Power supply issues - Dell inspiron 531 - Techist - Tech Forum

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Old 12-30-2007, 03:21 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Power supply issues - Dell inspiron 531

Ok, new question. I am going to replace the supply. After like 4 hours of chasing dell support who know nothing about hardware upgrades, I figured out what type i need to buy. Through googling for forums like this one.

I need a standard ATX power supply with a 24pin or 20+4pin connector and the little 4 pin cpu connector. Dell learned from their old proprietary PSUs.

But, the dell support people told me that if i put a power supply of more than 300watts into my pc it will burn up the mother board! I could see this is true if i put maybe a 800w power supply in there. WTF is that? I hope this guy didn't know what he was talking about.

To be honest i thought that mother boards weren't rated on watts, so you can use a 800w power supply with any mother board as long as you are using the watts. (mabey like 5 hard disks and dual 8800's in sli)

Another thing that occurred to me is mabey he meant temperature wise too high a power PSU might make the case too hot.

Original Post
I recently bought a dell inspiron 531, nice machine (2gb ram, amd athlon 64 x2 5000+)
Cost me 309.99 from their outlet.

But I am having issues with the power in the case! It is not that it doesn't work, it is that the power supply is a piece of garbage. In the case there are 4 SATA power connectors, a 4pin minimolex floppy connector, and the normal ones the mobo uses. 3 of the sata power connectors are in use by the drives. That leaves 1 sata power connector and the annoying 4 pin. My issue lies in the fact that I need power to a graphics card I bought. It requires either a 6 pin PCIe power connector or 2 standard 4 pin molex connectors.

This leaves me with several cumbersome options:

1. Get 2 sata->4pin connectors and a sata y pin to power the cd/dvd drives.
Are these Y splitters safe? It could burn out a wire or my power supply I have read.

2. Get a sata->4pin connector and some sort of 4pin mini to 4pin molex adapter.
Do they even make connectors to go from mini 4 pin to the 4pin molex?
Because it's the mini connector does it mean it has less power?

3. Buy a whole new power supply.
I have been looking around on newegg.com, and I saw this one.
Newegg.com - Thermaltake TR2 W0070RUC ATX 430W Power Supply 115/ 230 V - Retail
it has all the pins i am looking for and has a very high rating to boot.

4. Get 2 sata->4pin connectors and not use one of my DVD/CD drives.
This seems cheapest and easiest to do. But it will bite me in the butt next time I want to copy a cd/dvd. Mabey by then we will all use HDDVD or blu-ray.

Another issue is finding sata->4pin connectors. Apparently everybody is supposed to have 4pin connectors to spare! Why does dell have to decide that I don't need any?!

Does anybody have an opinion on what I should do? I don't know much about all the motherboard power supply stuff. (Heck, it's because I have always had enough connectors!)
If you need more info or want pictures or something just ask. I am very willing to help you to help me!

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Old 12-30-2007, 04:18 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Power supply issues - Dell inspiron 531

So your PSU doesn't have a SINGLE standard 4 pin Molex connector on it?

I would say go with a new PSU, but the trouble there becomes, is the DELL motherboard an ATX motherboard, or some proprietary format? If it isn't ATX compliant, then an aftermarket PSU will do no good unless it is specifically for that setup.

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Old 12-30-2007, 04:33 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Power supply issues - Dell inspiron 531

I know! There isn't a SINGLE little 4pin molex connector at all on this thing! It's 300w and would probably die from a graphics card anyway. I bet it only has like 30% efficiency at peak power usage.

I am almost 100% sure it's an ATX board. The main connector is a 24 pin with the -5v pin empty. After doing some research that's the standard now i think. Or mabey this isn't how i can tell. But the connectors are the same. It's either ATX or ATX12v.

I will contact dell support, i heard it is amazing.

Edit: dell support sucks. The guy kept telling me i needed a graphics card that didn't have a power connector on it. Because he said it is proprietary.

Upon further investigation people have talked about replacing the power supply in inspiron 531's on theri forums and nobody has said that you couldn't. But nobody has said that they successfully did either :|
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Old 12-30-2007, 07:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Power supply issues - Dell inspiron 531

Just to let everybody know i decided what i was going to do, but i have a new issue.

Not sure what wattage to get. I edited the first post.
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Old 12-30-2007, 07:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Power supply issues - Dell inspiron 531

Anything from like 450 and over is fine. It depends on who made it more so than the watts.

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Old 12-30-2007, 08:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Power supply issues - Dell inspiron 531

Ok so this guy is crazy, too high of wattage won't fry my board?

Found this exact power supply for $1.84 less from circuit city. I like newegg for their comprehensive product specs and reviews though.

Buy the Thermaltake PurePower 430W Power Supply and other Computer power supplies at circuitcity.com
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Old 12-30-2007, 08:51 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Exclamation Re: Power supply issues - Dell inspiron 531

Originally Posted by Yuffles View Post
My issue lies in the fact that I need power to a graphics card I bought. It requires either a 6 pin PCIe power connector or 2 standard 4 pin molex connectors.
I think I can help. I just installed a graphics card on my machine. As it turns out we share the exact same PC with one exception. My cpu is the 64 X2 4000, and not a 64 X2 5000 as yours system is. My graphics card also required an external power supply to be connected. My mobo is also filled up with additional drives just like yours is. We have the same exact system. As it was my first attempt at doing anything under the hood, understandably I was a little nervous because I did not want to screw anything up. I didn't as it turns out. It took me a good 10 minutes just to locate that 2 pin connector on the mobo needed to connect the power cable from my graphics card. Once locating the two pin power supply point, I went ahead and connected the external power supply for the graphics card - job finished. It seems as if your graphics card is different than mine as you mentioned a different number of pins on your power cable connectors. For my graphics card, I had two options actually attached to the external power cable that were to be connected to the graphics card itself; a two pin and a four pin connector. At the other end, just one two pin connector to be connected to the mobo. My graphics card is the NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GT 256 MB. I know this one is fully connected and working because I already installed it and it's in full operation. There is a two pin opening on our/your motherboard - find it, it's there. I suggest to either get a different external cable for your graphics card if allowable or get the same graphics card I have because as I said, it worked for me just fine, and we do have the same exact machine. I hope this helps you. Good luck!
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Old 12-30-2007, 09:01 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Power supply issues - Dell inspiron 531

The I-531 uses an 24 pin ATX powersupply @ 80% efficiency. To much power will not fry your MB. PSU only produces what the PC needs. A 500w PSU is what it can produce at max load. If you pc only needs 300w, then that is what the PSU will produce. Another way to put is your home outlets are 115v, 15 amp circuits. 15 amps = 1500 watts. If you plug a 100 watt light bulb into the outlet, it will not blow the light bulb. 1500 watts is the max you can use from the circuit before the breaker trips. Replace the PSU with a 450-550w 24 or 20+4 ATX PSU and you will be fine. You may want to look for modular cables also. That makes it a little easier to pick the cables you need and keep others out of the case.

Here is another option that may make it easier if you have a spare 5.25" drive. PSU
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Old 12-30-2007, 10:43 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Power supply issues - Dell inspiron 531

Thanks for the help guys. I resolved my problem with what psu i would need finally. I love this forum. Def will stay!
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Old 12-31-2007, 02:58 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Wink Re: Power supply issues - Dell inspiron 531

Glad to hear it Yuffles. That was my first post. I think I will stay too! This is an awesome forum!

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