

    I have never tried to burn more than one disk at once, and have already
    purchased a 650 Watt power supply from a reasonably reputable
    manufacturer. Interestingly, after I installed this I could burn disks
    again, but only using the slow free version of Plextor tools and not
    through Nero 7.
    Caseem, Dec 15, 2006
  10. Caseem

    JS Guest

    Does Nero 7 recognize your make and model of your DVD burner. If not you may
    need to get the latest Nero Update.

    JS, Dec 15, 2006
  11. Caseem

    w_tom Guest

    Defined was that using those watts numbers report nothing useful.
    Demonstrated was that a 500 watt supply may also be a 350 watt supply.
    So which number gets applied to the estimator? Predictabley, your
    estimators gave inconsistent numbers such as 297 and 700 - because
    again they are 'magic solutions' rather than basic science. A third
    reason - any power supply can be oversized and still not not provide
    sufficient power on only one voltage. Appreciate that my post also
    provided reasons. Any suggestion without important 'reasons why'
    should be discounted. No 'reasons why' is symptomatic of popular urban

    Also defined as ineffective is that motherboard monitor. Without a
    meter, that monitor does not (is not intended) to provide accurate
    voltage numbers. But then, does the motherboard have hardware for that
    monitor? If not, software has nothing to read; just another reason why
    the monitor would report nothing useful.

    Maybe buying a meter means fear. Good. Another reason why it is
    problably the best solution. A meter was recommended with reasons for
    why. Meters are so ubiquitous as to be sold in Radio Shack, Wal-mart,
    Home Depot, K-mart, Sears, and Lowes - because meters are as scary as a
    screwdriver. Get the meter for $20. Sometimes meters sell for only
    $10. Meter provides a complete answer in but two minutes. No other
    post even claims to be so thorough. Also a meter provides numbers so
    that replies can be significantly more useful - a faster solution.

    Meanwhile, does that 600+ power supply include functions necessary
    for power supplies even 30+ years ago? Many supplies that sell only on
    price (and also hype a watts number that is larger) are also missing
    essential functions. How do you know? A power supply that does not
    include a long list of numerical specifications is how one sells an
    inferior power supply for higher profit. Those spec numbers (that
    almost all do not understand) are how the less than 1% of us know which
    power supply contains essential functions. To sell a supply missing
    essential functions, the 'forget' to include those specs.

    Posted was not - 'try this and try that'. Posted was 'this gets
    useful answers every time'. Get the meter. Get numbers. Have facts
    that provide definitive answers the first time AND provides reasons why
    those answers are accurate.
    w_tom, Dec 16, 2006
  12. Caseem

    Jonny Guest

    A meter? What is being metered? Where is whatever being metered?

    Amperage output, and amperage used is not a stagnant thing over a long time
    Jonny, Dec 17, 2006
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