Generic PSU

I mean be opening a can of worms here... but

Whats wrong with just going to the store and buying whatever PSU is reasoniable and cheap. There are a lot of questions on here about which PSU to buy. Anyone had bad expierences with a generic PSU. I have built many computers over the years, and never had a problem with PSU, even $5 PSU.

Here are my most recent machines:
2100+ XP, 512 MB PC2100, 12 Case Fans, TI4600, 3 CDROMS, NewQ Eqaulizer, TVTuner, Floppy, 2 HDs. All running off a generic 300 watt powersupply.

My latest build is 2800+ XP, 1 gig of PC3200, 10 fans, TI4600, 2 CD-Roms, NewQ, 1 HD, Similar to above, and I am running on a 400 watt powersupply from the local computer store. It wasn't the cheapest one, but it was only the next step up.

So anyone had bad expeirences with cheaper PSU? Am I just not expierenceing problems becuase I don't do much overclocking?

My Desktop: <A HREF="" target="_new"></A>


Oct 1, 2003
Yeah, I've had probs with cheap psu's. From visiting various forums, there's no end to the probs that bad psu's can cause.

Some cheapo's work OK, others don't. And if you're pushing the power limitations on a cheapo, I think you are bound to have stability probs. Worse still, if the thing goes out on you it may take other components with it as well.

Mobile XP 2600+ (11X200)
Abit NF7-S v 2.0
Maxtor 60GB ATA 133 7200RPM
512MB Corsair Twinx 3200LL
BBA 9800 Pro
Enermax Noisetaker 420 watts


Feb 4, 2004
There's nothing wrong with buying whatever psu is reasonable and cheap, as you put it, be it generic or not. The problem is, like anything else you invest your hard earned cash into, how do you know your investment will be give back a positive return? The best way to minimize potential problems or blunders is do your research and know what your buying and have some understanding of the consequences of your decisions. Now, any piece of hardware can exhibit intermediate problems or breakdown completely. In particular, people buy name brand PSUs based on, in part, their reputation for price, selection, and reliability, since the PSU is arguably the most important component in a computer (besides the function of the computer in the first place).

If I walk into Store X and purchase a generic PSU, I'm taking more of a risk because I'm just buying the part blindly without any research. However, if there were some way to test or research this generic PSU and I found it suitable to my needs, then I can certainly make a case for buying this generic PSU over a name brand PSU. Unfortunately, it is not an easy task to find information on generic PSUs, as you can imagine (unless you properly test it yourself). Furthermore, OC'ers tend to be stingy with this thing called stability. We all would love if any PSU we buy, be it generic or name brand, would be stable, all the time, every time.

If I were picking a PSU blindly, I'd take the name brand (one that I trust, yet I haven't reseached their latest PSU model) over the generic any day of the week, simply because this name brand PSU has a track record and the generic doesn't. I'm not willing to fork over my hard earned cash on a PSU that may or may not work over a PSU from a company that has a good reputation. With a PSU, if you don't know what your buying, and buying a generic PSU makes it harder to obtain the necessary information, your risking the welfare of your other parts. Your CD-ROM goes. OK, I'll buy another one, you might say. Your PSU goes. In this case, not only your PSU is shot, but your mobo and cpu, for instance, may have been affected.

I'm happy that your experience with generic PSUs have been great and I hope they continue to be. But there are more horror stories out there than stories like yours. That's not to say that there are horror stories with name brand PSUs, mind you. And with your rigs, many systems don't consume more than 200W continuous. The first one, although I'm not viewing it as I type this, probably consumes between 100-150W continous and the second a similar low amount. And your generic PSUs can handle 100-150W, obviously. But how do you know your 300 or 400 PSU can handle a true 300 or 400 Watt consumption?

On a sidenote, MaximumPC tested four PSUs with the latest Nvidia video card, due to its supposed 480W PSU requirement. Two were name brands, one was a SFF PSU (250W), and the other was a generic 400W. The two brands (I believe one was the zalman 400) passed with flying colors. The generic crapped out and so did the SFF PSU - as expected. That's not to say that a different generic PSU could've handled the power, but how could you tell just by looking at the chassis and its specs, which may or may not be true in the first place? Why would I want to open up the PSU, voiding the warrenty in the process, to see if it's meaty enough, when I can purchase a quality name brand PSU which has a proven track record?

BTw, I'm not condemning or condoning usage of generic PSUs. Personally, I don't touch them unless I build one myself. You or anyone else is free to make up your mind. I'm just presenting the pros and cons and it is up to you to understand the consequences and rewards of your decision.

Take care :)


Former Staff
One of my sidelines is repairing blown power supplies. Nearly all of them are cheap units that blew out after a fairly short amount of time due to bad capacitors that failed.

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