Buying a power supply isn’t a big deal, anyone can buy it. But finding and getting your hands on the ideal power supply unit for your PC is a tough job if you don’t hold enough knowledge.
Just like buying any PC component.
There are a bunch of factors that need concentration while buying a power supply unit. And in this very guide, we will be walking you through all those factors.
Let’s have a look at it.
How Much Power Output would you be needing?
The first thing to do before buying a power supply unit is to determine how much power output you will be needing!
If you pick a power supply that delivers less power than your need, that won’t do you any good. You won’t get the experience you should get.
So first check the output requirement of your pc.
Now, how do you find out how much power output is needed for your pc? Will be checking through every pc component and going through reviews to know the power output demand of your pc?
You can do that but that will be very time-consuming and also super tiring.
What if we show you a shortcut?
Check out this power supply calculator. You should get the right idea with this calculator very quickly and easily.
Using the calculator is super easy. You fill the boxes with the asked question and then you will see the needed watt requirement for your setup on the right side.
This calculator is always updated with new PC components so don’t worry if you have something that is totally new.
You can rely on that calculator, it works well.
And it would be very wise of you if you bought a power supply unit that has more power output than you need.
Want to know why? Check the next factor!
Would you be upgrading your PC?
The reason why we suggest choosing more power output than required is, you will not be using the same PC component in the long term.
As time grows, new and impressive components will make their way. And if you are a pc gamer or someone who wants their pc to be up-to-date always, you would want to do some upgrades.
So if you picked a power supply unit with 500-watt coverage, you will be needing more when you do any upgrade.
But if you pick a PSU that can deliver 650 or 700+ power output capacity then a few upgrades won’t cause you to change the power supply unit.
You are getting it right?
What we are telling you is, do not pick a watt amount that you need today. Take a little time to think, guess what upgrades you might be doing in a few days or months, then choose a power output capacity according to that.
In that way, you won’t have to change the power supply unit with any component upgrade.
Another thing you need to keep in mind about the wattage of the power supply unit is, there are two types of power in the power supply unit.
One is continuous power. This is the power your PC components will be getting all the time. And the other one is peak power, which means the power supply unit will be delivering its maximum power for a very small amount of time like 10 – 15 seconds.
When you are purchasing a power supply unit make sure the continuous wattage capacity suits your needs. At that time don’t even look at the peak power wattage capacity.
And one misconception we would want to wash is, people think using an over-wattage capacity power supply unit will increase their electricity bill.
if you pick a high wattage capacity power supply unit that your pc component needs, that won’t cause you an extra electricity bill.
Doesn’t matter how high wattage capacity the PSU is, it will only supply the amount your pc components need.
So you don’t need to worry about this.
Look for Protection
Over-voltage can kill your pc components. A once a lot of pc components used to get damaged due to this, but the number is less now since people are more aware of it.
But if you are a beginner then it is possible that you don’t know about this.
A lot of manufacturers have protection on their power supply units, due to that their power supply units are a little expensive. But you shouldn’t shy away from that just because it’s expensive.
In the long term, you will be on the winning side.
So before you finalize a power supply unit, you would want to check if the unit has over-voltage protection.
What over-voltage protection does is, when the output voltage gets extremely high the protection mechanism shuts the power supply down.
Then you will be looking for over-current and overload protection. These protection circuits or mechanism does the same job, they shut the entire unit down when they see the load or current exceeding the limit.
Saying again, a power supply unit with protection might cost a little more but that is totally worth it.
Check out the Efficiency Rating.
Once you are done checking the protection side, now time to dip the head into the efficiency of the power supply unit.
Wattage isn’t the only thing that measures the performance of a power supply unit, there is another thing called efficiency rating.
What efficiency rating tells is, how much direct current power the power supply unit delivers to the components and how much it loses due to the heat.
To give you an example,
Suppose, you have a PC the needs 300 watts of power to perform at its best. With an 85% efficiency rating power supply unit, your pc will take around 353 watts of power input.
On the other hand, if you are using a 70% efficiency rating power supply, the pc will take 428-watt power input.
That means, the higher the efficiency level, the easy it is on your wallet. With a low-efficiency rating power supply unit, you will have a big electricity bill.
Not only that, there is another perk of using a high-efficiency rated PSU. More or less, all pc components produce heat. And a high-efficiency rated power supply unit will make your pc components run cooler.
It will dissipate the heat and that will lead to quiet performance as well.
So even if high-efficiency rated power supply units are a little expensive, they totally deliver the value.
Heard About 80 Plus Certification?
When you are out there sorting through different power supply units, you will see some units are labeled as 80 plus gold or platinum, etc. certified.
Well, it is a thing through which the manufacturer telling you that their units can fulfill some certain efficiency needs.
However, it would be wise if you try to pick a power supply unit that has 80 plus certifications.
Consider the Rails
How well the power supply unit will be able to support your pc components that depend on the rail as well.
The rail is a bridge through which the power goes to the pc components. There are several rails but you should put most of your focus on one rail and that is the +12V rail.
Because this rail is what provides power to the most crucial and powerful component of the pc, the process, and PCIe video cards.
At present time, a power supply unit should deliver a minimum of 18A power on the +12V rail for an up to date pc.
And the output should be at least 24A for a high-end graphics card. And for a top-notch crossfire system, the output should be 34A.
The output amperage amount we just talked about that is the combined amount for the power supply units that has two or more +12V rail.
And you should always look for the combined total output amount.
For this information, you will have to look into the PSU information labels or the specifications.
And keep in mind if you are going to use a crossfire/SLI PC then it is a must for the +12V rail to provide 34A combined power.
You might find your power supply unit is labeled differently, that is normal because different manufacturers do things differently. Some units tell the highest amperage delivered by every rail where some tell combined maximum wattage.
Another thing I want you to keep in mind is, the number of rails a unit uses to supply the power that matters too.
A unit either has only one +12V trail through which it powers up all the pc components. Or It has a couple of rails to power up different components.
Now the perk of one rail is since the only rail is connected to all the components that make the configuration process easy.
But the downside is, power supply failure will affect all the components.
On the flip side, with multiple rails, you won’t have to worry about power supply failure impact but that will make configuration tough.
Do not forget about the Connectors.
If you pick a power supply that doesn’t connect to your pc component, then the power supply is a complete waste. Isn’t it?
So before you make a random purchase and make a mess out of your bucks, have a look at the connectors.
The connectors should be compatible with your pc.
There are several connectors in a power supply, let us walk you through…
The very first connector you are going to consider is the main connector. It is what powers the motherboard.
Main connectors have two types, 24 pins, and 20 pins.
24-pin connectors are being used widely in the present time. However, most of the latest power supply unit offers both the connectors.
But still, you would want to be sure.
Then comes the connector that powers up the processor. Again, it also has two types 8-pin and 4 pins.
Like the main connectors, most motherboards nowadays are preferring larger pins. Ensure the power supply connector is suitable for the processor.
There is a 4 pin Molex connector which is extremely famous since it is used for different pc components such as fans, optical drives, old HDD, etc.
Then there are splitter cables which you can use if needed. With that, you will be able to connect a couple of components. That being said, do not forget the highest limit of your power supply unit.
The Fan Noise could be Irritating.
Well, this is not a super important factor to consider but it will be very wise if you do consider this factor. Here is how…
We have mentioned before that power supply units produce heat and in order to stay cool and efficient, they need a cooler. Which is a fan.
Now the problem with some power supply units is they come with a fan that makes noise when the unit is operating at its highest.
Some fans make noise even when the power supply unit is working on no load at all.
This might seem okay now, but once you spend few days the fan noise will irritate you a lot
Now a piece of advice we can give is, there are PS units that come with larger fans. These fans spin very slow but the cooling is great.
You would want to look for that if possible.
Messy cables can ruin the good look of your PC
Again, this is not a crucial factor but it would be good if you got this right. Power supply cabling has three types, modular, hybrid, and hard-wired.
In hard-wired cabling, even connectors are connected to the PSU directly. Whether it is needed or not needed, the cables will be there. It could look a little messy.
And then there is modular cabling. In this each connector will be connected if needed, if not needed then it is not necessary to connect.
Modular cabling is the best since they keep the case clean, don’t make the build look messy at all.
You just make sure to consider the shown factors. There is no chance that you will end up with the wrong power supply unit.
And another tip we would like to share, stick to well-known reputed brands even if their items are expensive. In the long run, you will be thanking yourself.