Print Story I feel the power
By TheophileEscargot (Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 09:25:14 PM EST) Ask Husi, Watching, Museums, PC hardware, power supply, PSU, Multipoll (all tags)

PC hardware advice wanted
My computer power supply fan has become noisy again (was quiet for a few days). Makes it a drag to watch DVDs and have the computer on when I'm at home. This fills me with fear given my appalling ineptitude with hardware (see I am an idiot who doesn't deserve nice things) Have tried blowing out the dust with a can of air: didn't fix it.

Possible courses of action:

  • Open up the power supply, see if there's fluff around the fan's spindle or something. Reluctant to do this, since it means opening up what's supposed to be a sealed unit, and possibly electrocuting myself with the stored charge on the capacitors. I'm crap enough at the things I'm supposed to be able to do.
  • Take it back to the shop to get a new power supply fitted. Ideal technical solution, but means a hassle and doing without it for a while. Also seems like a bit of a wimp-out
  • Replace the power supply myself. Grudgingly, leaning towards this option.
So, I have a few questions about power supplies
  1. Current unit is 450W. Is this flexible: can I get away with a 400W replacement? How about a higher replacement?
  2. My power supply sits at the top back, about a centimetre from the top of the case. Some of the units seem to have fans on the broader side (top or bottom?). Will these work in my case?
  3. Any recommendations for what power supply to buy? Have surfed around and looked at:
    1. Zalman ZM400B-APS ATX Ultra-Quiet PSU 400 (here, here)
    2. Thermaltake Silent 560W
    3. DabsValue 550W PSU Gold Silent 12cm
What I'm Watching
Saw Stealth on DVD after reading about it in diaries by spacejack and 606. Definitely a highly entertaining movie: about an ominously calm-voiced A.I. joining an elite fighter squadron. Plot's rather predictable and the special effects have cartoonishly over-clean CGI, though I liked the way they had little contrails coming off the wingtips... pretty much all the time. Plot's fairly well-handled making thorough use of all the aspects of the setup: they don't waste anything but the squeal. Politics are rather like Team America: World Police taken seriously. Definitely worth a look.

I give it a #C80520 #C80520 on my new multidimensional rating scale. This is an RGB value where R indicates entertainment value, G originality, and B intellectual stimulation. Goes from from 00 to FF in all cases.

Dropped in at the Michelangelo: Money and Medals. Basically just a couple of dozen Florentine coins and medals. Unsurprisingly, some of the connections with Michelangelo are rather tenuous. Not much point in going there just to see this unless you're particularly interested in coins.

< Good Morning, Great Britain | BBC White season: 'Rivers of Blood' >
I feel the power | 16 comments (16 topical, 0 hidden)
Fans by gazbo (4.00 / 2) #1 Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 10:14:57 PM EST
Unless you're doing some heavy duty stuff, 400w should be plenty.

It's also pretty easy to replace power supplies - the unit itself just screws in and out, and all the power connectors are just like plugging lego together to get something the right shape.  Plus they're keyed so you can't put them in backwards.

It'll take you 20 minutes or so, but the only mistake you should be able to make is to forget to plug something back in.

I recommend always assuming 7th normal form where items in a text column are not allowed to rhyme.

You are mistaken. by komet (4.00 / 1) #6 Mon Feb 27, 2006 at 12:29:13 AM EST
they're keyed so you can't put them in backwards

I'm afraid that this isn't the case for hard drive connectors with poor tolerances, when you're pissed on expensive tequila. Don't ask how I know.

<ni> komet: You are functionally illiterate as regards trashy erotica.

[ Parent ]
Also unkeyed FDD connectors |nt by CwazyWabbit (4.00 / 1) #9 Mon Feb 27, 2006 at 12:57:15 AM EST

[ Parent ]
Huh by gazbo (4.00 / 1) #10 Mon Feb 27, 2006 at 01:31:13 AM EST
I've found all my connectors to be keyed, HDD & FDD included.  Not the angled corner design, but two ridges on one side.

I built a computer from scratch after coming back from the pub.  I remain amazed that it worked.

I recommend always assuming 7th normal form where items in a text column are not allowed to rhyme.

[ Parent ]
Didn't used to be by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #13 Mon Feb 27, 2006 at 07:19:47 AM EST
In the bad ol' days, IDE cords were easy to plug in backwards. There was a red stripe on one end, but since they could be plugged in either way at both the motherboard and drive, this was fairly useless.

They seemed to stop doing this around '94 or thereabouts.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
Well by bobdole (2.00 / 0) #16 Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 03:06:55 PM EST
even the ridged ones can be forced in the wrong way around on certain drives, on the other hand the last time I saw a harddrive fritz on being plugged in the wrong way around was on an IBM ps/2, which would be considered cheating as it didn't use IDE and had power on the cable and flipping it certainly made stuff go up a one-way street...

Some IDE cords also has that one pin blocked out making you destroy stuff if you "accidentally" force it in the wrong way around...
-- The revolution will not be televised.

[ Parent ]
Warning by Dr H0ffm4n (4.00 / 1) #7 Mon Feb 27, 2006 at 12:30:48 AM EST
Make sure the plugs are fully inserted. I've blown a couple of DVD drives by not pushing the tight fitting buggers all the way in.

[ Parent ]
Does this apply to... say... Compaq? by ObviousTroll (4.00 / 1) #11 Mon Feb 27, 2006 at 03:10:01 AM EST
The reason I ask is that I know Compaq likes to use slightly non-standard stuff, which is why Ubuntu can't adjust the speeds of the fans in the currently installed PS for my website.

Damn thing sounds like I'm racing my truck engine with the clutch in.

[ Parent ]
I have no idea by gazbo (4.00 / 1) #12 Mon Feb 27, 2006 at 04:28:28 AM EST
I've only experience with off-the-shelf standard hardware, I'm afraid.

I recommend always assuming 7th normal form where items in a text column are not allowed to rhyme.

[ Parent ]
I think a Mac would be about your level. by Rogerborg (4.00 / 3) #2 Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 10:53:56 PM EST
Failing that, don't you have a man around who can take it apart for you?

Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
Fight the powah by Breaker (4.00 / 1) #3 Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 11:39:06 PM EST
PSU's are a doddle to replace, as gazbo says.  If you have a graphics card that feeds directly off the PSU then you need to pay attention to the output rating.  Underpowering motherboards is a bugger to diagnose.

PSU's exist in about 3 form factors, so you're better off removing the PSU, taking it to a shop and showing it to them.  Or get a bit of paper and mark where the PSU expects to be mounted.  Not that I've had to drill cases to get a PSU to fit, oh no.

As far as fan location goes, well, the fan needs to push air out of the PSU.  If it's not venting directly outside the case, that's asking for trouble.

You could try and squirt a tiny amount of WD40 into the spindle; don't overdo it though.

Before taking the cover of the PC off, ground yourself on the case while it's still plugged in.    Static can really ruin your day.

On Fans and Colours by TurboThy (4.00 / 1) #4 Mon Feb 27, 2006 at 12:25:01 AM EST
Like Gazbo said, 400 Watts should be sufficient, but it really depends on what other hardware is in there (duh). I haven't tried any of the supposedly-silent power supplys1, but I have a Zalman CPU fan and is very pleased by its silenicity.

Another option would be to not switch the power supply but instead switch the entire cabinet to a specially designed silent one. I have the Antec Sonata, and it rocks. Downside is that you have to move all the hardware, but it's not that hard. It has ugly blue lights on the front, but that's a Good Thing as I otherwise can't discern whether the thing is switched on or not due to the absence of annoying noise.

1) Is it ``supplys'' or ``supplies'' in teh plural? I don't know whether you crazy brits do the y&arr;ie substitution with nouns as well as verbs.
Sommerhus til salg, første række til Kattegat.

Arf by TurboThy (4.00 / 1) #5 Mon Feb 27, 2006 at 12:26:34 AM EST
Dabs? by Dr H0ffm4n (4.00 / 1) #8 Mon Feb 27, 2006 at 12:32:16 AM EST

Even I've changed a power supply by nebbish (2.00 / 0) #14 Tue Feb 28, 2006 at 12:10:11 AM EST
It's not hard at all. To be on the safe side I'd stick to the same one you're replacing, but other people here will know better.

It's political correctness gone mad!

Discharge capacitors. by Tonatiuh (2.00 / 0) #15 Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 02:49:17 PM EST
Unplug computer from power outlet.

If it has a stand by kind of switch (normally in the back of the computer) turn it on.

Then press the power switch of your computer like if you were turning it on.

Go and fix yourself a coffee (in reality half a minute will be enough).

It is done.

I feel the power | 16 comments (16 topical, 0 hidden)