If there was one component that is like a heart to the PC, giving it life, then that would be the power supply.
Without one, a computer would be just a powerless box full of metal and plastic.
The power supply’s job is to convert your home’s AC power into DC power that’s required by the computer. Power supplies are also often overlooked and misunderstood because people think they are not as important as they actually are.
In this article, we will teach you how to choose the best power supply for your build.
Choosing your PSU
There is no general rule while buying an excellent power supply, but some evidence of its performance and reviews of the PSU really helps with the buying choice.
You should definitely skip looking for cheap power supplies from unknown manufacturers that nobody has ever heard of and try to look for manufacturers that have a good reputation and offer a long warranty period.
For example, Corsair and EVGA have a great reputation for making really high-quality power supplies.
Higher quality PSUs are always using better capacitors, chokes, and other important stuff.
Here are some guidelines that you should follow while buying the power supply:
- Never forget to check the compatibility of the PSU’s pin connectors with your current setup or the computer you’re planning to use it on.
- Bigger fans are moving more air, which means they are making less noise, so that’s something to look at as well if you care about the noise part.
- The three most important things to look out for while searching for a power supply are power output, efficiency and rails.
The output is always listed in watts. More watts means more power, right? Yes, but it’s not necessarily because there are more things to look for that make a good PSU.
Power supply outputs that are used for desktops are ranging from 200 watts to 1800 watts (for the high-end custom built PCs).
PSUs hit the peak of their power if the usage percentage of the wattage is from 40 to 80 percent while loaded and you should also leave some room in case you’d upgrade later and add something new to your build.
For example, in an average gaming PC build, the total watt usage is 300. That means that a 600 to 700 watt PSU would be a great fit for your computer. On the other side, if you’re building(or have) a higher-end PC that has around 700-800 watt usage, then a 1200 PSU or stronger would be a great fit in that case.
You can buy lower wattage power supplies if you’re 100 percent sure that you won’t do any additional upgrades later in order to save yourself some money or really can’t afford a recommended wattage PSU.
While we’re talking about wattage, there is apparently a belief that more wattage on a PSU means more power consumption. Definitely untrue. The system will consume as many watts as the consumption of the total components is. So for example, if your setup is consuming 400 watts, that means that you’re going to consume 400 watts of power no matter if you have a 600 watt or a 1000 watt PSU.
Power supply wattage rating only shows the maximum amount of power that your PSU can provide your components with, not how much power it will actually consume from your outlet.
More efficient means better
Power supply’s efficiency is very important because higher rated efficiency power supplies make less fan noise, waste less power, and the most important are made of better components.
A power supply with an ‘’80+’’ mark on it means that it’s using 80 percent or more of its wattage for your computer and it wastes the other 20 percent to heat.
You should definitely look for power supplies with the 80 Plus certification.
The rail debate
The one-rail power supply has a single high-power +12V rail for consuming components, while a multi-rail one divides the output between two or more different +12V rails.
So that means that in a one-rail, all of the power from the PSU will be available to any component connected to the unit.
The disadvantage of the multi-rail PSU is that it can’t divide the power among other rails, while on the other side there’s a huge advantage to it because if you ever experience a short-circuit, as soon as it detects a failure on one rail, it will shut down everything, so no more damage can be dealt.
So should you get a single-rail or a multi-rail power supply? There’s no direct answer. Both perform on the same level and are very safe to use. If you’re building a really expensive PC, then multi-rail would be a good fit, to save as many components as possible under the circumstances of a short-circuit.
Cable: modular or non-modular?
There are partially modular cables and fully modular cables, which would mean that you can add or remove cables from the power supply if needed.
Modular power supplies cabling is making it all simple by keeping your case nicer and cleaner if you just remove the cables you’re not using. While partially/non-modular PSUs will make your computer case look a bit messy sometimes.
And of course, it’s worth mentioning that modular cabling adds some extra cost to your PSU.
Recent improvements on PSUs
A fair amount of new generation of motherboards enables the user to monitor the power supply’s fan RPM (rotations or rounds per minute) through BIOS and a program that is provided by the manufacturer of the motherboard.
This helps you set the fans to only run at the speed that is necessary, not more than that, depending on if your computer needs extra cooling. It is not a must to have or use this feature, but it is useful to users that want some extra customizations to their machines.