I'd also like to point out that during idle and regular browsing, consumption has gone up too. it used be to 59-60W on idle and around 70W-75W during web browsing.... now its at 100W idle and 150-160W web browsing. --- http://i.imgur.com/r9pppzV.jpg http://i.imgur.com/BcGVG.gif
Let's say my Kill-A-Watt says I'm using 500W and I only have a 600W PSU. What do I do?
You do nothing, that's perfectly fine. Your Kill-A-Watt measures how much power your entire computer is consuming at the wall. Your PSU can supply 600W of power to the computer. Assuming your PSU is 85% efficient, it means that if your computer was drawing 600W from the PSU, your Kill-A-Watt would say you're using about 700W.
A typical sign that your PSU is insufficient is when you put a certain load on your computer and it just shuts down abruptly. Of course when that occurs you also want to check that your temperatures are normal before automatically assuming it's the PSU.
I'm already playing low settings in my games... but the meter says the usage keeps going up. BF3 used to be 200W on low settings... a few weeks later it was 280W.... then 350W.... then 400W... then 490W... now its at 500W.
Agreed, that's not normal, but it could be your Kill-A-Watt acting up. Higher power consumption would usually mean the PSU would generate more heat, which would make the fan go faster. Have you noticed it getting noisier?
I would stick to reliable brands like Antec, Cooler Master, Corsair, Enermax etc.
You wanna be careful with Cooler Master and Enermax. Cooler Master has a majority of junkyard units (although they're getting better at this), and Enermax has some very mediocre units when you're looking at their lower-priced units. OCZ, Rosewill, XFX have had some good units and are usually very reasonably priced.
Poor framerates in games, poor performance while running intensive applications - black screens, monitor shutting off, computer shutting off etc etc etc. - if you are exceeding the limit of your power supply you have two options: a.) downgrade your hardware and/or lower settings so you're not putting so much strain on your psu or b.) upgrade your psu.
None of that should happen with a good PSU, actually, unless it's defective. Either it provides enough power, or it doesn't. If it can't provide the power which the computer is requesting, it should shut down, no questions asked. It won't just shut down the monitor (which has nothing to do with the PSU). A good PSU is good up to 100% of its rating. If it has voltage regulation issues at high loads, then it's not a good unit, or it's defective, but instability is a symptom of poor voltage regulation, not of insufficient power.
I'm surprised no one has asked yet what the PSU in question actually is :)
I should have said poorer framerates, as there are certain things like turbo/gpu boost etc. that depend on your setup being under certain thermal/power limits to engage. --- Asus P8Z68-V LE | Core i7 2600K | 8GB G.Skill Ripjaws DDR3 | Gigabyte GeForce GTX 660 Windforce OC PS3 | PS2 | PSP| Wii | 3DS | DS | X-Box 360 | X-Box | NES