CPU I'm somehow scared of picoPSUs.. Are they safe for my system?

tanni

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
Apr 25, 2021
10
1
Hi there,

xmas is coming and I'm finally having time to build my first ever sff PC. That was my plan, at least..

For the first time I want to use a picoPSU (either the 160XT from mini-box.com or the HDPlex 200W) in a build but I'm scared to somehow overload/overpower it, such that my other hardware breaks or that even my sweet little flat burns down. I know, this probably sounds idiotic to most of you.. But I've googled what might happen if your PC draws more power than your PSU can provide and I've read that if the PSU is not secured well enough, hardware may break or even sparks/fire may occur. I have always bought PSUs from quality brands and now I just see these cables and plugs of these little PSUs and I'm somehow lacking the trust into the safety of these things.. :/

Here is my planned build:
  • CPU: Ryzen 7 5700G
  • Heatsink+Cooler: Noctua NH-U9S (92mm fan)
  • Motherboard: ASUS Rog Strix B550-I Gaming
  • RAM: 2x16GB Crucial Ballistix DDR4 3200 (I want to overclock it to 3800 and overclock the infinity fabric to 3800 as well to get better iGPU performance)
  • Storage:
    • 2x M2.NVMe SSD
    • 2x SATA SSD
  • Peripherals:
    • Wireless mouse
    • Wireless keyboard
    • External WD MyBook drive (14TB 3,5") connected via USB
    • Sometimes a smartphone to transfer data
  • GPU: No dedicated GPU
  • PSU:
    • EITHER picoPSU 160XT (with 160W sustained power and 200W peak power) + Meanwell GST220A12 power brick with 180W (according to its data sheet it has 90% efficiency. That is, it actually just has 162W)
    • OR HDPlex 200W (with 200W sustained power and 220W peak power) + Dell 450-18650 power brick with 240W

The Outervision PSU calculator does not list Ryzen 4000/5000 APUs. When I choose the 3400G it says "Load Wattage: 130W, recommended PSU Wattage: 180W". But then again, from what I've read in reviews, the 3400G draws up to 23W less power than the 5700G.

I've researched reviews of the 5700G and saw that in the power consumption tests the whole system consumed up to 155W. But then again, all of these tests used a dedicated GPU (RTX 3080 mostly) which even at idle needs at least 10W. But also, they didn't have 4 SSDs and one external HD..
I even found one review from guru3d where the 5700G powered system maxed out at 197W.

Another problem is that the HDPlex is not available atm so I would have to go for the 160XT. And since Mini-Box.com and HDPlex seem to be the most respected brands regarding PicoPSUs, at least to my knowledge, I also would not want to go with any other brand.

Regarding my use case: Mostly office work but sometimes video rendering and light gaming.

So, thats it.. Any advice? Should I just consider the HDPlex? Would the 160XT work as well? Or should a chicken shit like me just stay away from the sff business?

Help me! :(
 

Arboreal

King of Cable Management
Silver Supporter
Oct 11, 2015
665
684
Either of your choices should be fine with the kit you have specced.
So long as you are using a genuine Pico PSU as suggested or the excellent HDPlex 200W, they will work well.
I think that 'Pico PSUs' have a possibly less good reputation than they should as they have become the generic term for DC-ATX pluggable converters, many of which are mass produced Chinese copies without the specs or QC of the original item.
As mentioned, the HDPlex will give you a 10% / 20W load margin over the 160XT setup, which may just be good for your peace of mind.

Although it's not a heavy load, my Microserver is running happily with 5 drives on a Pico PSU and 120W 12V brick, and is quieter than the original Flex ATX type PSU they were built with.
 

robbee

King of Cable Management
Sep 24, 2016
666
894
My experience has been very positive with both HDPlex and Mini-box, along with a lot of other users on this forum. There's no reason to be afraid of them, they are made for pc's and are made according to ATX specs.

If power consumption is a concern to you, let me point out 1 error you make that may change some things:

Meanwell GST220A12 power brick with 180W (according to its data sheet it has 90% efficiency. That is, it actually just has 162W)

That is not how efficiency works. 180W with 90% efficiency means the brick can deliver 180W of DC while drawing 200W from the wall (200*90/100 = 180). The HDPlex will still have a little bit of extra headroom, but it's also bigger and runs a little hotter due to extra DC-DC conversion.

My opinion? the 160XT will be plenty. I even power a build with a 75W gpu + 65W cpu with it.
 

tanni

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
Apr 25, 2021
10
1
My experience has been very positive with both HDPlex and Mini-box, along with a lot of other users on this forum. There's no reason to be afraid of them, they are made for pc's and are made according to ATX specs.

If power consumption is a concern to you, let me point out 1 error you make that may change some things:



That is not how efficiency works. 180W with 90% efficiency means the brick can deliver 180W of DC while drawing 200W from the wall (200*90/100 = 180). The HDPlex will still have a little bit of extra headroom, but it's also bigger and runs a little hotter due to extra DC-DC conversion.

My opinion? the 160XT will be plenty. I even power a build with a 75W gpu + 65W cpu with it.
Big thank you! That indeed clears things up a lot!!