Server Power Supply Units (PSUs): Questions Answered – TechMikeNY



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Server Power Supply Units (PSUs). Questions Answered.


A big part of Enterprise servers are power supply units (PSU) since those servers demand a degree of mission-critical redundancy in place. In our Advantages of Dual Power Supply Unit Servers post, we answered the question of whether two PSUs will cause your server to draw more power; here are a few more questions we've tackled for our customers on the ins-and-outs of Server Power Supply Units. 

"Hi Mike.  What is the difference between "GOLD" and "PLATINUM" in your power supplies?"


Gold vs. Platinum PSU ratings refer to power efficiency. The Platinum server power supplies have slightly higher efficiency, and we typically sell more of them considering there is not much of a price difference between the two. For additional background: the Gold rating equates to 87% efficiency at a 20% load, 90% at a 50% load, and 87% at a 100% load (90%, 92%, and 89% for 230V EU variants).

The Platinum rating means 90%, 92%, and 89% efficiency at 20%, 50%, and 100% loads accordingly (92%, 94%, 90% for 230V EU variants).

"Can someone tell me if all Dell Power Supply Units compatible across all of their rack model servers?  I just want to make sure I get the right one!"


No, the compatible PSUs vary between generation and the form factor of the server.  As a general guide:

  • The R320/R420 uses thinner PSUs that only come in 350w and 550w varieties.
    • The same goes for their 13th Gen counterparts: the R330/R430.
  • The R620/R720/R820 models can use the same 495w, 750w, and 1100w
    • The also applies for their 13th Gen counterparts: the R630/R730/R830.

On our Power Supply Products page, we share the compatibility of the specific PSU. 

"Hey Mike, I was looking to buy the NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX TITAN BLACK 6GB VIDEO GRAPHICS CARD / ZOTAC ZT-70801-10P.  But I only have a 540-watt PSU.  Would that be enough?"


We would recommend at least a 700w PSU. But depending on the other components in your system, you might be able to keep your 540w PSU.  You can also use this power supply calculator, which allows you to calculate your machine's exact power consumption.  You'll need to know the specific model and specs of your device's components.  The more accurate detail you provide, the more precise the output will be.

Lastly, you will also have to make sure your PSU has breakout PCIe cables for both a 6-pin and 8-pin to power the graphics card. 

"Mike, we received our HP ProLiant DL380 G9 Server and plugged it into a known good 110-volt power source cables.  Neither power supply lights up, powering on the server does not occur. We tested the cables 110 power into other devices, and both cables will power other devices like monitors, so we know good power is going into the power supplies of the HP server.  Do you know what's going on?"


The server order was configured with 1400w 200v PSUs, which will not work on 110v power.  Note that most standard wall sockets in the United States only put approximately 120 volts; installing these high-voltage PSUs will simply cause the server not to power up if not plugged into a sufficient power source. 

For these high-voltage PSUs, we list the limitations on the product page. 

"Mike, could frequency variation on one part of the power source to a server cause it to shut down when such a server takes its supply from dual sources?"


We suppose it's possible, although we've never encountered this phenomenon ourselves. We have some of our servers plugged into two separate UPS battery backups. In the past, we had one battery backup where one PSU was connected to a battery backup, and the other PSU was connected to a PDU power strip which was connected directly to AC power. We never had any issue with servers shutting down. One possible solution is to swap out the server power supplies and see if that corrects the problems (since dual-PSUs are all about redundancy, it never hurts to keep spares!)  Also, note that HP and Dell servers will show errors during boot if the power required exceeds the power supply's output.

Did we miss any information about Server Power Supply Units? Let us know!  Email us at or leave a comment below.  We love hearing from our customers!

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