Somewhat OT - can underpowered power supplies damage a system?

Kwan Lowe kwan at
Wed Aug 18 15:37:45 UTC 2010

On Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 1:27 AM, Thomas Cameron
<thomas.cameron at> wrote:
> Say, hypothetically, I have 8 identical Intel DG45ID motherboard-based
> system with 8GB memory and a single drive with a cheap-o generic 300w
> power supply.  All running Linux, so sorta on-topic.

Wiser folks than me have chimed in, but I wanted to add an anecdote...

I used to use bargain power supplies on all my systems. These are the
400W that come with the $30 cases I used. On my cluster of about 10
nodes with 2 drives each, I was sending back a drive every month.
Failure rate was about 5% every month, in other words.  Since
upgrading all my power supplies to warrantied, name brand units
(mostly Antec, but others also), I have had 2 failures in 2 years.

I looked at the purchase history and saw that for a long while I was
buying Maxtor and Western Digital drives, then switched to Seagate but
the failure rates were about equal for all manufacturers. This is not
scientific data, of course, but it convinced me that the power
supplies had a greater impact on drive failure than anything else.

More information about the users mailing list