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Thread: How much surge protection is built into a PSU?

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    Default How much surge protection is built into a PSU?

    We have talked about surge protectors. Elsewhere we are discussing UPS systems. Now I read that Biostar has announced a surge-suppressing mb (here).

    As minimal as it is, this surge-suppressing capacity would only apply to surges passing through a PSU to the motherboard. So how much surge does a PSU suppress, anyway?

    (This reminds my random brain of the old nonsense question:
    How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?)
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    No. The Biostar board has surge suppression on the LAN and USB ports. Those are ports for external connections that could be susceptible to surges.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jonnyGURU View Post
    No. The Biostar board has surge suppression on the LAN and USB ports. Those are ports for external connections that could be susceptible to surges.
    Thanks for the clarification.

    But the question remains open: how much surge does a PSU suppress since a PSU suppresses surges?
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    You knew I was wearing my woodchuck shirt today?

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    how much surge does a PSU suppress since a PSU suppresses surges?
    All ATX PSUs are required to have some minimal tolerance of surges but your question is like asking, "How far do cars go on one tank of gas?" That question is just way too generalized with way too many variables to answer.

    For example, how big is the tank? How efficient is the engine? At what speed are you driving? How good is the gas? How efficient a driver are you? How many stop signs and red lights? What altitude are you driving? Uphill or downhill? How heavy is the car? How much cargo? What is the weather like? And on and on and on...

    In other words, if you want a specific answer, you need to ask about a specific PSU model. But for a very generalized answer, the ATX Form Factor Power Supply Design Guide, for Desktop Form Factors, Revision 1.2, February 2008 (see section 3) requires only minimal protection. Typically, even the most basic, entry-level PSU has a MOV or two on the AC input side.

    But note even the best surge and spike protection does absolutely NOTHING for low voltage anomalies like sags (opposite of surges), dips/dropouts (opposite of spikes) or long-duration sags (brownouts).

    It is not the PSU maker's job to ensure your home or facility has clean power. Plus, the computer's PSU, even if fully surge and spike protected, provides zero protection to your monitor(s), router, modem, external drives or other devices you have in your computer "system". A "good" UPS with AVR will protect all of those.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Digerati View Post
    It is not the PSU maker's job to ensure your home or facility has clean power. Plus, the computer's PSU, even if fully surge and spike protected, provides zero protection to your monitor(s), router, modem, external drives or other devices you have in your computer "system". A "good" UPS with AVR will protect all of those.
    Granted that what you say is true. In fact, I have UPS's on most of my machines. But there are a couple not on UPS's. The question is: how much surge suppression is built into PSU designs? Do some PSU's suppress spikes better than others? Do PSU's pass on the spikes to the components they power?
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    The question is: how much surge suppression is built into PSU designs?
    The answer hasn't changed. "if you want a specific answer, you need to ask about a specific PSU model."

    Do some PSU's suppress spikes better than others?
    Yes.

    Do PSU's pass on the spikes to the components they power?
    Yes but the potentials are greatly attenuated by the PSU's suppression and filtration circuits to manageable levels the motherboard voltage regulators deal with.

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    Well. to talk about a specific PSU, I can say that the Corsair HX1000i has a varistor with a Joule rating of 70. So about 1/3000 the protection of a $20 Belkin surge strip.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jonnyGURU View Post
    Well. to talk about a specific PSU, I can say that the Corsair HX1000i has a varistor with a Joule rating of 70. So about 1/3000 the protection of a $20 Belkin surge strip.

    Maybe i didn't understand correctly!! A 200$ PSU can offer only 1/3000 the protection of a 20$ surge protector?
    -------------------------------------------------------

    P.S.:If this is true then what is the best way to protect your system from electrical anomalies ( in general )? This is a question that always troubled me
    How about using:
    1) a "surge protection" device to connect to the wall outlet
    2) a UPS to be connected at the "surge protector" and...
    3) The PSU to be connected with the previous 2 devices
    What do you think? Maybe the UPS must be connected only with the wall outlet, so no "surge protector"?
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    No, you got that perfectly. But look at it this way: Surge protection is not the PSU's job. You can sleep in a car. Some cars are more comfortable than others for this purpose. But a $200 bed will be infinitely more comfortable to sleep in than a $20000 car. It's the same with PSUs and surge protectors.
    Careful what you wish for... You just might get it.

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