You are here

Seasonic X-Series - PC Notes Dec 2010

For anything relating to music-making on Windows computers, with lots of FAQs. Moderated by Martin Walker.

Re: Seasonic X-Series - PC Notes Dec 2010

Postby Pete Kaine » Tue May 10, 2011 9:52 am

stube40 wrote:
I refer you to an article (http://www.behardware.com/articles/670- ... ption.html) where they did some real power consumption measurements and recommended that 350W was more that enough for most high end systems.

Admittedly, they did create systems which exceeded 460W, but those systems were ridiculously over the top in terms of their specs. Hence, I would suggest that the Seasonic 460W PSU can power a majority of musicians PCs, including their DSPs and medium-sized RAID arrays, without pushing the PSU to the limit and, hence, leaving the PSU with a bit of breathing space.

That article is over 4 years old now through. Power requirements have risen although admittedly mostly in the gaming sector. The highest rated CPU I can see in that bench test weighs in with a 75w requirement where your looking more at 130w now with the current Intels.

It's possible to pull over 1k in a gaming rig. One of our dream p.c's a couple of years ago was pulling 1.2k from the wall socket in benching but it was hardly an average system (Tri SLI FTW ;)). If you take a dual SLI 5.2ghz gaming rig you can clear over 800w's with ease under full load.

Back to the point in hand through your right that your average music maker wouldn't need over 460w in an average system. I think our's pull about 250w/300w at the wall last time I checked but that was a fairly basic spec (High end chip/mid range board/fully loaded with memory/low end gfx/3 or 4 hard drives) and once you load up with UAD cards and other bits hanging off left right and center you'd be heading in the 400W mark.

So why would you want to spec higher than that? PSU's deteriate which is something they failed to mention. Each year and a loss of 5%-10% total load can occur so on a 460w you'd have the potential to be below the power requirement threshold after only a couple of years, especially if you keep adding kit to the system.

Another point is, is that the components are often rated to higher tolerances on higher models so they can withstand far more over time. You notice that on the upper models the active cooling tends to only activate after certain load thresholds are hit and a lot don't tend to need to spin up until after the 50% mark. It's in instances like this a 650w can be benifical noise level wise as it would rarely spin up.


stube40 wrote:
In this case, the Seasonic 460W version of the X-Series is an excellent choice for most musicians. For my own system based on a bus-powered M-Audio FW 410 and a PC that was top level high spec only 2 years ago, my own power measurements with a current clamp show that the 400W version would run my system with plenty of PSU 'headroom' and in (near) blissful silence............

Seasonics are great PSU's and my second choice in spec's. My first choice through are the artical mentioned Enermaxs although annoyingly the best Enermax psu out there is the 1000w/1250w Revolution edition which has amazing load handling and has the lowest noise print of any active I've handled. Being rated that high and pretty much the same as everything else over 850w it's designed as a server psu solution first and foremost (it has a dual 12v board connector setup) and not as a home user bit of kit.... which would explain the price tag! Stepping down the range the Modu+ series they do is the home user one and ranges from 500ish upto around 800ish so makes sense and the shock headlines about 1K systems at home seems a bit over the top.

It's dismissal of servers needing large psu's seems a bit shortsighted through as I say the hardware market has changed since that artical was written. A basic twin hexcore cpu set up with 24GB with a stack of drives would pull 400W+ and you throw in a couple of quadros for rendering and your back over the 1K mark again although I suppose we weren't seeing those figures 4 years ago when that artical was written. You have to keep in mind that the chip firms have roadmaps and products prepared at least 2 or 3 years in advance and firms working closely with them will know the requirements of hardware coming out upto 4 or 5 years further down the line. Just because something seems out of place now, doesn't mean it won't find it's niche in 12 months time as the rest of the market matures around it.

TL;DR I agree with you to an extent at this moment in time, but the are a number of reasons in the broader picture as to why I consider Martin as being right in the long term.
User avatar
Pete Kaine
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3185
Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Manchester
Kit to fuel your G.A.S - https://www.scan.co.uk/shop/pro-audio

Re: Seasonic X-Series - PC Notes Dec 2010

Postby Martin Walker » Wed May 11, 2011 4:40 pm

Wow - what a long thread this is, and only started yesterday :D

I agree with most of what’s been said by both you and Pete. However, it does comes down to a bit of nit-picking in the end ;)

You say:

stube40 wrote:Martin,

In your PC Notes section 12/10 which mentioned Seasonic's X-Series, you stated that 460W probably wasn't good enough for a heavily loaded musician's PC.

I refer you to an article (http://www.behardware.com/articles/670- ... ption.html) where they did some real power consumption measurements and recommended that 350W was more that enough for most high end systems.


However, I still stand by what I said in my column, that “The PSUs are initially available in X400FL (400W) and X460FL (460W) versions, but these wattages are probably not sufficient for the musician whose PC is stuffed to the gills with DSP cards and RAID hard drives. However, they are excellent choices for the more typical i5/i7-based audio PC”.

I know musicians who have four UAD-1 cards installed, and Universal Audio claim a typical power consumption of around 30 watts each, while typical hard drives can take 10 watts each, so RAID and DSP cards ‘could’ add 150 watts to a typical music PC. This is the scenario I envisaged in the above quote.

Moreover, as has been said, many PSUs benefit from being run conservatively rather than near their rated limits.

On the other hand, my measurements indicate that Sandy Bridge systems consume remarkably low numbers of watts when idling compared with most previous CPU families, so this augurs well for the future 8-)


Martin
User avatar
Martin Walker
Moderator
Posts: 16032
Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 9:44 am
Location: Cornwall, UK

Re: Seasonic X-Series - PC Notes Dec 2010

Postby John Roberts » Wed May 11, 2011 5:18 pm

Pete Kaine wrote:

Machine in front of me:

Gigabyte UD3R
i7 950
12GB DDR3
1 X SSD
3 X WD 2B
Nvidia 210 GFX
DVD optical

180w at idle on desktop
290w Cubase running at 85% ASIO load
325w Prime 95 running


Those are truly hideous figures. "Power" DAW indeed!
John Roberts
Poster
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:00 am

Re: Seasonic X-Series - PC Notes Dec 2010

Postby stube40 » Wed May 11, 2011 11:29 pm

Great thread guys!

Pete - I think are pretty much in agreement on must stuff here. I especially agree with your point about other PSU makers publishing unreliable figures. When you can buy a brand new PSU for 20 quid or less (we get them for $20 AUD over here), you have to wonder about how poor the components are and how little time was spent in the development process.

Martin - possibly I was a bit unfair on your article since you haven't said anything in it that's incorrect but I guess it didn't say enough to allow someone who doesn't understand power budgets to establish whether or not the Seasonic X products are suitable for their particular system and hence I felt the need to open up a thread on it. Again, my view is that there are a great deal of modern high-end home studio setups (where having a quiet PC is imperative) that could benefit from both these products. Maybe somebody should write the book "PC power supplies for dummies" - I could have learned alot from it 10 years ago

:D
stube40
Poster
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2005 12:00 am

Re: Seasonic X-Series - PC Notes Dec 2010

Postby Agharta » Wed May 11, 2011 11:58 pm

Don’t forget that reviews of PC hardware that show power consumption for the whole system are measuring AC input and power supplies are rated for DC output.
So for a system that is measured as using 350W at the wall with a P/S that is 85% efficient at that wattage the P/S is actually outputting 297.5W.

My i5-2500K system as a whole consumes ~100W DC with all 4 cores 100% loaded with Orthos. The CPU alone has a TDP of 95W which helps you to see that TDP often has a loose relationship to real world power consumption which many people don’t appreciate.

So 460W DC is a hell of a lot of power especially if it’s from a top tier company like Seasonic.
Agharta
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4079
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2004 12:00 am

Re: Seasonic X-Series - PC Notes Dec 2010

Postby stube40 » Thu May 12, 2011 1:47 am

Agharta wrote:Don’t forget that reviews of PC hardware that show power consumption for the whole system are measuring AC input and power supplies are rated for DC output.
So for a system that is measured as using 350W at the wall with a P/S that is 85% efficient at that wattage the P/S is actually outputting 297.5W.

My i5-2500K system as a whole consumes ~100W DC with all 4 cores 100% loaded with Orthos. The CPU alone has a TDP of 95W which helps you to see that TDP often has a loose relationship to real world power consumption which many people don’t appreciate.

So 460W DC is a hell of a lot of power especially if it’s from a top tier company like Seasonic.

Actually, I'd completely forgotten about PSU efficiency during this thread so thanks for reminding me. I feel pretty dumb for forgetting it since it's THE most important thing in the context of this conversation - Martin only mentioned the X-series because they are fanless and hence quiet. The need for cooling only exists because PSUs are not 100% efficient and have alot of wasted power (exhibited as heat) to get rid of........

Anyway, I agree that this means a PSU rated to 460W with an efficiency power-factor of 0.85 will actually be pulling 541W from the AC socket when running at full capacity. Hence, when taking your measurements from the AC socket, you can scale the results down by the respective power factor to establish what power supply you need.

Saying that, in this case I would imagine that Seasonic have managed to get their power factor in the 0.90 to 0.95 territory. If it was only 0.85 then there would be 80W of power to try and dissipate in a hot, enclosed space without a fan (quite a big ask).
stube40
Poster
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2005 12:00 am

Re: Seasonic X-Series - PC Notes Dec 2010

Postby Agharta » Thu May 12, 2011 2:11 am

stube40 wrote:Saying that, in this case I would imagine that Seasonic have managed to get their power factor in the 0.90 to 0.95 territory. If it was only 0.85 then there would be 80W of power to try and dissipate in a hot, enclosed space without a fan (quite a big ask).
They are 80Plus Gold rated so under a medium to high load you are looking at roughly 87 to 90% efficiency.
Ideally you’d want to use a case with a lower chamber for the P/S as that takes the P/S out of the way of the other heat producing components.
At a full load of 460W it should be pulling ~528W AC which is way more than a typical DAW built with modern power efficient components would ever use.

Power factor is not the correct phrase as I think that relates to a different aspect of P/S performance.
Agharta
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4079
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2004 12:00 am

Re: Seasonic X-Series - PC Notes Dec 2010

Postby stube40 » Thu May 12, 2011 4:53 am

Agharta wrote:
They are 80Plus Gold rated so under a medium to high load you are looking at roughly 87 to 90% efficiency.
Ideally you’d want to use a case with a lower chamber for the P/S as that takes the P/S out of the way of the other heat producing components.
At a full load of 460W it should be pulling ~528W AC which is way more than a typical DAW built with modern power efficient components would ever use.

Power factor is not the correct phrase as I think that relates to a different aspect of P/S performance.

Yes, you're right - they are closely related but are not the same thing. To be rated as an 80PLUS PSU you must have a power-factor of 0.9 or above.
stube40
Poster
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2005 12:00 am

Re: Seasonic X-Series - PC Notes Dec 2010

Postby ezza » Fri May 13, 2011 9:19 am

Hi Peter,

Thanks for the response. I have a case with the PSU at the top. I guess I thought that the PSU heat would just flow out of the back of it. However, I guess what I would be doing is adding a very hot object in the case with the top above it sealed off ...

I'm not sure about the Nexus noise. I'll get the case off and see if it's really that making fan noise. It does suffer from a high pitched whine though...

Thanks,

/erol
ezza
Regular
Posts: 238
Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2004 1:00 am