Should I get a more powerful power supply?


Apr 14, 2011
Question 1
Hey all, just joined Tom's Hardware, and I have also constructed my first pc from the ground up. I was on a budget and spent roughly $625. I didn't buy anything I didn't need, I had a HDD Dvd drive, from my old gateway dx4200 desktop, from which I've upgraded.

This is what I'm running.

Antec 550 watt continuous power supply
asus M4a88TD-v Evo/usb 3 MOBO
AMD Phenom II x4 955 black edition @ 3.2 ghz
2x 4 gb G skill sniper ddr3 @ 1333 (New to overclocking, not sure if I want to yet)
WD 640 gb HDD @ 7200 rpm (I think)
msi hawk gtx 460
Dvd drive from my old gatewat dx 4200(2009)
Windows Vista 64 bit home edition.

Question 2:

Let me know your opinions on how I have my cooling set up.

The case I had was a tad too small, and I was lucky enough to be donated an old computer from an IT store that's probably from the mid to late 90's, with all the old parts in it (I had fun tearing it out.) It's an elite systems Full sized tower. I'm even using the stock fan on the chassis of it, and I put a gateway fan on the front for an intake, so I think I'm getting good airflow. (psu sucks in from top, blows down) (cpu fan does it's thing) (intake on the front, which also blows air by my HDD) (exhaust on rear of chassis.

I've been watching my temps, and the cpu idles at 35-37 C
MOBO runs at 31 C

Question 3:
Like I said, I want to OC my system, if my psu has the cojones.
What kind of precautions and steps should I take so that I don't ruin anything.
1) Nice budget build.
2) Most modern PSU's when top mounted exhaust air out of the case.
3) Your PSU should handle overclocking just fine (I am presuming you either have the BP550 or TP550)
Precautions are to not be in a hurry and do the overclocking in small steps with stability testing in between. There are plenty of good guides if you google even in the overclocking section of this forum.


Your current PSU is fine.

One of my systems has an OC'd Q9550, 4 GB RAM, a GTX260 - a card with similar power requirements to yours, a Gigabyte EP45-UD3P motherboard, 3 hard drives (2.6 TB total) and an optical, and a Soundblaster card all powered by a Corsair 750TX.

Running 3 instances of Prime95 to load the CPU and 3DMark06 to load the GPU, it pulls 375 watts from the wall as measured by my Kill-a-Watt meter. Figuring 80% efficiency, the system pulls 300 watts from the PSU.

I do not see your system pulling significantly more power than mine.


Jun 28, 2007
Nobody should ever ask if their PSU is big enough. Overworking a PSU is one of the worst mistakes most people make. You should use the biggest quality PSU you can afford. What some people will tell you is "excess capicity" is actually an insurance policy, and a cheap one at that. Overworking a PSU WILL cause premature failure of the PSU and MAY cause all sort of weird, intermittent and undiagnosable anomolies in the performance of your machine. Why risk it?