Although it can hardly be considered an exciting component, particularly when compared to things like the graphics card and CPU, the power supply for your PC is absolutely one of the most important components. After all, without it your computer won’t turn on! Power supplies provide much more than simple power to your PC, though – depending on the kind of supply you get, you can provide vastly different amounts of power to your components, but not always reliably. This is why the price range for power supplies is so significant – those on the higher end of the spectrum are usually stable and reliable workhorses but attract a very high cost, while those at the cheaper end are often less than reliable. So, what do you choose? In this article we take a look at PC power supplies to determine what the best one for you might be.
How much power do you need?
To ensure that your gaming power supply doesn’t cause problems like random resets and freezes, you’ll need to spend some time working out how much power is right for your needs. Your power needs will be related to the components that you have in your PC, which will include things like your CPU, GPU and cooling system. With this in mind, the needs of a hardcore gamer who might require the latest graphics card and accommodating cooling supply to work for long periods of time will obviously need much more power – and reliably, as well – than a typical user, particularly one that uses their PC mostly for work and light gaming. Although considering your current components is a good first step, it’s also worth anticipating any future upgrades, particularly if you’re thinking of getting better computer bits in the not too distant future. Working out if you’re going to need more RAM or an even faster graphics card will have a big factor in what power supply you pick, as choosing something that can’t accommodate future components will render your power supply useless in many cases.
Efficiency and protection
Although producing power is the primary goal of a power supply, it is not uncommon for manufacturers to now fit some kind of protection to ensure your other components don’t get fried in the event that something goes wrong. These features are not available on some more budget-friendly supplies, so if you want peace of mind, you’ll have to pay for it in most cases. A good example of this is overvoltage protection, where a mechanism shuts down the power supply unit if the output voltage exceeds the specified voltage limit, which is one way components can easily get damaged. Efficiency is another thing you should watch out for, as this is not a feature that applies to all power supplies in the same way. Efficiency of the power supply involves how much electricity is lost when your power supply gives your PC power – the more efficient the supply, the less electricity is lost. This translates to smaller energy bills and a cooler case, which is necessary to keep your components in a good condition in the long-term.
Powering up your rig properly
Choosing the right power supply for you is highly dependent on a few technical factors, such as the components you have and whether you’re planning an upgrade in the not too distant future, but regardless of what you decide to go with, know that spending a little more is never a bad idea. This way, your computer will be far less prone to power-related upsets and it will have a lot more flexibility to cater to any unexpected needs you have in the future. Perhaps most importantly, though, shop around to get the best deal so you get a great power supply at the best price possible!