Power is Everything

Power is Everything

I was swamped in work during the last weeks. For my comeback, I will share my story about an unexpected issue I experienced with my workstation. This is the first time I faced such failure, so it took me a while to identify the root cause. All started with the addition of an extension card. You may recall that I’ve beefed-up my rig few months ago with a bigger CPU and more memory. Well, when you increase the capacity of system, you usually tend to use it. In my case, I found myself short of USB 3.0 ports, so I’ve snapped-in a 4-port board with four dedicated 5 Gbps chips as well as a LP/SATA power connector for a total of 1A available to the ports. The surgery was so benign, that I closed-up the patient without any testing. My bad. As soon as I’ve hit the power button, I heard a very sharp and loud alarm (close to what you get when your fire alarm goes off). The PC seemed powered, but never reached the BIOS. Because of the excruciating sound, I quickly powered the PC off and began the investigations. One piece of important data, is that after upgrading my system in the first place, I’ve noticed that it refused to power-up a couple times. Nothing alarming, switching the power button off on the PSU and waiting few seconds solved the problem. Of course, I checked every component in the machine – removing/swapping them one by one, re-seated every board, but nothing. To make it worst, the sound was so loud that It was impossible to pin point from where it came with confidence. After a while, the only logical conclusion was that the Corsair AX1200 PSU was the culprit. Really? How comes it that a high-end PSU dies on me after only four years? When I looked for a replacement, the AX1200 was not available anymore. Instead of going for the AX1200i – which is not cable-compatible with the AX1200 (so all my braided cables where good for the trash can anyway) –, I’ve opted for the AX1500i. Even though the napkin math was clear, I am drawing 300 Watts tops. At least, it will give me room to expand and will be more efficient. The swap was not a sinecure. I let you check out the pictures, but the AX1500i is a beast, and my case is pretty small and packed. After fiddling for a while, my PC was back among the living and behaves as expected! At least, now I also know that I draw about 250 Watts, with a 91+ efficiency. An unexpected bonus: beside the GPU and the CPU closed loop water cooler fan, nothing is spinning anymore.