Logan, Wendell, need your insight on PSU wattage

Hi Guys and everyone else at theTEK,

Before I begin, yes I did read the rules, yes I know you mentioned that questions here must be specific to one of you guys exclusively and well yes, I do want your particular opinions regarding my question, but besides that this is my first post, and the only reason I signed up is because I have been watching your videos morning and evening regarding all your info and tips regarding various components, and I have grown to like you guys very much from the way your personalities come across from your videos, so even if I'm breaking a rule or two, I guess the 1st post rule will get me off it... if not, maybe the mushy flattery :D Am honest about the compliments though, so not trying to be cheeky here, please don't take it the wrong way :) Anyway, onwards and upwards..my query..

I am a freelance digital illustrator and working my way towards 2D/3D Character Design and Rigging.

I currently own a previous gen MSI GT70 (i7 3rdgen) with a single GTX 675M with all the rest of the bells and whistles like 12GB ram and the BD drive, 1080 screen etc.

With my laptop I have a 24" Eizo Flexscan IPS attached through hdmi (hdmi coz my lappy doesn't have a DP out)

Here's a look..don't scoff :D I know it's rather modest, but it gets the job done. Umm..no those aren't pills on the table, they're a high quality ink I had to import from china. Yes, I love music, that's a pair of AudioTechnica M50s..I cannot imagine working long hours without music. And yes I took that picture right now, just after signing up, you can see theTEK open, wohoo! I hope this picture shows up, it's a publically shared pic from my G+ profile.

 It bears mention why I use what people might call a rather lame machine for what I do. Well, I live in Pakistan and in the summers there are power outages like you wouldn't believe even if I told you. Up to 3 hours each with 1 hour of electricity in between, so essentially a total of 6 hours of electricity per day at the very worst in the summers, no exclamation mark needed :)

The range of my work extends from simple word-processing. I am also a part time french teacher and also teach german at a basic level, so yep I have to do a LOT of word-processing when it comes down to it. Also do content writing when clients ask sometimes (used to before, full time).

However my core usage is for Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and InDeisgn, along with Corel Painter, ArtRage4 and Sketchbook Pro.

Also as I mentioned, I am working towards 3D character design and rigging and so I am now beginning to use Maya and 3DS Max as well as I expand into that direction. It was my ultimate goal actually from the time I stepped towards design and illustration (I was a full-time digital content manager in a digital marketing agency and left that to pursue art and design), due solely because I've been a PC gamer since the very beginning..yes, the beginning.. you can read a bit about that from my "about me" on my profile if you get a minute :)

So now I am building a new desktop because I have arranged a 4kVA pure sinewave backup supply and so I can support a full desktop machine which will more or less exclusively run on the backup supply.

Here are the components of my build:


800W CorsairGS (need help with that)

Corsair Vengeance 16GB 1600 BUS (will up that to 32 along with an additional R9 280x)

Corsair 240GB GTX NEUTRON (x2)

WD 1TB caviar black (expansion to additional 4TB)

Asus Z87 Pro

Intel Core i7 4770K

Corsair Hydro H100i

GigaByte R9 280X (x2) (expansion to perhaps 2x 290Xs

I don't think I'll be adding any optical drives, I already have an external DVD burner, and I think I will opt for an external BD Writer if I ever need it, internal drives get very very dusty where I live so I personally prefer external drives which I can pack up and store away after usage.

Now, there's something very puzzling and confusing for me with my build...the POWER CONSUMPTION.

I will be putting 2 R9 280Xs into the machine, perhaps not simultaneously, but I will skipping a month or so in between. Perhaps even upgrading to 2x 290Xs later on.

There are two conflicting issues which I have.

On this link given on perhaps your website or another youtube channel:


The power consumption of my build comes out to be somewhere around 771W (with 5 performance 120mm fans, 4 usb devices), and a recommended one of 821W

But a very similar build, with a single nVidia card by LinusTechTIps channel, Linus used a mere 550W PSU for the build?! And the system power consumption was around 480W or so only at max load.

I had initially calculated all the TDPs of my components manually, coming up to around 690~700W and was going to select the Corsair AX760 (because Logan you had mentioned that it's better to go with a platinum-rated powersupply over a gold-rated one any day), then when I went to that PSU calculator site, and it gave a power rating of way way above what I had imagined the power usage would be and now I'm thinking about an 800W corsair GS which is gold certified, or even a CM Hybrid Silent Pro 850W

A point worth mentioning is that I won't be adding something like an AMD 7990 or even two, those are way way overblown in price here where I live, and they don't even have sales on those anywhere, so those are out of the question simply on price alone.

I also won't be adding additional drives to the build, except maybe just 1 more mechanical drive, a 4TB as the new main storage and make the 1TB one a scratch disk for Photoshop etc. I don't like adding too many drives, it makes work a real pain and hassle locating files and folders sometimes despite good naming conventions.

So basically I won't be expanding the build once I have it set up, and at most swapping out old components for new ones, like maybe 2400 BUS ram, but not crazy 4-way sli or something. I'm not willing to go and blindly get an AX1200 (1200i not available here), because I am not adding anything which falls into the "overkill" category (things I really don't need practically), and also because believe it or not, despite all this stuff, budget is limited and I am trying to save where I can, so trying to go with what is sufficient but not overdoing it. 

Please PLEASE help me with this guys..my build is on hold just because of this. It would mean a lot.

Regards and lots of love from me to theTEK and all of your team,


You could just look up reviews for your proposed gpu config and go from there:

  • 280x crossfire around 560w total system load (tweaktown review)
  • 290x crossfire around 780w total system load (hardocp review)

Add to this figure overhead so your psu isnt at its limit (say 100w or so) and you should be good. Just be sure to get a decent brand. Going cheap will end in tears.

One cant make comparisons between a single nvidia gpu build using a 550w psu and what you are planning to build. Very different kettle of fish.

Now not many people follow this but in my A+ certified class they said that your power supply should be 33% over the maximum power required by the system JUST in case you want to upgrade in the future. However lots of people don't follow this rule.

To be honest you NEVER want to skimp on your power supply.

I think an 850W power supply should do you just fine. But if you REALLY, TRULY, want to be safe (maybe an overkill safe) get a 1000W (probably won't need to upgrade that thing for over five years).

that is one loonngggg post....

one things to note is that TDP means thermal design power. This is not the amount of power it uses but rather the rated heat output in thermal watts.

Often times the actual power consumption is lower.

That is a 4th gen intel i7. They are very efficient and will not use a lot of power. However because it's haswell (4th gen) it will use A LOT of power when overclocked. you didn't mention overclocking in your post and I'd advise you not to if power consumption is a concern. The part performs VERY well at stock. albeit it will perform better OC'd, it just may not be worth it.

in short a 850W PSU will be fine.  each 280x will use around 220W compared to its rated 250W TDP. However the 290x's use significantly more power. I personally would get a 900-1000W psu fo accomidate for those and still have some overhead. as gamingFTW said it's good to have overhead. lower load on PSU = longer life.