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AMD-approved power supply?
wp442 Oct-12-01 01:35 AM
I'm in the process of researching the buildup of my first computer, and am purchasing the necessary parts piece by piece as I do my research. I just got a Lian Li PC-60 case and ECS K7S5A (w/SIS 735 chipset) motherboard, and will be getting the AMD Athlon 4.1 processor and also installing 512M of DDR ram, to start with. I am now in the process of researching what power supply I need to run this, and I've been trying for three days to get into the AMD site to check out their list of approved power supplies, but their site has been having a lot of difficulties.

So I've spent the past few evening going into every computer forum I can find and doing a LOT of reading, but I can't find ANY other listing anywhere with the listing of approved PSUs. Granted, I realize the list is changing, but I really don't want to keep waiting in case the AMD site is down for a period of time, so....

Can those of you running this setup clue me in as to what works and what to avoid? Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

I plan to install the normal hardware devices, such as CD-ROM, CD-RW, 2 30GB hard drives and internal Zip drive...along with a CPU cooler/heatsink and several additional case fans.

From the reviews I've read, I'm leaning towards Enermax units, probably a 350W, but I need to know which ones are compatible with my setup, and which ones work well in a real-world environment. The reviews are great for certain things, but I'm more interested in hearing about what you've tried personally and what you like/dislike it.

THANKS!

Keith


1. RE: AMD-approved power supply?
copperpipe Oct-12-01 06:11 PM
In response to message 0
I only have a 1 Ghz/266 FSB Athlon on my K7S5A inside an Antec SX830 case (its 300 W power supply is AMD-recommended for up to only an Athlon 900) which works fine. Your system doesn't sound too demanding from a power standpoint although you don't mention what video card you have.

I have a friend who has the same power supply but has a 1.2 Ghz/266 FSB Athlon and no problems.

From reading in other places, you've undoubtedly heard about this board's sensitivity to the power supply especially when a 1.4 Ghz Athlon is onboard. You've probably also read posts that some cheap 250 W power supplies work with that combo while others have complained that their 300/350 W power supplies don't.

If your existing power supply is 300 W or more in capacity, why not give it a try? I've read that the Enermax is a good unit, but Larry and others could probably give you some recommendations.

Just a side comment: many of us who bought this board did so due to its low price with good performance. Buying an expensive power supply which can cost nearly twice the price of the board somehow seems to contradict that buying philosophy somewhat. Perhaps you might want to consider a compromise with a little slower processor if it will allow you to avoid the cost of upgrading the power. I'm not sure you'd see a difference except when running benchmarks, serious graphics/video apps, and 3D games at high resolutions. Heck, for just regular Windows 9X, applications, I don't see much difference from this vs. my K6-III+ 550 mhz system.

Just my 2 cents.


2. RE: AMD-approved power supply?
lbyard Oct-12-01 11:39 PM
In response to message 1
I now use Antec power supplies for socket A computers. The 300 Watt power supply (and KS282 case) is fine for most of them. I usually use one case fan in addition. The 400 Watt power supply (the Antec SX840 is a great case for loaded computers) and might be more appropriate for that many drives. I will be building two 1.4 GHz Athlon XP 1600+ computers next week, each with 256 Mbytes, one 30 gig hard disk, on CD-RW drive, one 250 MByte zip drive, and one 1.4 floppy drive. They will be built with Antec I now use Antec power supplies for socket A computers. The 300 Watt power supply (and KS282 case) is fine for most of them. I usually use one case fan in addition. The 400 Watt power supply (the Antec SX840 is a great case for loaded computers) and might be more appropriate for that many drives. I will be building two 1.4 GHz Athlon XP 1600+ computers next week, each with 256 Mbytes of DDR memory, one 30 gig, 7,200 RPM hard disk, one CD-RW drive, one 250 MByte zip drive, and one 1.4 floppy drive. Each will be built with an Antec KS282 case, Antec 300 Watt power supply, and one Antec 3-pin case fan. I am using Abit KG7 motherboards (wish the KT266A boards were available, but cant wait). See http://duxcw.com/digest/Reviews/Cases/antec/ks282.htm, http://duxcw.com/digest/Howto/buildcom/athlon/ath_1.htm , and http://duxcw.com/digest/Howto/buildcom/socka/1.htm for more info. The only negative on Antic power supplies I have seen is it that they do not have separate power switch on the power supply itself, but that is no big deal. Other than that, they are top notch for quality. I dont know why you need that much memory, but it is next to dirt in cost. Larry

3. RE: AMD-approved power supply?
copperpipe Feb-20-02 12:39 PM
In response to message 2
I just picked up a KS282 for $69 at the local computer store. Some new features of this model: it now comes with the Antec 303XP power supply (180 Watts total on the 3.3/5 V bridges vs. 160 Watts previously), power switch on the power supply box itself, fan monitoring, and printed manual.

I don't care for the 3.5" floppy drive slot on the front..would have preferred a plain half-height slot over the "tongue" cavity. But it's a great case.

I'm testing it out with some old Socket 7 components before I buy another AMD board and processor.


4. RE: AMD-approved power supply?
lbyard Feb-20-02 12:55 PM
In response to message 3
>I don't care for the 3.5" floppy drive slot on the front..would have preferred a plain half-height slot over the "tongue" cavity.

I didn't like it at first either, but it works fine and looks good. I found the greatest weakness was that it had only one exposed 3 drive bay (but that isnt all that bad a weakness as one can use a 3 1/2' to 5 mounting kit). Also, the need for a second open 3 bay has been somewhat diminished because I am not using as many Zip drives as I used to. Larry


5. RE: AMD-approved power supply?
copperpipe Feb-20-02 01:26 PM
In response to message 4
I use all my 5-1/4" bays: CDROM, CDRW or DVDROM, and hard drive mobile rack...so I don't want to use one of them for the floppy drive. The floppy does look good in the 3.5" slot, but it's somewhat of a pain to mount in the drive cage because you have to get its location just right before tightening the screws.

Zip drives? What about the horror stories of the "Click of Death"? I had a 250 MB USB drive which I returned after reading about that. It seemed that buying a CDR/RW drive was a more economical approach.


6. RE: AMD-approved power supply?
lbyard Feb-20-02 01:48 PM
In response to message 5
>The floppy does look good in the 3.5" slot, but it's somewhat of a pain to mount in the drive cage because you have to get its location just right before tightening the screws.

Position the 3 drive in the bay, insert a floppy and adjust, screw in two screws, and then remove the bay. See http://duxcw.com/digest/Howto/buildcom/socka/9.htm for more detail/tricks.

>Zip drives? What about the horror stories of the "Click of Death"?

Agree, and I have been burned more than once by that problem. I believe there was a public action law suite on it.

>It seemed that buying a CDR/RW drive was a more economical approach.

Agree, and that is what I have been recommending. However, that solution (backing-up with a CD-RW) has not been painless either. Larry


7. RE: AMD-approved power supply?
copperpipe Jul-26-02 05:19 AM
In response to message 3
Hi Larry,

I'm building a system for a relative (their Compaq Pentium 866 was destroyed by several viral infections - and they were quoted a $1600 fee to repair it!). Well, in picking up another new Antec KS282 case, I noticed that it now has a model # SL-300 (Smartpower) 300W power supply. The PSU's name plate specifies that it has 220 Watts max combined output on the 3.3V/5V rails which is an upgrade over the 180 Watts in the previous 303XP power supply. The funny thing is that I don't see this SL300 power supply listed in the Antec website.

I'm selling them my ECS K7S5A system (w/heavy discount) and bought myself a Shuttle AK35GT2 w/ an XP1600+ CPU. You know, these new AMD chips sure look flimsy / cheap - prefer the old ceramic ones.

Pardon my ramblings here.

Aloha


8. RE: AMD-approved power supply?
lbyard Jul-26-02 01:30 PM
In response to message 0
Apparently, AMD has stopped doing their approved power syppply list (http://www.amd.com/us-en/Processors/DevelopWithAMD/0,,30_2252_869_4348^4376,00.html). I had no problems with AMD's site although it is rather difficult for me to navigate/find things. I am building myself a new computer. It will use an Antec case and power supply. ECS is not on my list of motherboards I would use, but that could change as I have never used them. I have been building computers since 1977. Larry

9. RE: AMD-approved power supply?
copperpipe Jul-26-02 03:11 PM
In response to message 8
"ECS is not on my list of motherboards I would use..."

I've also taken ECS off my list although it seems that some of the "big boy" motherboard manufacturers are contracting them to assemble their products.

My K7S5As seem very sensitive to any slight physical disturbance: 1)a recent spring cleaning of the case (removed the board) resulted in the 8-beep bootup after reinstallation (had to remove and reseat my RAM chips to correct this - apparently the microscopic sag of the board when it was removed/reinstalled caused the RAM chips to move/slip within their slots to cause the problem - I didn't swing the board around like a baseball bat); 2)a change of power supply likewise resulted in bad electrical contact of the sound card in its PCI slot (had to remove and reseat it - again it seemed that the slight flexing of the board when disconnecting/reconnecting the power connector caused the problem); 3)when I removed my Diamond Viper II AGP video card and reinstalled it, I could not get a post screen unless I frantically press CTRL-ALT DEL several times to reboot (the video card has been since relocated to another board where it works fine).

One Windows crash (don't know what my gaming son did) resulted in CMOS resetting to default values (ended up with IRQ problems with onboard and PCI LAN card and onboard sound and PCI soundcard all active simultaneously).

Comparing the ECS to other boards: I don't have these kind of problems with a Soltek SL75DRV4 (KT266A) and a Shuttle (KT333) system that I built more recently. I've been swapping RAM chips, video cards, and power supplies in/out of these two systems and they don't seem as sensitive as the ECS in this regard. Also, when these boards crash (overclocking experiments), I don't get the CMOS resetting itself back to factory defaults.

My general impression of the ECS board is that it's a very "sensitive" product. It's OK if you just run it continuously and don't open up the case at all, i.e., don't breathe on it. Also, when the ECS board crashes, it crashes somewhat "hard" in terms of the resetting the CMOS setup to factory defaults (a little annoying thing for my family members who are not knowledgeable in BIOS setup).

(Just my 2 cents observations)


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