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Thread: Single Rail Power Supply-- Why it is BETTER.....

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    Exclamation Single Rail Power Supply-- Why it is BETTER.....

    What is a single rail +12V power supply?

    For power users and overclockers, multi +12V rails design from ATX 12V v2.0 is just not flexible enough to deliver the power they demand. Many multi +12V rails PSUs have maximum output limit of 20A for each rail. If the consumption of CPU is only 10A, then the remaining 8A of power cannot be used for other components such as hard drives, fans, graphics cards, and system lighting etc… This undesirable situation does not occur when using a single +12V rail power supply, where the power is shared with all components.

    The SilverStone ST56ZF, with a single +12V rail output of 38A is a great example of a power user PSU. A top performing single +12V rail PSU such as the ST56ZF requires more high quality and reliable components to achieve optimal and tightly regulated output at nearly any loading conditions and environment.

    The following graphs illustrate the difference between single +12V and multi +12V output in
    situations where higher than usual power draw is required such as overclocking.


    Click image for larger version. 

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    According to FCC regulation, if a power supply does not comply with the 240VA safety regulation, then a licensed electrician is required for assembling or installing the product. However, the 240VA is not a state-regulated certificate and TUV/UL do not have the same regulation so a single +12V rail power supply that exceeds 240VA can still be installed by computer builders.

    Although Intel indicated that the power supply have to acquire the 240VA certificate to fit in with its ATX 12V v2.0 standard, this does not mean that the newer Intel motherboards have to work with 240VA complaint PSUs. Power supplies that are complaint with previous version, the ATX 12V v1.3, can still operate with the newer motherboards perfectly. The only requirements for any motherboard to operate correctly is that the power supply has to achieve the need of entire system’s +12V output in addition to other rails such as +5V, +3.3V, etc...



    Source:http://www.silverstonetek.com/techta...id=wh_single12

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    Here is a good read.
    First off, I'd like to give credit to Jonny Gerow (former star of JonnyGURU.com, now PSU project manager at BFG) for writing what I consider the definitive article on power supply "rails", one which educated me. If you want an accurate historical and mildly technical explanation of power supply rails, read his article here:
    http://www.jonnyguru.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3990

    Also, I'm going to not bother mentioning the +5V and +3.3V rails, because it just confuses the matter. In this article I will talk only about the +12V rail, and single/multiple versions of it.


    So let's get down to it.



    "Single rail power supplies are best!"
    "No, multi rail units, stupid. You've got like five times as many rails to power your parts."
    "No, single rail is best, are you an idiot? Look at how much more I can overclock!"
    "You're just a moron, you don't know what a rail is!"
    "You're just jealous because I've got a single, massive, powerful rail, if you know what I mean."

    Children, children, calm down and shut your traps. You're both wrong! It doesn't matter, at least not in the way 99% of enthusiasts think.


    What is a rail?



    No, now stop being a smartass.


    Seriously, most people have very strong opinions on what rail distribution is best, without understanding what a rail is. The common misconception is that a rail is a part in the power supply that provides power. This is utterly and completely false. You can have two power supplies that are 99% identical and one be single rail and one be multi.

    No, rather a rail is a group of traces on the PSU's mainboard that are monitored by an OCP circuit.

    "What?"

    I said, it's a group of traces on the--

    "Shut up until you can speak English."

    Fine. A trace is a pathway of copper on a circuit board that carries electricity. You can see them as the faint copper-y lines running all over your motherboard. In this instance, I'm referring to the traces on the power supply that the wires in the cables are soldered to, specifically the ones carrying +12V power. With me so far?

    "Yes. Speaking of tracing, I'm going to go get some stencils."

    Whatever. Now, OCP is Over Current Protection. What OCP does is it monitors an output on a power supply. If the amount of current--

    "What is--"

    Read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_current
    If the current going through a given output exceeds a certain amount, it will shut the power supply down.

    What does this have to do with single or multiple rails?

    "I was about to ask, yes."

    Glad to know. The difference between single or multiple rails is this:

    Multiple rail: each trace is monitored separately, so if, say, one trace goes over 25A the power supply will shut down.

    Single rail: all traces are monitored all together, so if the total current going through the +12V outputs goes over, say, 60A, the power supply will shut down. Alternatively, no OCP may be present at all on the +12V rail.



    Make sense? Nothing about single rail having extra power or being more stable, on either side. You could have two identical power supplies with the only difference being how the OCP chip is configured, and one could be single rail and the other multiple. Understand?

    "No, I--"

    Yes you do, if you don't go back and read through again.

    So which is better? Well, neither has any affect on voltage stability or ripple suppression or efficiency or anything, really, at least not to a measurable degree. So all those arguments are bogus. A single rail PSU will not let you overclock any higher than a multi rail, or vice versa. However, there is a difference.

    Let's imagine you have a short circuit on the +12V and the SCP (Short Circuit Protection) doesn't catch it. If you have a single rail power supply the draw on that one +12V wire and that one +12V trace will climb until either the combined OCP point is reached, or until something burns; the cable, your power supply, your motherboard. With large units, usually something will burn before the OCP point is reached.

    In a multi-rail unit, the current would climb until it hit that rail's OCP point, at which point the PSU would shut down to protect itself and your computer. Ideally you'd have a rail for every wire, but that would be impractical, so you generally see 2-8, depending on the power rating of the PSU and the design philosophy.

    So multi-rail is inherently safer, correct? Yes, but early on there were some problems. You see, when multi-rail units were first introduced, the specification at the time was poorly written, and power supply engineers made a mistake; they put all the cables that power heavy-draw components like your CPU, mobo, and graphics card(s) on one rail, and all the light-draw stuff like HDDs and fans on the other. This meant that you had one rail that might be pulling, say, 24A, and another pulling 5A.

    "I see! They were unbalanced, so the man inside the PSU fell off his unicycle and--"

    No. If your PSU's OCP trip point for that main rail was set to 24A, then your system could easily hit that trip point when under load, causing the PSU to shut down to protect itself. That could cause you to lose data, or leave your friends without backup while playing TF2.

    "Wow that sucks."

    Yes indeed. The power supply was just as powerful as the single rail units of the time, but would shut down under heavy loads because of the poor cable distribution among the OCP rails.

    However, that is no longer an issue. The problem units only existed around 2006; since 2008 virtually all power supplies have had intelligent cable arrangements, with only a few gaffes here and there. On a modern multi-rail power supply there is virtually no chance of tripping a rail's OCP in normal use unless you're running way too much for the power supply to handle anyway.



    So final verdict? Single rail or multi rail? Well, with low-wattage units it doesn't matter. OCP on a single rail is useful up to about 40A or thereabouts, which is where most 550W power supplies fall. So with 550W and under power supplies, it's a moot point. However, with high wattage units, >45A on the +12V (650W and higher) picking a multi-rail unit will provide you with an extra layer of protection. It isn't essential, and it has no impact on the power supply's performance. However, it does provide an extra layer of safety in case you get a short circuit. And I would consider it a must for >1000W power supplies; [H] recently tested the single rail Corsair AX1200, but they had an accidental short circuit, and since the PSU's OCP is set for over 100A, the short overloaded and destroyed most of their testing equipment. So there is a danger with single rail units over 1000W.

    So multi-rail is mildly better, especially with high wattage units, but it won't have any impact on your performance or overclockability.

    There, does that settle it?


    ".... HAHA TOLD YOU MULTI RAIL WAS BETTER."
    "You can kiss my rail for all I care!"


    *sigh*

    This has been your friendly neighborhood Phaedrus, signing out.
    Source
    Considering you read all of it, welcome to 2012
    And this.

    http://www.overclock.net/intel-gener...ught-fire.html

    OrangeSVTguy was using a motherboard that was advertised as a premium overclocking board, but used a substandard VRM system for the CPU. So when SVT overclocked his i7 too far he overloaded the VRM and a mosfet transistor failed shorted (think of it as the transistor getting stuck in the "on" position).

    This resulted in a short circuit that allowed current to flow unimpeded through the voltage regulation module. The huge amount of electrical current caused the motherboard and the PSU's EPS12V motherboard connector to catch on fire and melt.




    While the problem was caused by the motherboard, the power supply's protections should have kicked in and shut the PSU down before serious damage was done.

    Why didn't the short circuit protection (SCP) cut in when the short circuit happened? Because SCP only protects against a certain kind of short, a short to ground, where a short occurs resulting in a circuit with negligible resistance. In such a situation, the resulting current approaches infinity. The PSU detects the huge demand before it even tries to supply it, and shuts the PSU down.

    In this case the short circuit had enough resistance the SCP didn't kick in, but not enough resistance to limit the current to safe levels.

    The protection that SHOULD have engaged was the over current protection (OCP). But it didn't. Why? Because his PSU (Ultra X4 1600W) is a single rail power supply.




    Over current measures the amount of electrical current traveling through a set of wires on a power supply. You have a different OCP circuit for each voltage supplied by the power supply; +12V, +5V, +3.3V, etc. The +12V, however, is a little special because it usually delivers about five times as much power as any other rail.

    How many +12V "rails" a PSU has has nothing to do with the PSU's technology or reliability or efficiency or its ability to provide clean and stable power, or anything like that. 99.999% of the time (there are like five consumer PSUs that are different) the number of rails a power supply has refers to the way the over current protection is configured.

    A single rail power supply either has ONE over current protection circuit monitoring all +12V wires leaving the PSU, or else NO (ZIP NADA NONE) OCP for the +12V rail at all. A multi rail power supply naturally has MULTIPLE over current protection circuits, each one monitoring a different set of cables leaving the PSU.




    Over current protection is slower than SCP, but faster than OPP (over power protection), and fulfills the roles of both. If a power supply is pushed past its capabilities, or if a short circuit occurs that SCP cannot detect, the OCP will cut in and shut down the power supply.

    However, OCP has limits. The higher the maximum current the OCP allows the slower its response time is. OCP is essentially instantaneous for settings up to about 30A (30 amperes of electrical current), and is still fast enough to be useful up to about 40-45A. However, past that it takes too long (more than half a second) to prevent the excessive current from damaging something.

    A +12V rail of 40A equals a wattage of 480W; which is a +12V capacity typical of a decent 550W power supply. So on power supplies up to about 500-600W single rail is safe, because the +12V OCP is fast enough to be useful (assuming it HAS +12V OCP).

    However, for higher wattages the OCP will be too slow to protect anything. And also at higher wattages the amount of current the PSU can provide before the OPP (over power protection) cuts in is much higher as well.




    If the Ultra X4 1600W had been a multi-rail power supply then this component failure wouldn't have been nearly as severe. The mosfet would have died and the mobo would be ruined, but you wouldn't see more than a brief spark before the PSU shut down. No fire.

    It wouldn't have been too difficult to add proper OCP to the Ultra PSU. Say four 32A rails, each with two or three connectors on it. The PSU would have been able to run a top tier system with ease, and still have useful over current protection. And it would have cost no more than $1-$2 to add on a PSU of this wattage.

    But instead Ultra decided to remove this vital protection, pocket the savings, and market it as a "feature".

    But this isn't unique to Ultra. Many brands remove +12V OCP and advertise it as a feature, many of them well known and respected. Such a PSU will still usually advertise that it has OCP--and it does. It's just on the +5V and +3.3V (and sometimes +5VSB and -12V) rails, and not the +12V. It's a widespread practice, and the average enthusiast, even those who are otherwise very technically knowledgeable, may not understand what single rail really means.

    Thanks to these guys:



    PC Power & Cooling never designed or engineered or built a power supply, see, despite their best efforts to convince everyone to the contrary. They just rebranded from other companies (Sparkle Power Inc, Win-Tact, SeaSonic). When the recommendation for multi rail OCP was first added to the ATX12V specification, PC P&C tried to retrofit it into their existing product lines. But gosh darnit, they just couldn't get it working right. So rather than hire some competent engineers they said, 'Screw the ATX12V spec, let's just ignore that bit and call it a feature!'

    And so the "single rail" myth was born, and everyone ate it up. It sounds good: "One STRONG POWERFUL MANLY rail" is obviously FAR better than "multiple weak wimpy rails". And since PC P&C was so successful with it, everyone else copied them. Usually by taking a PSU that already had multi-rail OCP and just removing that protection feature. That way they saved a few pennies per PSU, and got to market their PSU as "single rail" and instantly get five times the sales figures.

    But single rail is NOT a good thing, especially not on PSUs over ~500-600W. It's dangerous, because if one of your components fails and has a short circuit, your power supply won't shut down to protect the system. It'll just keep feeding current until the whole thing goes up in flames.




    So don't fall for the marketing. Learn from SVT's misfortune. Demand properly implemented OCP on every power supply you buy, and show this article to anyone who tries to claim that single rail power supplies are obviously better.




    Addendum: Just because your PSU is single rail, doesn't mean that it's a bad power supply or that it's going to spontaneously combust. It just means that it's lacking a protection set (or that set is poorly implemented). Multi-rail OCP will save your butt in a couple of 1/10,000 occurrences. The vast majority of people will never be in a situation where they'll really need OCP. But those who do get in that situation, really need it.

    The point of this is not to make you immediately abandon your single rail PSUs. You're in all likelihood fine. The point is to get the lack of a feature to stop being considered a benefit.
    Edited by Phaedrus2129 - 2/19/11 at 11:12pm

    Last edited by Rakin7; September 8th, 2012 at 20:34.

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    Eto boro post porte parlam nah . Ar aga mathao bujhtesi na. Shohoj bangla bhashay kisu bolle bhalo hoy. Konta kon kaje better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Overlord View Post
    Eto boro post porte parlam nah . Ar aga mathao bujhtesi na. Shohoj bangla bhashay kisu bolle bhalo hoy. Konta kon kaje better.
    Liked what you said there. Thread tare dubay dilo

    - - - Updated - - -

    @aayman help please!

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    Whats there to help with, he just provided an article...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Overlord View Post
    Eto boro post porte parlam nah . Ar aga mathao bujhtesi na. Shohoj bangla bhashay kisu bolle bhalo hoy. Konta kon kaje better.
    In simple Banglalish words,
    Single rail was good before 2006, after that most multiple rail PSUs are better. Below 500W it doesn't matter how many rails your PSU has but above that multiple rails adds an extra layer of protection which you shouldn't miss.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eXcavator View Post
    Here is a good read.
    Source
    Considering you read all of it, welcome to 2012
    And this.
    may be in 2013.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eXcavator View Post
    In simple Banglalish words,
    Single rail was good before 2006, after that most multiple rail PSUs are better. Below 500W it doesn't matter how many rails your PSU has but above that multiple rails adds an extra layer of protection which you shouldn't miss.
    Thanks but say my GPU needs minimum 24A to run and my psu has Dual rail of +18A, +18A. now how do we count multi rails?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Overlord View Post
    Thanks but say my GPU needs minimum 24A to run and my psu has Dual rail of +18A, +18A. now how do we count multi rails?
    as 24a , i assume it would need two powerconnector.
    In that case the two yellow cable of that two powerconnector from psu to gpu should be of two different 12v rail. I guess.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aayman View Post
    Whats there to help with, he just provided an article...
    del the large pics to make that article somewhat readable. Thats a 3,000 words essay dude! Well, we dont need a train or a building pics and some lame jokes to understand the psu rails, do we?

  11. #11
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    Apparently you do. Anyway, if an impatient person like me could read both of them and many more, then so can you. Just take 15mins of your precious time and read it. Turn the music off or you won't understand a thing.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Overlord View Post
    Thanks but say my GPU needs minimum 24A to run and my psu has Dual rail of +18A, +18A. now how do we count multi rails?
    Read the article, you'll understand better than any of us here explaining it to you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Overlord View Post
    Thanks but say my GPU needs minimum 24A to run and my psu has Dual rail of +18A, +18A. now how do we count multi rails?
    12v1 + 12v2 + ..........12v(n) er combined wattage jodi lekha thake then just 12 die divide korlei ber hobe

    for example: TT lp 430w Click image for larger version. 

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    12v1 & 12v2 rail e 20a dite pare..................and max combined power 12v1+12v2 is 276w, so divide it 276/12= 23A and there u go 12v e 23a paoa jabe

    although latest high end, efficient, multirail psu gula almost pura power 12v e dite shokkhom
    Last edited by samiulislam16; September 9th, 2012 at 01:43.


    Guess what??? scan it??:

    Good enough GAMING RIG

    HApPy GAMing

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by eXcavator View Post
    Apparently you do. Anyway, if an impatient person like me could read both of them and many more, then so can you. Just take 15mins of your precious time and read it. Turn the music off or you won't understand a thing.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Read the article, you'll understand better than any of us here explaining it to you.
    Porlam

    Single rail for 550/600w PSU is safe but up to 650/700w its risky. Multi rail gives extra layer of protection from short circuit, so its better to have multi rail in 700w+ PSU's.

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    well.... single vs multiple rail is not such a important issue what it was described here. yes some entry level multiple-rail psu have very poor rail distribution. these unit actually follow EPS12V specification, which is for servers.
    on the other hand multiple rails have slightly better over-current protection. but the reality is that 99% of people will never reach in a situation where they really need OCP.

    so for 99.99% of the folks out there single vs. multiple +12V rails is a 'non-issue'. It's something that has been hyped up by the stupid marketing folks. there are a lot far more important factors there to choose a psu.........

    Last edited by @nonymous™; September 9th, 2012 at 02:46.

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    Max output that can be delivered by a rail is limited to 240W. So, in order to maintain this, manufacturer needs to add an over current protection (OCP) circuit to each voltage output wire of the PSU which will cut the current flow in that wire if the circuit connected to its pulling more than 240W. Single rail design e ektai OCP thake shobgulo +12V wires er jonne. But muliple rails design e wires guloke kotogulo group kore pore seta OCP er sate connect kora hoy. Each group er ekta trigger point thake. Ekhon multi rails er main problem holo jodi trigger point 24A hoy tahole kuno karone e jodi er beshi power kuno component draw kore /*which is highly unlikely*/tahole PSU simply off hoye jabe. Eitar sate PSU er performancer temon ahamori kuno relation nai jeta nia manufacturer ra usually lafay. Single / Multi-rails jai hok na keno PSU er performance depends kore voltage regulation kotota valo, ripple r noise level koto kom, wattage thik moto dite partese kina, load onujai efficiency kemon dite partese, PFC er type etc egular upore.

    Single vs. Multiple rails is nothing but just pure marketing bull.

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    I too, see nothing to clean. What he shared is actually pretty relevant and a good read.

    Repped him too.

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    @eXcavator

    Thanks for the excellent post! Very educational and informative.

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    Single Rail PSU is not better than Multi Rail in most cases. In fact, it is only better in one case: 0.000000001% of people...namely extreme overclockers.
    The abuse of greatness is when it disjoins remorse from power.
    Please do not PM me for support. You will NOT get a reply. Post in the relevant forum section.

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    Thank god and............... CVP for creating the "Ignore List" system; otherwise i had to see an essay right here in BG. Repped CVP
    Last edited by VANGUARD; September 9th, 2012 at 14:03.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vanguard View Post
    Repped CVP
    Quote Originally Posted by Codex View Post
    I
    Repped him too.
    good
    keep it up guys.

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