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Will any old PSU do?

Patch
Grafter
Posts: 122
Registered: 30-07-2007

Will any old PSU do?

We have a computer (an Evesham desktop thats about 4 years old) which every so often simply shuts down. No warnings or anything. You can turn it on straight away, and there are no messages, it just starts up as normal.
It was suggested that it could be a power supply issue, so I was looking at getting a replacement. The current PSU is a FSP300-60PN(PF) and you can see details on this site.
We are in the middle of the country, so do not have any PC shops near by, so I was going to try getting one on-line, but wanted to see if anyone had any experience of replacing PSU's.
Obviously I should make sure the replacement:

  • is the same physical size (140 x 150 x 86 mm)

  • Has at least the same power rating (300w)


But are there any other things I should try and ensure?
Any wisdom gratefully received.
Patch
9 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,469
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Will any old PSU do?

The size given means its a standard ATX PSU size so that is all you need to ensure when buying on-line.
Does the PC have SATA (Serial ATA) drives? if so does the current PSU use SATA power / data connectors. If no then its a standard PSU
Given the age of the PC, any current ATX PSU of the same rating or higher will fit, allowing for SATA power if needed.
For sizes etc see http://www.evercase.co.uk/PowerSupplyMeasurement.htm
Plusnet Alumni (retired) orbrey
Plusnet Alumni (retired)
Posts: 10,540
Registered: 18-07-2007

Re: Will any old PSU do?

To be honest random shutdowns without warning are usually (in my experience) caused by something overheating, usually the CPU. Before you go and buy a new PSU I'd advise basically cleaning the case out, as dust in heatsinks and fans can seriously degrade cooling performance.
You can check the cpu temperature while it's running by using a free utility called Core Temp - just unzip and run it and it will tell you how hot your CPU is. If it's over 60 degrees (this is generalising) it's likely that it's getting too hot and shutting down occasionally and it'd probably be worth taking the side off the case (unplug and switch off everything first!) and carefully hoovering it all out - especially all the fans, the CPU heatsink and the power supply.
It's not guaranteed but it's worth a lot and could save you the cost of a new PSU.
Hope that helps,
Patch
Grafter
Posts: 122
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Will any old PSU do?

Hi Peter,
The drives are simple old fashioned EIDE drives, with parallel ribon data cables, so I guess we will be fine with a standard PSU.
From the FSP website, it appears the existing psu is ATX12V ver 1.3
I see that now there is a ATX12V ver 2.01
Will a ver 2.01 work with our old system, or do I need to try and find a ver 1.3.
Thanks
Patch
Patch
Grafter
Posts: 122
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Will any old PSU do?

Hi Matt,
Thanks for the tip, I'll try the temp monitor and see where we go from there. And then keep the PSU option in mind in case.
Sheers
Patch
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,469
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Will any old PSU do?

v2.01 is fully backward compatible to v1.3. The main difference is a longer (by 6 or 8 pins I think) mobo power connector with many v2.01 PSUs having the extra as a detachable part to the mobo connector.
As for an over temp CPU problem, that would normally just freeze the system (or in the case of P4 processors will slow the system down). You suggest the whole thing powers off which is normally the PSU possibly going over temp or just failing.
One more thing... cheap PSUs tend to vary in current ratings on +5v/+3.3V & +12v rails and don't always have the current rating of more expensive ones so I would aim to get a 350W or 400W to be sure it is OK. The price difference is negligible.
Patch
Grafter
Posts: 122
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Will any old PSU do?

Great, thanks for the clarification on the two ATX versions Peter.
I did just try the Core temp application, but it reported that the CPU in the PC did not support this, so no great advance here. But I do hope to be able to get some canned air to blast the heatsinks just in case.
But the machine does just shut down, without hanging first, which I think was what led us to the belief it was a PSU related problem.
I'll look at the options once we have tried clearing out any dust!
Thanks
Patch
Plusnet Alumni (retired) orbrey
Plusnet Alumni (retired)
Posts: 10,540
Registered: 18-07-2007

Re: Will any old PSU do?

Quote
As for an over temp CPU problem, that would normally just freeze the system (or in the case of P4 processors will slow the system down). You suggest the whole thing powers off which is normally the PSU possibly going over temp or just failing.

I think it varies according to the PC you have, the last 3 I've run (motherboards: abit nf7, then DFI lanparty nf3 250gb and finally an abit IP35 pro) have all shut down when temp limits have been hit.
Community Veteran
Posts: 374
Registered: 22-08-2007

Re: Will any old PSU do?

Quote from: Peter
As for an over temp CPU problem, that would normally just freeze the system (or in the case of P4 processors will slow the system down). You suggest the whole thing powers off which is normally the PSU possibly going over temp or just failing.

Err, that is usually not usually the case that it just freezes if its getting too hot, nearly all the machines I have seen since I built my 1Ghz Atlon machine have all had entries in the BIOS to power down the machine if the CPU temp rises to a dangerous level or a level that can be set by the user.
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Registered: 14-04-2007

Re: Will any old PSU do?

A colleague of mine has a high spec Dell PC at home that started to lock up or shut down after running for an hour or so.
Repeated calls to Dell support resulted in a drivers disc.
He was about to buy a new computer and asked my advice about what model and spec to go for.
I asked why he was buying a new PC and he explained.
I suggested he check the processor heatsink which he did and found it clogged with dust.
Since cleaning the heatsink the PC has performed faultlessly saving him over £1000.

Customer and Forum Moderator.