Out of all the components in your PC, the power supply is the best positioned to ruin your day on its way to the Great Parts Bucket in the Sky. If your GPU fails, it’ll likely only impact your graphics card. RAM and storage failures can be more damaging, especially if corrupted data is written to a drive or file as part of the failure process, but you rarely hear about a RAM failure taking out a power supply or a dead hard drive wrecking a CPU. Most component failures are specific to themselves, with other losses roped in as collateral damage.
This is not the case with power supplies. A dying power supply can and sometimes will kill other hardware. It can also set your system on fire in the process. I’ve had a PC burst into flames without warning. If I hadn’t looked back over my shoulder at the odd sound the (actively burning) floppy drive was making, I would have had a very different day.
According to follow-up testing conducted by Gamers Nexus on these units, fully 5 in 10 samples of 750W and 850W PSUs they tested failed explosively. This is backed up by a TechPowerUp review of the same 750W unit, which notes: “The primary switching FETs blew up with a hell of a bang.” Their review and summary of the situation weighs in at 30 minutes, but we’ve embedded it below:
Tech websites used to sometimes throw a cheap Chinese power supply into PSU roundups as a way of illustrating the danger of buying from various no-name companies. It made the round-ups more interesting to read — one could take bets on whether units would fail at 25 percent of load, or if they’d make it all the way to 50 – 60 percent before melting down and/or blowing up. Keeping this kind of garbage out of the DIY PC market isn’t just a matter of convenience.
Newegg, frankly, has not been a good partner to PC builders or gamers throughout the pandemic. We have no problem with the site’s decision to use a lottery for deciding who can buy GPUs — we advocated for resellers to find ways to ensure cards were more likely to go to gamers instead of miners last year, and a lottery is one way of doing that. But Newegg’s decision to force gamers to buy product bundles or to pay for its PC-building services have soured me on a company I’ve done business with for 20+ years. Finding out that one of the mandatory products Newegg made people buy was responsible for sufficient complaints to spark this kind of investigation is icing on the cake. It’s also a great example of why a component vendor has no business forcing people to buy anything.
Every gamer and PC builder who owns one of these power supplies deserves a refund and replacement, whether the supplies have failed yet or not. TechPowerUp’s reviewer notes:
Of course, I sent Gigabyte an email with all of my findings and spoke to the power R&D supervisor, who informed me that they checked five samples which all survived their OPP evaluation test. What left a negative impression on me was that they didn’t bother asking for my sample to be sent back to check on what went wrong. With such a colossal failure on hand, the respective brand usually immediately asks for the sample to be returned for a closer examination to find the source of the problem.
This is an unacceptable response from Gigabyte and indicative of shoddy quality control. Gamers Nexus should not have needed to conduct its own investigation into the problem in the first place; that’s literally Gigabyte’s job. If you own one of these units and it failed since December, rest assured that the problem was reported to the company, which decided not to investigate it beyond testing five units off the line. This was obviously insufficient and both Gigabyte and Newegg share responsibility for foisting known-bad power supplies on gamers.
We recommend picking your hardware vendors and retailers with this in mind. Plenty of companies are selling these PSUs besides Newegg, presumably, but being forced to buy defective hardware is not an acceptable situation for anyone. We would additionally no longer consider any Gigabyte power supply for a system build until the company has both rectified the situation and explained the mistakes it made that led to this situation in the first place.
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