When most people are choosing a PC, they tend to focus on the parts that have a lot of curb appeal, like processors and graphics cards, but for some reason people tend to forgot about the less flashy components. It’s understandable, because nobody is going to get too excited when a slightly more reliable and efficient power supply hits the market, but is important to keep in mind how crucial having a quality PSU is to your computer. When building or customizing a computer, it is important to do a little homework to make sure that you are going to get the right power supply for your build. In order to determine exactly what you’re looking for in a PSU, you should take a few things into consideration:
The most important thing to keep in mind when selecting a power supply is how much wattage a system will require. This is a situation where more isn’t always better. While it is imperative that a PSU provide enough power for all of the components when they are under a heavy load, if you go overboard, your computer can be less efficient when doing tasks that aren’t as CPU or GPU intensive. Most power supplies hit their peak efficiency between 40-80% of a PSU’s maximum capacity. We suggest building to about 60% of a power supply’s capacity in order to hit the sweet spot for efficiency, while still leaving some headroom for any future upgrades.
The exact wattage that a computer will need is dependent on what components you decide to choose for your build. Higher end processors and graphics cards require a lot more power than their low end counterparts. In order to determine exactly how much juice you are going to need, you can use a power supply calculator to select your individual components and find out exactly how much power your system will need. If you plan to overclock your machine, you should be sure to use a calculator that takes that into consideration.
A power supply’s efficiency rating is important because higher-efficiency units tend to have better components, waste less power, and generate less heat—all of which contribute to less fan noise. A power supply with an efficiency rating of 80 percent provides 80 percent of its rated wattage as power to your system, while losing the other 20 percent as heat.
There are several tiers of 80 Plus ratings, including; bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. If you’d like to know a little more about this, you can read one of our previous blogs about this topic here.
You are going to have to choose whether you would like to have a modular PSU or not. Modular power supplies are popular because they allow you to easily and simply organize your power connections. With standard power supplies, there are always unused cables that you need to bundle up and hide somewhere inside the case, and this can be unaesthetic and can interfere with airflow in smaller cases.
however, modular PSUs come with their own set of drawbacks. Each connection can increase the impedance on the circuit, potentially making it less efficient. While Modular PSUs have improed over time, the connection can never be as efficient as straight wire. However for most users, being able to have a clean and tidy looking PC outweighs the slight drop in efficiency.
This is one of the most important things to think about when purchasing a power supply. You can save money in the short term by going with an inexpensive power supply, but if you skimp on quality you could run into a lot of issues later. A quality power supply will last the entire life of your PC, so we absolutely suggest doing your homework and picking a premium brand.