Top 5 things to consider when choosing a PC power supply

One piece of hardware you should never skimp on when building your PC, regardless of budget, is the power supply unit (PSU). Typically, the choice of power supply is one of the last pieces of the puzzle when building a PC. After all, you have to decide on all the other parts in order to know which power supply is appropriate for this version.

However, as strange as it may sound, power isn’t the only thing to consider when choosing a power supply. That’s why in today’s article we’ll go over all the points you need to keep in mind when choosing the right potency. supply for your construction.

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1. Power

We can’t talk about power without first mentioning power. Your power supply should meet the power requirements of all components of your PC. Typically, in any build, the CPU and graphics card are the most power-hungry components.

They will therefore represent the majority of the power you want to achieve. However, this does not mean that all other components like fans use no power. They do, just that it’s a lot less. An underpowered PC may not work properly, if at all. That’s why potency is definitely the first step in choosing the right power supply.

Fortunately, however, manufacturers still provide rough estimates of the power consumption of their products. These are presented either as design heat output or as maximum power consumption. Also, there are many online power calculators that can show the exact amount of power your PC will need.

Ideally, the PSU should exceed your PC’s power requirements. Why? Well, PSUs work best when they have a little wiggle room. If you’re aiming for maximum efficiency, you’ll want your power supply to operate between 50% and 80% of its peak power.

This is how you ensure that the PC power supply you choose will not overheat. Which is very important because there is nothing power supplies hate more than heat. So if you really want to simplify your power supply life, consider buying one that can deliver twice the power you need. It will thank you by being quiet, durable and leaving extra headroom for future upgrades.


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2. The 80 Plus Rating System

If you’ve been window shopping, you may have noticed some power supplies with an 80 Plus rating. This rating indicates how well a power supply converts the power from your wall outlet to the lower voltage required by the components of a PC. There is always bound to be a waste of energy.

But power supplies with this rating are guaranteed to waste no more than 20%. Hence the name 80 Plus. There are other subcategories under 80 Plus that indicate quality. In fact, there are five. Basic 80 plus also known as White. Then there is Bronze, Gold, Platinumand Titanium.

Ideally for most users, gold should be the middle ground. Note that for general use and even for gaming, there is absolutely no need to consider platinum and titanium PSUs. These are best suited for heavily loaded systems such as workstations and servers.

But even a bronze or white rated PSU is bound to be more efficient than one that is not rated. Full disclosure, certification is voluntary. Therefore, theoretically, there could be a power supply that is unrated but more efficient than titanium rated models.

It certainly wouldn’t surprise us. But like homer simpson would say, a titanium PSU is a titanium PSU. But an unrated power supply can be anything. It could even be a titanium power pack. Best not to take that risk, though.


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3. Think about the rails

Rails can be a difficult topic to understand. Especially since the datasheet has usually listed them as something much more confusing, like +12V rails. Rails basically determine the number of “paths” that power the various components of the PC. This begs the question, what is a rail?

Well, a rail is a circuit board path through which the unit is powered. Multi-rail power supplies distribute power between multiple rails. A single rail PSU has only one path. Single rail power supplies feed the unit’s full power from one rail to all parts connected to it. This ensures that each component has enough power to operate.

choose a PC power supply

They have the disadvantage of exposing your equipment to a huge risk in the event of a power surge. Multi-rail power supplies, on the other hand, can handle power surges with built-in overcurrent and short circuit prevention in each rail.

It should be noted that there is no uniform distribution of power on each rail. But this is only a minor inconvenience at most. All you have to do is make sure you connect power-hungry components like the GPU and CPU to the correct rails. These are rails that have higher power thresholds. The distribution of power between the rails is shown both on the PSU housing itself and in the user manual. So that really shouldn’t be a problem


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4. Pin connectors

When choosing a PC power supply, you should also ensure that your power supply has all the necessary connectors. Power supplies typically come with one of three connectors; a 6 pin cable, an 8 pin cable or a 6+2 pin cable that connects to a 6 or 8 pin input, thanks to two detachable pins. For example, graphics cards require a combination of 6 or 8 pin connectors, or sometimes one of each.

It all depends on the power consumption of the GPU and its cooling systems. In addition, you must consider the connectors used by your motherboard. Most motherboards use a 20 or 24 pin connector, but they can also have others. Again, this is one more reason why you should select the power supply after choosing all the other hardware components.

Again, and we can’t stress this enough, don’t skimp on the power supply because you went a little over budget while choosing the other components. A bad power supply puts all your other expensive hardware components at risk.


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5. Modularity

Modularity means the power connector cables can be removed or attached to the power supply. The main benefit here is reduced cable clutter, as non-modular power supplies come with fixed cables coming out of them. Most of them end up not being used and are simply blocked.

Less cable clutter not only means a better looking case, but can also lead to better airflow. This then leads to a pleasant working environment for the hardware, both literally and figuratively. Modular power supplies are also more portable.

choose a PC power supply

But as you might have guessed, these amenities are all reflected in the price. Ultimately, it’s up to you whether the benefits of modularity outweigh the increased price. If you can’t afford a fully modular power supply and want to avoid a fully non-modular power supply, you can always opt for a semi-modular unit.

Semi-modular units will have some non-removable cables permanently exiting the back of the unit. However, these will only be the necessary cables, meaning you won’t have unused cables lying around inside your PC case.


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To sum up, when buying a power supply, you need to consider wattage, efficiency, rails, connectors, and modularity. Of course, not all of them are essential. If you don’t want to strain, just make sure the power is verified and the power supply has all the necessary connectors to work with your PC.

Keep in mind that choosing the wrong PC power supply will actually do more harm than good. So having a multi-rail PSU with quality assurances behind it should be high on your priority list.


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Alan A. Seibert