Power Tripping

For at least a week now, my desktop PC has been DOA from a problem that manifested itself as hard drive failure. The drives (2×120 GB SATA in a RAID-0) were making odd noises, screeches and whines and causing data delays.

After talking it over with a couple people, I decided to crack open the case and take a look at the power situation. For some reason, I’d thought that I had my Enermax 465 in this box, but to my surprise, it was a piece of crap 350W thing. Worse yet, when I power chained everything, I ended up with both drives AND the video card AND a fan AND a cold light AND the front case light, all running off the same power pole. God, was that dumb.

A trip to CompUSA yesterday yielded a new Antec TruePower power supply for the box, including a separate power pole just for Serial ATA drives (which includes true SATA power spec cables, which you can’t get from the 4-pin Molex converters).

Fired the box back up, and ran an exhaustive drive test. One drive was just fine, but apparently the other one took permanent damage. The noises are, of course, gone. So I yanked out the now broken drive, and am in the process of re-building that box in the background.

This was a lesson I thought I’d already learned, but now I’m going to pay much closer attention. Don’t use cheap power supplies in boxes you care about. Buy from respected names (Enermax, Vantec, Thermaltake, Zalman, or Antec’s TruePower line). The extra few dollars is well worth the investment to protect your PC!

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