Power + Houses

Published Date
01 - Nov - 2006
| Last Updated
01 - Nov - 2006
Power + Houses
Lately I've had a lot of friends asking me about upgrading their cabinets and/or power supplies… seems like the latest breed of processors and graphics cards are ushering in a whole new need.

I was pleased to see quite a few people actually writing in with queries like "What cabinet should I use with my configuration," and "Which SMPS should I buy." The choice of cabinet is very important, and a good cabinet can enhance overall system stability by ensuring proper ventilation. A power supply is just as important, perhaps even more so, because it's responsible for supplying enough juice to allow that processor, RAM, graphics card, disk and optical drives, and motherboard to operate. Insufficient power could mean a damaged CPU or graphics card at worst, and a frequently-unstable computer at best.

As cabinets go, there are no fixed specs, no hard and fast rule. It's just that it should be able to house all your components, and should be well ventilated. A decent cabinet will have a minimum of two fans, one that sucks cool air inside (mostly at the front), and the other throwing out hot air (typically at the rear). The larger the fans the better: two reasons-first, greater CFM (cubic feet per minute), and second, lower decibels.

As for the power supply, it's better to have more power. Contrary to popular belief, a 500W power supply doesn't mean larger power bills, because the PC will only consume as much power as what the sum total of its components demands. There's another thing to watch out for-many power supplies that come labelled as "400 watts" may actually only deliver 250! Certain brands like Antec and Cooler Master do command a premium, but they stick to being honest with their specifications, and this does pay off in the long run as far as the life of your PC components go. VIP is one Indian brand that has a good range. Zebronics is another; look for their Diamond series.

I recently went on a trip to Lamington Road with a friend who had just blown his 350 W PSU. The first guy we went to promptly coughed up an Intex ZEDX priced at Rs 1,200, and a couple of VIP models-the VIP755 and their Compact 333B for Rs 1,450 and 1,550 respectively. Nothing very inspiring; we moved on.

Dealer #2 had a couple of Zebronics models-Azalea (Rs 1,650) and Amazon (Rs 2,449), the former in quite an attractive case, while the latter had this huge fan that I personally felt was more of a fancy add-on. We came across a few power supplies worth a mention-VIP's 500 W model that costs a mere Rs 950, and a Zebronics 500 W for Rs 825. Both these weren't the true ratings, so we decided to give them a pass.

Moving on to the next guy, who seemed to have more stuff, we saw two beautiful Antec cabinets-an all-black SLK 3000B that costs Rs 3,200, and an all-aluminium Super Lanboy costing

Rs 6,500. My friend shook his head: "Waaaaay out of my budget!" This dealer also had an Intex Nova cabinet, pretty cool-looking, for just 1,400 bucks. Also on display was another VIP offering, the TU150, which costs Rs 2,550. My friend liked one of the Zebronics models on display, called "Dragon" (he's somewhat of a Kung-fu fan!). This one was rather good-looking, and had two side fans, with the option of fitting even more fans inside. So that was done-one down, one to go!

We also saw an assortment of power supplies on offer, including a Vantec 460 W at Rs 4,000, and a few Antec models-the 350 W True Power (Rs 3000), the 400 W True Power (Rs 4,500) and a new 550 W Trio at Rs 7,900. All these are rated at their actual power values, so a 350 W Antec should be as good as a 450 W or even a 500 W regular PSU. Despite my rattling on about this, my friend just couldn't afford to invest in one of these power supplies (he'd already overshot his intended budget with the cabinet). So we settled for something decent-a 500 W VIP PSU for Rs 950.

That was that, a stable computing experience, with a little glitz courtesy the flashy cabinet at a bargain price of Rs 2,675-five minutes of haggling got me 75 bucks shaved off the price, so Rs 2,600 is what we finally paid.

The look of pride on my friend's face as he made home with his acquisitions was worth the weekend spent deal-hunting. Though, personally, I would rather he had bought a better power supply instead of a cool-looking cabinet.

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