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El Quintron
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Question about Modular PSUs

Why are the failure rates higher than non-modular ones?

I'm asking out of curiosity because I'm not planning on replacing my non-modular PSU any time soon, but I'd like to know.
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n_w95482
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join:2005-08-03
Ukiah, CA
What numbers in particular are you referencing? I haven't seen that before.

So far I have two modular power supplies (Seasonic M12D and SS-460FL), and a few more regular ones. Both of the modular ones have been working great, and I've been using the M12D for four years under heavy load.
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Krisnatharok
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reply to El Quintron
Are they? I've never heard that before.


El Quintron
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said by Krisnatharok:

Are they? I've never heard that before.

Interesting.

When I bought my current PSU (2009-ish) I was told that the modular PSUs have a higher failure rate than the non-modular ones. Is this not the case?
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El Quintron
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reply to El Quintron
To be clear, I'm asking this is true or not, so far the consensus appears that it isn't.
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Krisnatharok
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reply to El Quintron
Modularity is usually a convenience/luxury option found on better-made PSUs. e.g. I haven't really seen unrated, unprotected PSUs offered with modular cables, but there are plenty of active PFC, silver/gold/platinum-rated Modular PSUs.

So the hypothesis would be that silver/gold/platinum PSUs tend to have higher failure rates than the $20 specials that lack any sort of efficiency rating or power protection.

That seems unlikely. Who told you that modular PSUs fail more?

The only cause for failure I could think of is someone constantly plugging in and unplugging the modular cables, leading to premature wear on the connectors. I just completely tore apart my computer for the first time in 3.5 years, so I don't see constant fiddling to be a likely factor.
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El Quintron
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said by Krisnatharok:

That seems unlikely. Who told you that modular PSUs fail more?

The only cause for failure I could think of is someone constantly plugging in and unplugging the modular cables, leading to premature wear on the connectors.

When I build the first incarnation of this machine the guy seemed to be bent on getting me the best deal possible (maybe that's what I wanted at the time) so he recommended a non-modular PSU as well as stating that it was more reliable. I'm curious if that still stands because at the rate I open my machine up (once every 3 months at least) I figured it would be much more practical to get a Modular PSU.

EQ
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Krisnatharok
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1 recommendation

You rewire your PC every 3 months? Why? All you should need to do is dust-bust the inside of it every month or so, no need to tear it down. I would think a complete tear-down once every 12-18 months (or longer) is all that's needed.

Check this out:

Corsair 750w Bronze options:
CORSAIR CX Series CX750 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply - $84
CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX750M 750W ATX12V v2.31 / EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Semi Modular High Performance Power Supply - $100
CORSAIR TX Series CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V v2.3 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - $125 (old model)

Corsair 750w Gold options:
CORSAIR HX Series HX750 750W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply - $135
CORSAIR Professional Series Gold AX750 (CMPSU-750AX) 750W ATX12V v2.31 / EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply - $166

The best you can get with the bronze PSUs is semi-modular and a 5 year warranty. Both gold-rated PSUs are fully modular and come with a 7 year warranty.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have an AX750.
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koitsu
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reply to El Quintron
said by El Quintron:

To be clear, I'm asking this is true or not, so far the consensus appears that it isn't.

It isn't. Whoever ""this guy"" is that stated ""[a non-modular PSU is] more reliable"" is, quite simply, making shit up. Krisnatharok See Profile's explanation above (re: plugging/unplugging crap constantly) is the only explanation, and even that's stretching it a bit.

In case you haven't realised it yet, most "PC enthusiasts" and "gamers" alike -- have zero familiarity with the actual underlying technology they're using. Rephrased: just because they can build a PC doesn't mean they understand EE, circuit design, subsystem protocols, how a kernel works, how device drivers actually interface with a piece of hardware, blah blah blah. There's just a lot of "lol tihs 1ne tiem tehre were thes guyss takling abont som movei caled teh mantrix lol its realley old" bullshit. They tend to resort to boisterous claims about "reliability" and "stability" even though there's often little to no evidence supporting their claim. It reminds me of audiophile nutjobs (this one is still my favourite, with this as the runner-up).

Actual/real engineers tend to not come out of the woodwork to combat the bullshit because it'd be a full-time job trying to properly educate everyone. I'm one of the few who does spend the time to try and educate and help people, and there are lots of times I'm wrong + learn something in the process. Such is being human. But there's a big difference between that and just blindly stating something is "more reliable". The guy should just be honest with you: "I'm not familiar with modular PSUs, they seem new, so I'm a bit afraid of them. Is my fear justified?"
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Krisnatharok
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I definitely fall into the realm of a non-engineer enthusiast, but I try to use logic in a situation where someone is serving up a BS claim ("higher-rated, more expensive PSUs fail more often than unrated/low-efficiency ones" is what this guy is claiming, in effect), or bring my questions to someone like you, who is awesome at explaining the why's and how's of the underlying technology.

If he's right, we can start recommending $15 PSUs to everyone and save them a bunch of money.
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rusdi
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1 recommendation

reply to El Quintron
said by El Quintron:

Why are the failure rates higher than non-modular ones?

I think this is a baseless claim.
I have owned both modular, and non-modular PSUs, and as has been stated above, higher end units, (modular, or not) typically have much better life span, for the reasons indicated.

I definitely fall into the category of "can assemble components, with reasonable competency, but am a complete idiot with regards to what makes those components work", but when I buy those components, I thoroughly research & try to match, (make sure of compatibility) with the other components of my build.

Lately I trend toward Corsair PSUs, (Gold, or Platinum series) modular. Had extremely good service from 'em, and the premium price is off-set with reliability, and stable voltage performance.

Jus' my observations, and in no way an indication of how your results might be.

Having said all that, keep in mind, the BEST BUILT PSU can still fail well below it's expected life. It's an electronic component, and subject to failure for a variety of reasons, not to exclude amateur building, (probably the most likely reason for failure).
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norwegian
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Outback

2 edits

1 recommendation

reply to Krisnatharok
said by Krisnatharok:

You rewire your PC every 3 months?

Why not - add a mate's hdd, add a card; graphics, tv, sound etc without your own wants can leave you pulling down quite often without cleaning.

----

As for the question raised.

I've not used a modular supply so can not compare, but my hard-wired supplies have handled my abuse as well as the power company's for some years.

I've not used a modular supply but hope they last as good as the hard-wired supplies I have. As for better; I think the term is lost in the question. I would think a modular supply would be better - on wiring and specifically on aesthetics. Sure the cabling would be tidier and less of a spiderweb, but would that equate to better quality? I doubt it but expect the fact the box and cables pull apart, you may find some companies pick better hardware for tails and such because they expect you to play with it all.

The plain hard-wired psu's include the bottom of the range supplies too, hence the lean in quality being lob-sided....nothing really unusual, just the English language words and sales pitches helping you miss the obvious......we all fall for it I'm afraid.

Edit: grammar
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koitsu
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reply to Krisnatharok
said by Krisnatharok:

I definitely fall into the realm of a non-engineer enthusiast ...

The difference with you -- and most of the folks here on DSLR/BBR -- is that you guys ask the right questions, and also contribute coherent, logical (using your brains), and experience-based tips. And when you're wrong, you don't just argue nonsensical points, you instead said "Hey, can you help explain where I was wrong so I can learn?" We all keep one another in check too (about facts, etc.) which I think is fantastic -- like I said, I'm wrong quite often, and I love when someone here helps clue me in. In the end, everyone wins in some way or another, even if we can't always solve the issue.

These are the things that makes the DSLR/BBR PC/tech boards significantly better than "enthusiast" forums. Though I will admit there are some of those forums which have excellent information on them (the two I liken to here are HardOCP and SilentPCReview), they don't have the same feel; here there's almost an unspoken camaraderie.
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El Quintron
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said by koitsu:

here there's almost an unspoken camaraderie.

I think we all want to learn, and not necessarily boast about how our rigs are more baddass than another. Which is fine with me.
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El Quintron
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reply to norwegian
said by norwegian:

said by Krisnatharok:

You rewire your PC every 3 months?

Why not - add a mate's hdd, add a card; graphics, tv, sound etc without your own wants can leave you pulling down quite often without cleaning.

Pretty much. New GPU, new SSD, Audio cards... if anything I do know where everything is on my motherboard, and I could not have said that when I first got into this.
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Krisnatharok
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You rewire the whole PC every time you add a GPU or HDD?


El Quintron
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said by Krisnatharok:

You rewire the whole PC every time you add a GPU or HDD?

Not a full re-wire no.

I open it up every ~3 months to either add something, clean it or see if I can organize the wiring better.

I'm one of those people that really can't leave well enough alone when it comes to my Desktop.
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koitsu
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I'm similar in this regard, actually. I open mine up every 3 months or so as well, and in the process I always find one or two things to improve upon (usually running of cables/wiring) when I do it. I usually open my system to clean out dust bunnies, the CPU fan, GPU fan, and case fans. I don't tend to do this during the winter though, as the added heat from the PC does keep one side of my apartment warmer than it could be (gotta love buildings built in the 1940s, fantastic insulation, not. :P)
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Crash Gordon
Drive It Like You Stole It

join:2004-06-08
Smyrna, GA
reply to El Quintron
A good quality PSU (Modular or not) should be no more or less reliable than the other.
As others have already stated, the person that told you that was full of BS.

For the "rewire/re route cables" every few months. On a new build, once I get everything in the case and tested for DOA parts (with cables going everywhere), I then take a hour or two (yes 1-2 hours) to do some cable management, but try to have some forthought as to adding extra drives and such. I may have to add/route a SATA cable or two but the power connections are in place at the back of the drive bay.


pnjunction
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reply to El Quintron
I have heard people call the modular connections another potential point of failure, but I don't think the probability of that is very high at all unless you are buying something cheap (in which case you're better off to put your money into a higher-quality non-modular unit).

Wow guys re-organizing wires every few months?? I tried to do a decent job when I built my computer but I have gotten lazy: the SSD I added months ago is still sitting in the middle of the open space hanging from the cables.


El Quintron
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1 edit
said by pnjunction:

Wow guys re-organizing wires every few months?? I tried to do a decent job when I built my computer but I have gotten lazy: the SSD I added months ago is still sitting in the middle of the open space hanging from the cables.

It's also pretty good excuse to go and hide out in the basement when my mother shows up.

edit: Mother in law... lol joke's on me.

decx
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reply to pnjunction
said by pnjunction:

I have heard people call the modular connections another potential point of failure, but I don't think the probability of that is very high at all unless you are buying something cheap (in which case you're better off to put your money into a higher-quality non-modular unit).

That's the point that makes the OP's premise valid. The problem is that many people tend to skimp on PSUs and when they want a modular one (those being costlier than comparable hardwired units as they are) they just get the cheapest one with the wattage they want. With the additional cheap connector and soldering on those PSUs it's not hard to fathom how some people would get the idea that modular PSUs are less reliable.

Good quality modular PSUs from OEMs such as Seasonic and CWT should be just as reliable as comparable hardwired version. Plus they have the advantage of the user being able to swap cable should one get damaged.