People interested in monitor diagonal, RAM and hard drive or graphic card performance in games when buying a computer in most cases. But hardly anyone is interested in such an important part of any computer as the power supply. Although this particular unit provides power to the computer and all performance and reliability depends on its characteristics. We’ll talk about how to choose the best power supply (PSU) for PC today.
Power supplies unit are sold with computer cases very often or more correctly – computer cases often are sold with established blocks. But people focus on the external characteristics of the case and almost completely forget about the power supply. The result is that they buy a nice case (a computer system block), but when they want to install, for example, a powerful graphics card it is impossible because there is not enough power supply.
That’s why choosing of this unit require of adequate attention.
Let’s consider the main characteristics of computer power supply unit:
1. PSU electric power.
Electric power is the key characteristic of supply unit. The main purpose of the power supply unit is to supply power to all the other elements of the computer. Each of these elements (processor, memory, graphics card, hard drive, etc.) has its own power consumption. Therefore, the PSU must have a power that would allow energy consumption to ensure all elements of the computer on the proper level.
It is very desirable to have a certain reserve of computer power usage in order to unit not works at maximum loads.
Power supply units with power from 150 watts to 1500 are now on sale.
On average, we can say that the minimum power to supply modern computer should be at least 450 watts.
It should also be noted that the “noname brands” may overstate actual power of their PSU. In this case, we can recommend such an interesting selection criterion, as the weight of the power supply unit.
If the device is really powerful, you’ll feel its weight in your hand. If the unit is relatively lightweight it means that its power and reliability is also small.
PSU with average power of leading manufacturers such as Coolermaster, Chieftec, FSP will weigh about 2 kg.
For example, PSU Chieftec CTG-600-80P weighs 1.91 kg.
There are many online PSU calculators that allow you to calculate the power of the computer PSU depending on what components you will use in the system.
For example you can find pc power supply calculator here.
2. PSU cooler.
Reliable PC power supply unit with 600 watts power is comparable in power with a small iron. It is clear that this unit during operation will be heated and therefore will require cooling.
Special fans are used in the PSU for this purpose.
I can recommend paying attention to the size of the fan (cooler) for the power supply unit when choosing.
Most coolers have size 80, 120, 135 or 140 mm.
The larger fan will provide more efficient cooling and at the same time, oddly enough, it will be quieter. Low PSU fan noise is also very important.
If you need a really quiet PSU, choose a model with a fan at least 120 mm.
Also, some models have a variable fan speed (PSU fan control). At high load the fan will spin faster with at less – slowly, to minimize noise from its work.
3. Number of cables and connectors.
A one modernized saying says: “any computer will be upgrade”.
As I mentioned above, the power supply unit connected to the all basic elements of a computer and number of devices that can be connected depends from the PSU number of slots (connectors).
All PSU are divided into standard and modular in general.
All required connectors are located on the fixed cables in standard units.
Connectors placed on cables which can be connected (disconnected) to the PSU as required in modular units.
Modular PSU are slightly more convenient in terms of what you will not have some superfluous cables in system case, but such PSU are more expensive than standard.
More important is the availability and number of the PSU connectors.
There are the next main PSU connectors:
- 4+20 (24) pin connector. This connector provides motherboard power supply. 20+4-pin has one 20-pin and one 4-pin connectors that can be used together or separately. 24-pin connector has only one connector at 24 outputs.
- 8-pin connector. It is used to connect the power supply of the CPU. Many motherboards provide for CPU power 4-pin connector, so the PSU should also have a 4-pin connector for this purpose. Sometimes 8-pin may consist of two 4-pin or can be present as two different connectors (4-pin and 8-pin).
- 6-pin connector. This connector is used to connect the graphics card. I would like to draw your attention that many modern video cards require at least two 6-pin connectors for their power. Some “high-end” graphics card can already require 8-pin to power.
- 4-pin connector (molex, molex pinout). This type of connectors is used to connect various devices such as optical drives or hard drives. With special adapters molex can be used as 6-pin connector for video cards or other supplementary connector.
- 15-pin SATA connector. It primarily used to connect the new SATA hard drives. If you want to have in your computer more than one hard drive, make sure that there are a sufficient number of SATA connectors on the power supply unit. With special adapters 15-pin SATA connector can also turn into a molex or vice versa (molex to SATA).
In addition to these there are other connectors (e.g. floppy connector), but they are not such common.
By the way, familiarity with connectors will help you to understand how connect any computer components and system at all.
Also you have to pay attention to the cables themselves – their length should be sufficient to be able to connect all necessary devices, regardless of their location in the computer case.
Well, now, after learning about the basic parameters of a computer power supply unit, you will be informed which PSU is the best to buy.