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Sunday, 10 April 2011

Can a Better Power Supply Increase Performance?

A decent power supply is essential to provide components with the needed power to function effectively. Under powered components such as processors and GPUs may run at reduced clock speeds if they aren't fed their required amount of fuel.

Power supplies can vary in quality. Higher end power supplies generally have a higher wattage output and greater efficiency. There are also modular power supplies where cables can be added or removed for a tidy system. However this is not a factor in performance.

500W Storm Silent (top)
700W OCZ StealthXStream (bottom)
For a system to perform well, a minimum wattage must be met by the power supply. An estimate can be calculated by online calculators such as the eXtreme Power Supply Calculator. ( It should be noted that some commercial calculators may quote higher requirements to sell more expensive products.

I will be testing system performance of the 500W Storm Silent and 700W OCZ StealthXStream power supplies. Both power supplies meet the requirements of my system so in theory there should be no improvements in performance. I will be testing performance using PCMark Vantage which tests many aspects of everyday usage.

PCMark is the current release of Futuremark's PC benchmarking software. The software gives a score for memories, TV and movies, gaming, music, communications, productivity and HDD. However i will only be providing the overall score.

The chart shows near level performance. So there you have it. A better power supply doesn't mean better performance. As long as the power supply is suited to your system then performance will be defined by the other components.

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