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measuring power consumption on my computer

by mko / October 10, 2005 11:04 AM PDT

is there a way to measure the amount of wattage all the hardware in my computer is using?

reason is, i'm planning to upgrade my graphics card, and the last time i upgraded to an nvidia 5700, i got a message that the computer would not be able to take full advatage of the card because i didn't have enough power,,,,so the card "powered down" in order to run.

well now, the new computer i have has 300W. it has an ati x300, but i want to get an nvidia 6600gt pciX card. the card manufacturer says the nvidia uses 60-70watts. so i need an app that measures the wattage all my hardware is using.

PS...300W, wXP home, 3.2ghz cpu, 1gb ram, 120hhd, on board ethernet, onboard realtek sound card. i can foresee adding an external usb powered seagate ONLY WHEN NEEDED.

is there an app? thanks all

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For an estimate...
by John.Wilkinson / October 10, 2005 11:17 AM PDT

I don't believe there's a program that can measure your actual usage, but I recommend this calculator to estimate the wattage your computer uses based upon what components you have installed. That should give you a good idea of what size of a PSU you need. Just remember that a PSU doesn't necessarilly put out the wattage stated (cheaper ones tend to cut corners), and that their performance degrades over time. So, to account for inevitability and future upgrades, make sure you get one that's 50W-100W higher than what you need.

Hope this helps,

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Check what I just finished.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 10, 2005 11:23 AM PDT

The kid's machine fell victum to the dread bad motherboard capacitors. So here's the short list of parts in the new machine.

1. 680Watt PSU @ 22 bucks.
2. Athlon 64, motherboard, new heatsink/fan.
3. New case with better ventilation.

We moved the rest over and it seems fine.

I'm sure the machine does not require such a power supply but why skimp?


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i know i should change the power supply, but,,,,
by mko / October 10, 2005 12:36 PM PDT

i coulda built a computer with the help of my friends. the sony vaio came at a price i could not refuse,,,also factoring the hassle free use of a computer i don't have to diddle with.

buying a power supply means diddling and nuisanse work. so i'm just trying to avoid the bother.

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Let me be more blunt.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 10, 2005 11:12 PM PDT

It was not funny when a friend's overtaxed power supply went up in smoke. Not only did the power supply expire but it also failed in such a way to fry the motherboard, CPU and cards.

This lesson is sometimes only learned firsthand. Don't push your luck with power supplies.

It is not "diddling and nuisanse work".

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Think a minute
by Willy / October 10, 2005 11:17 PM PDT

"You got a flat tire, but hey it's only flat on the bottom why repair".

You truly need to think replacing the psu. Just run it w/o replacing and see what happens. It should work great for awhile or not. When the psu does fail or starts to act flaky, remember all the other componets/devices attached could start to fail too. So what do you want to do?

tada -----Willy Happy

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Actually yes
by Ray Harinec / October 10, 2005 11:25 AM PDT

Do a Google search for Kill A Watt. I bought mine from cyberguys, but it seems that they no longer stock it, but google gives numerous places that sell it.

Remember though that will measure the AC input power to the system which will include all the efficiency losses.

Assume that your power supply is 65% efficient [they run from 60 to 70 per cent]. Thus multiply the reading by 0.65 to get what the output of the power supply is providing to your hardware.

The easiest solution though would simply be to buy a higher wattage supply, 400 to 450 watts. Unfortunately there were a generation of 300 watt supplies that simply couldn't actually supply that wattage. It got so bad that the PS industry finally got around to building better power supplies.

they usually make two grades, a standar model or a better one, that usually uses a name such as "True Power" or something similar.

You really can't put too high a wattage rating supply in.

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No ifs, ands, and buts
by Willy / October 10, 2005 11:35 AM PDT

You can **** around measuring wattage, but just install a higher wattage psu and be done with it. You need more power and plus you may need abit more later so get the largest psu you can afford. Typical units offered are in the 400W+ range, but for the same price if you google abit, 500W+ or better even. Remember, cheap is cheap but even a generic 500W unit is better than 300W one. Plus, most video vendors suggest you have at least 350W for stable output. Further, if can afford it a namebrand psu is a real plus on stable voltage outputs.

tada -----Willy Happy

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