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What's your PSU failure rate?

Levyrat
  • 74 months ago

I have high regard for a decent power supply, but it's the one piece of a computer I have the least personal experience with, because I've never had one fail. I've replaced a PSU with a with a newer or bigger one, but I've never replaced a blown one. I have three PSUs running computers right now. One is a newish Corsair 500W. One is a 6 or 7 year old Raidmax 450W. The other is a 7 or 8 year old Bestec 200W. They all work just fine, so if you asked me to recommend a brand, I couldn't say. I could tell you that the Bestec 200 really lasts a long time, but that's not helpful advice.

Some of you have worked with dozens, maybe even hundreds of computers, so you have a lot bigger sample size than me. How often do you see PSU failures? To me, 90% of the problems I have are disk drives failures, about 9% are the failure of an added card, and the rest is RAM going bad, but that's out of only about 12 computers, maybe 30 if you include computers at work. What kind of patterns do you see across large numbers of systems?

Update: a couple of days after posting this, I finally got my PSU failure. The Raidmax has gone to Silicon Heaven. Took its computer apart for a thorough cleaning. When I reassembled, it booted right up, but while I was checking the BIOS settings, the keyboard stopped working and the PSU went into funny-noise mode. I gave it a second chance, but I got the same noise, and maybe just a whiff of grilled insulation.

I mourn that power supply. :(

It drove that computer through years of heavy work and fun, in dusty environments and non-air-conditioned summers, and it did it for the last few years on rural Texas power lines. The PSU got so dusty inside once that when I opened it, no components were visible. I do not exaggerate. It was just a round mound of brown in there. And when it finally failed, it failed gracefully without zapping the system.

Raidmax RX-450K, August 2006 to March 2014, R.I.P.

Comments

  • 74 months ago
  • 2 points

At my previous job I had to build a cluster of machines for some parallelized benchmarking and functional testing. It was, in a nutshell, the project that started this site. Anyhow, we ended up built 48 of one machine spec, then another 16 of another spec. The 48 were in service for about two years (I think?). During that time, we lost two hard drives and one power supply. The drives were Western Digital Caviar Blue, and the power supply was an Antec 380W Green. Of the 16 of the other spec, we had one bad motherboard (either dead on arrival, or dead from poor antistatic precautions - I suspect the latter).

Overall, I've seen four dead power supplies, five dead hard drives, one dead motherboard, one dead video card, and IIRC about 4 bad sticks of RAM. In my early days I also managed to roast a CPU by applying too much thermal paste.

  • 74 months ago
  • 1 point

Sounds like it's not real common then. I was just reading the site tonight and thinking about new builds and reliable parts when I realized I had no way to personally judge PSU performance.

It just seemed strange. I have enough broken parts around here to build a broken computer, but I don't have a broken PSU to not run it. :(

  • 74 months ago
  • 2 points

I've only personally worked with about 9-12 computers and 1 was a Dell xps 200, the most expensive of them the PSU started overheating randomly and then one day the fan couldn't handle the heat and constant full throttle and lost it's bearings. So I always buy coarsair, antec, or xfx. Never anything "super valu".

  • 74 months ago
  • 2 points

Just as when Phillip mentioned suspected poor antistatic precaution, there are a lot of things that can contribute to component failures. To say that any component lasts a long time or died after a month can say a lot or nothing about it, based on its usage, but even more when you know the skill level of the user.

Your comment about Bestec 200 hits the nail on the head...the simple lifespan of a component without any other information says nothing.
Now, if you said "The Bestec 200 lasted 10 years with an overclocked i7 and 780 SLI and was rarely shutdown" that's far more noteworthy.

Personally, the bulk of component failure I've dealt with is hard drive failure, or cheap card readers/add-ons. I've never had any issues with motherboard/RAM/CPU/PSU but then again I don't overclock my systems either.

So, just out of curiosity are you looking for specific data on which PSU's fail more on a brand-name basis or what?

  • 74 months ago
  • 1 point

Not looking for specifics, Shark. It's just that reading hardware sites, sometimes it's easy to get the impression that parts are dropping like flies, because people ask about problem parts. You know, nobody comes on and says, "My graphics card is working. What should I do?"

So I was wondering if PSU failure was more common than I thought, and if I needed to think more about it. It seems like the standard advice is still good. Don't get a cheap PSU, don't abuse it, don't worry.

  • 74 months ago
  • 1 point

You're spot on with that advice. If you don't skimp on your PSU and don't put too much stress on it, it'll last you quite a number of builds

  • 74 months ago
  • 1 point

In my experiences, I have seen plenty of power supplies die. The vast majority of them were generic that came with very budget cases. A couple were the cheap Cooler Master ones, neither lasted more than 6-8 months.

Most recently I had two Corsair HX1000's die in the span of a month. They died from the one thing that hasn't been mentioned yet, a "dirty" power source. Purchased a solid AVR/UPS and the new PSU has had no hiccups.

From what I have seen, most people don't use very good anti-surge protector's or AVR's. Unprotected, any serious ripple in voltage and thats it for the PSU.

Otherwise, I have only seen 4 or 5 cpu's die Only one of which was overclocked. A few motherboards and ram, but mainly hard drives.

  • 74 months ago
  • 1 point

The case ones always tend to bight it fast lol. Seasonic has been going strong for me.

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