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About Piezo

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  1. I've been having some fun with my computer power supply lately; I went to buy a new 550W power supply at CompscrUSA to replace my 350W that I feared may not be able to keep up with my new 2.8GHz CPU that I was planning on buying (and boy was that ever a trip) to replace my 2.0A GHz that I had been using for over two years. When I got to the store, I was not surprised to be disappointed. It was either the CompUSA brand or the really badass and expensive brand. I went with the latter, and the 600W bitch cost me $130.

    I didn't plan on installing it that night except the fan in the back of my current one started to chatter. It did that a couple of weeks ago, and I just flexed the case a little and that got it to stop. Unfortunately it was not going to stop chattering, so I had to install a new power supply, and how convenient it was that I had just purchased one not a few short hours ago. ¬_¬

    Once installed I noticed immediately that the fans were much louder, and louder still even after I changed the speed to the slowest setting (it had a three speed switch on the back) compared the the old two fan one, minus the chattering.

    Last weekend the computer show came in town, and I knew what I was going to look for before I got there. One thing I noticed is that there were a lot of different kinds of power supplies, heck these things are like cars in that there's so damn many different kinds. I saw someone selling 550W power supplies for $35 so I bought one. The first thing I liked about it is that it only had one 120mm fan in the bottom, which meant it would be a lot more quiet compared to the four fan beast in my box right now. The first thing I noticed however is that it smelled like burnt plastic right out of the bag. It was the kind of aroma my ill-fated 300W gave off before it croaked. I installed it and it worked, so I left it on over night.

    The smell was still there the next morning, so I decided to take it back to the guy I bought it from for an exchange since he wouldn't accept returns. I got the only other one he had and it smelled just as foul. He tested it and it worked, so I took it and went my way. Walking around the computer show I noticed all kinds of supplies people were selling with so many fan configurations and colors and brands that I really wished I had looked around more before I jumped to buy that one. I found one that was much better and only $5 more expensive that I could have bought if I had seen it before.

    Later I spoke to a guy there that was selling hardware as well as power supplies and he told me that sometimes they use an enamel on the windings that smells like that and the smell should go away after a couple of days. He also told me about how you can tell the quality of a power supply by comparing how much it weighs to another. Apparently the heavier ones have larger rectifiers, I assume that means just higher power rated diodes, as well as bigger heat sinks. Mine certainly wasn't that heavy, and it was likely rated by peak power instead of average power.
    So I ended up with an A+Power and got rid of the Mad Dog. The 550W may be cheap, but taking the Mad Dog back put $100 back in my pocket. If the computer ever shuts off on me when I crank all of the drives while playing a 3D accelerated game then I'll consider buying a new one.

    Anyway, can anyone confirm that some supplies just smell bad for a while or is it only a short matter of time before my computer has a meltdown?

    1. Bloodshedder


      I've never heard of new supplies smelling burned. Of course, if you buy a 550W supply for only $35, be prepared for failure. In the realm of power supplies, you definitely get what you pay for. I paid about $40 for a 420W supply from Enlight over a year ago.

      If I get an el cheapo power supply, it's only for an auxiliary or server system. I wouldn't trust my main desktop with a no-name brand.

    2. Piezo


      Well it is a name brand, but a very cheap one. The damn thing still doesn't smell good, but the smell hasn't gotten worse, so I think I'm okay for now. The best one I've had is the 300W I used to use (I could have swore it was 350) and it was a JGE brand, which I have never seen anywhere else. I replaced the fans in it and put it in my other computer I hope to someday use as a server and shelfed the one that was already in it, which was a Codegen, which is also a 300W, very light, and doesn't have a main switch in the back of it, which I wouldn't want in any computer I use.