Buying PSUs for Mining

Mining is power intensive. We all know that. If you’re working on a mining farm bigger than a handful of cards, you’re going to want to make a good decision when it comes to buying PSUs. So without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the lessons I have learnt (all from experience) when it comes to buying a mining power supply.

Don’t buy those cheap PSUs with the high advertised power outputs.
Yes you know the ones i’m talking about. A quick look on ebay shows these today under the brands “Sumvision” and “Gamemax”- they really ought to be under the brand “Quick2Smoke” because they are junk. I think all miners make the mistake of buying these at least once. You set your system up, and it all starts mining away, and you clap yourself on the back and think “Boy, I sure am clever!”. Then a week goes by and it’s all great and you think you’ve got the system beat. Then the following week your system is down, and won’t come back up. You hit that power button: nothing happens. Hit it a few more times. Still nothing. Then BANG the PSU blows up! You recoil in shock and bash your head into something. Then you sweat as you plug your valuable components into another rig and pray that the exploding power supply didn’t kill them. Maybe it did, maybe it didn’t, either way your head hurts and the room smells of smoke. Just don’t buy these, at all, ever.

Buying used is probably okay, but not always:
When i started mining, I bought a load of new power supplies. Finding I needed more than expected, I headed over to Ebay to see what bargains I could find. Thinking I was a cleverest miner in town, I picked up a range of PSUs, some of them great deals (a 1050w Corsair supply for £70!) . Some of them, like the 1050w Corsair, works great. However, another 800w Corsair supply I bought worked for about a week, then started making a high whine and loosing stability. Of 6 used PSUs I bought, 5 are still running fine 16 weeks later.  The main benefit to buying used is they’ve already lost their new to used value- so when you go to sell them as long as they still work you’ll probably recuperate all of what you spent. Look out for bargains, normally auctions ending at weird times, and make sure you don’t buy anything that has been opened or tampered with.

Watch for bargains:
Computer hardware is a business of thin margins. Generally speaking it’s worth shopping around, but with most components there is only so low the price will get. It’s not like a pair of trainers where they can discount them by 75% one day. Most of the time, the lowest price across the stocking retailers is as low as the price is going to get. However, if you’re clever you can often find killer deals on power supplies. The main thing I’ve learnt to look out for is End Of Life products. I bought Cooler Master 700w supplies- 20 of them, for £40 each. They are not exactly the worlds best supply, but they can hold a trio of RX 480 cards perfectly stable. Today the Ebay price for these is £70 each. That’s nearly twice the price I paid! They were end of the life, so the retailers were getting rid of them. Scan also recently started doing warrantied refurbished Corsair PSU, for about 70% of RRP. That was a great deal- but people spotted them and they sold out. So when you do see the deals, jump on them.

Stick to the big brands, and don’t worry about how much they cost:
The big brands- Antec, Corsair, Seasonic, you know the ones. Buy those. They are good. They work. They have a warranty. PSUs hold their value better than almost any other electronic device you can buy. In 3 years, power supplies will be fundamentally the same. Technology here is not racing forwards. Supplies from 10 years ago maybe didn’t have such big draw ratings, and maybe they were less efficient, but plug one into a computer from today and it will still work just fine. So quit worrying about the big price tags, you’re tying funds up but you’re not loosing more than 25% of them. That’s the mind set you have to get into as a miner. Focus on buying parts that work and keep working, and evaluate the cost of ownership as much as the initial outlay.

Think about using more lower rated supplies, rather than one big one:
Running a system on multiple PSUs is easy. So if you’re building a rig with say 6 cards needing 1300w, rather than buying one big 1500w PSU, buy two 700w PSUs. The 1500w supply maybe £200, and will be tough to sell when you’re done with it as demand for supplies these big is thin. However a pair of 700w PSUs at £70 each is a big saving, and will be easier to sell for most of their value when you’re done with them. You don’t need any special hardware to plug two supplies into one mining rig. I won’t explain the method here, but look it up, or message me if you cant figure it out.

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