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So I have 4 systems with mini itx power supplies and am looking to purchase power bricks from the manufacturer. What confuses me is the power bricks are 102 Watts while the PSU can do 160W with a max of 200W. This is probably obvious question but since the power brick can only do 102 watts that means the PSU can only provide 102W, and if this is the case why would the manufacturer bundle the two together?

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It's like the weakest point in the system.

For example on a car the tires may only be good up to 130 mph but the engine can go up to 140 mph. Or something like that, I'm not a car person.

Really it's being a bit cheap to only stock the 102W supply. If you want a decent 12V supply you should look at an ATX power supply. In fact the pico PSU could be replaced by one of these entirely. Only go for that brick if size is a problem. Even then, you can find a 150W ATX PSU in a small form factor nowadays anyway.

Additionally I would find it very difficult to believe that the pico PSU can provide 150W without cooking itself. Looking at it, the inductors are small surface mount types, probably not greater than 4-5 amps continuous. And I can't see a power transistor; if there is one, it would need some serious heatsinking. (Think about your computer power supply: 300-400W, about 2x as much as the pico PSU but with a large heatsink, plus it has a fan. Yes, one operates off 12V and one off mains, but the mains PSU's FET will actually have less current flowing through it and probably run cooler.) I would like to be wrong, but I can't see it.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I believe the trick with picoPSUs is that their input power is 12V so they only actually need to produce 5/3.3V power on the package and modern systems use very little of either. The 160W model is rated for up to 8A continuous on those rails (in a case with good ventilation, less if fanless). The big heat sinks you're expecting are in the 12V power brick which is much larger than a typical laptop model. \$\endgroup\$ – Dan Is Fiddling By Firelight Jan 11 '13 at 14:30
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Apologies for reviving such an old post, but it's a question we see a lot. The problem is running that much current at that voltage through such a small DC barrel connector. Mini-Box has recently modified the power supply to include an inline P4 connector which can be removed and paired the 4-pin mini-DIN connector bundled with this 160w brick: http://www.mini-box.com/12v-16A-AC-DC-Power-Adapter

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