Saturday, October 21, 2006

ATX power supplies

I admit I'm behind the times with PC hardware. That comes with being a bottom feeder. I usually buy technology only when it gets close to be thrown out of the stores. I like special offers, particularly clearances. So, yes, most of my stuff here is on the outdated end. But it's cheap, some of it even free.

So, last weekend when I bought a power supply to replace the rather old power supply in chef, I went for a half-way decent, but relatively cheap power supply from CoolerMaster (400W, reg. $39.90, onsale for $27.50). If only I had paid more attention to the labels.

ATX12V 2.01 actually means not only serial ATA power connectors and this extra 4pin 12V connector for the CPU (which I don't need since I don't have those). It also means that instead of 20 pins the ATX mainboard connector now has 24 pins, apparently to satisfy the power needs of PCI Express (which I don't have either).

The ca. 2001 motherboard in chef has a 20pin connector, and yes the pinout of the lower 20 pins is all backwards compatible to the old socket. However, in their infinite wisdom the Acorp motherboard designers placed a couple capacitors right next to the mainboard power connector. Exactly in the spot where the extra 4 pins would hang over. Ugh.

It's not too bad, though. I was eyeing to upgrade my Linux rackmount upstairs with something more modern anyways (the mainboard of that computer currently does duty in my MythTV box). Might as well keep the new power supply, and move the power supply from the rackmount into Tatjana's computer for now.

Update (Nov 21):
I ended up buying an adapter cable at Central Computer that translates the 24pin ATX powersupply connect to a 20pin connect as needed by my motherboard. The old power supply from chef is going to move to Tatjana's computer. We are not using that computer nearly as often...

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