One of the components most often overlooked while customizing your computer setup is the power supply. Given the increased power requirements of the newer and high-end components, an adequate pc power supply is critical to maintaining the stability of your system. Here are some things to consider when choosing the best power supply for your computer system.
- Power output. Bigger isn’t always better. Don’t be fooled by the maximum wattage rating. This refers to the highest power the unit can supply, but this is only for very brief periods. The more important rating is the maximum continuous wattage, or the greatest power that the unit can safely supply to your PC components. While the actual load you need will vary depending on your components, you can play it safe by summing up the requirements of your individual components and adding a 10% leeway for your power supply.
- Stability. The best power supplies will have multiple rails, or independent power supplies within the unit. Multiple rails are essential to feeding the demands of today’s high-end components. The heaviest load of your PC is on the +12V line: make sure it has a current of at least 18A. A stable power supply to all your components will give you hours of uninterrupted, worry-free gaming.
- Compatibility. Another crucial feature you have to watch out for is its compatibility with your components. Make sure the unit you choose has the right number and compatible type of connectors for your graphics card, motherboard, etc. The latest video cards need an independent power connection, so keep this in mind when choosing your power supply. Some of the newer units come with a modular cable system. This allows a great level of customization for your PC, because you use only the essential cables for your system. This is recommended if you want to upgrade your system later on.
- Cooling system. Without proper ventilation, the unit may potentially overheat and damage your components. Multiple fans are recommended for high-powered gaming systems. To minimize the distraction from the noise, you can opt for larger fans or temperature-controlled ones. There are also fans that you can manually set the speed to suit your power consumption and/or work environment.
- Efficiency. The more efficient the unit is rated, the less power is lost by the unit as it converts power from the outlet to levels usable by the PC. By buying more efficient unit, you waste less power and use less electricity overall. A unit with an 80Plus logo has passed certification and will save you money in the long run.
It is easy to be distracted by flashy lights and big numbers, but remember to focus on your computer’s requirements rather than pure visual appeal. Make sure your power supply follows the newly developed ATX12V standard. This will be backward compatible to older components, so there is no need to worry. It is also advisable to check online reviews of the different power supply units to find one that suits your needs. Don’t forget, spending a little extra cash on the humble power supply will save you hours of grief later on.