Discussion Don't buy cheap PSU, learn from me.

Jul 22, 2020
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I haven't been into gaming for years but I got a 3D printer and setup linux on an old laptop. I noticed it came with Steam and a lot of older games were really cheap. So that sparked on idea. I couldn't justify a modern gaming PC for a £1000 plus but could I build a cheaper system for a budget of £200, using secondhand bits from ebay?

The answer is yes, you can. A cheap socket 1150 board for £35, old Pentium G3258 for a tenner, tenner for a £500GB hard driver and a tenner for 4GB of ram. I treated myself to a £90 RX580 4GB (I know, a bit too much but couldn't resist). Bought a case for £30 with a 500W PSU. Installed linux, bought the Witcher trilogy off steam and run it on ultra. To my amazement it worked perfectly.

Till the PSU died and it went out in style. Lightening storm, bangs, smoke, the works. Now naively I assumed that the 500W PSU the case came with ( CTI Pemtium Model:500U), would be upto the job. Its rated output was more than enough.

I was wrong, the unit was garbage, in fact judging by the way it failed I would call it borderline dangerous and would not want to fit a computer with such a PSU.

Replaced with a Corsair 550CV (yes I know another cheapie but I haven't got a large budget). Fortunately my build started up, the CTI had at least sacrificed itself to save the other components. Even with the cheap Corsair the quality difference was night and day. Braided cables and just had the feel of better quality.

So moral here is, yes you can build a cheap gaming rig for £200 to play last generation games but you really shouldn't. Realistically the minimum you should spend on a PSU is £50 and that is the bare minimum. I got lucky, no fire, no destroyed computer.

My advice is if you have a CTI PSU, take it out of your case and throw it in the bin. It isn't worth the risk.
 
Reactions: King_V

thx1138v2

Distinguished
Good advice. It really surprises me that people will stick the cheapest PSU they can find in an otherwise excellent build. Everything in the computer relies on reliable, stable power so that is not the place to go cheap..
 
Reactions: King_V

Phillip Corcoran

Titan
Moderator
We are always telling system builders (and GPU upgraders) to stick to our recommended PSU brands and not to buy cheap. Many of them will buy a a GPU costing several hundred pounds and pair it with a cheap PSU which could damage that shiny new GPU ---- makes no sense.
 
Reactions: King_V
Jul 22, 2020
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Mine isn't really a proper build, it is a load of cheap bits in a case. I am amazed it works, so I can't really justify 3 figures on a power supply.

Besides if a PSU is advertised as 500W, it should be able to supply 500W or less without blowing up. It is incredible that manufacturers can get away with selling dangerous rubbish in 2020
 

thx1138v2

Distinguished
"Besides if a PSU is advertised as 500W, it should be able to supply 500W or less without blowing up. " The key word in that sentence is "should". And how long "should" that PSU be able to supply that 500W?

"It is incredible that manufacturers can get away with selling dangerous rubbish in 2020." But they do because people demand it. The only way to make a PSU more cheaply is to reduce the quality and/or number of the protection circuits.
 
That's the crux. Yeah... the VS and CV are "cheap" Corsair PSUs. But at least they shut down instead of blowing up. Most of the cheap garbage out there tend to blow up and often take out hardware when they fail. A very major difference to note.
 

Wolfshadw

Titan
Moderator
I would also point out that there is a "(bad) luck of the draw" element at play here as well. If a power supply manufacturer consistently produced power supplies that failed, that company would be out of business in short order. Even "crap" brands must have a passable success rate, but these are not power supplies designed for enthusiasts. These are power supplies designed as replacements for pre-built systems.

My old Dell had a 350 watt power supply that died, but here's a cheap 450 watt unit that MUST be better!
And typically, since there no real draw on the power supply anyway, it's serviceable.

Gotta remember that as large as our Enthusiast PC segment is, we are just a very small part of the PC world in general.

-Wolf sends
 

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