Choosing the Right Power Supply for Your Computer Hardware

When setting up a new computer system, there are several things that you need to consider, such as: monitor type and size, CPU options, processor variances, graphics card capability, and the level of power supply needed for your system.  The power supply unit, known as the PSU, is a very important consideration, because it can make a significant difference between a poor performing computer and one that is thriving.  Be careful to choose the best PSU that you can purchase.

There are two main things to keep in mind when deciding on a power supply unit:

1. Overall Wattage:

The overall, or total, wattage of a computer is basically how much power a system needs in order to function properly.  Online, there are several power supply calculators that will help you determine how much power your particular system needs on a regular basis.  Note that most computers do not constantly run at full-capacity.

2. Rail Specific Power:

The rail specific power, or voltage rail, concerns how much power is being drawn from the PSU in order for specific, interior components of the computer to function properly.  Computers with average-functioning components may not be affected much by the rail specific power; however, if your system consists of top-of-the-line components, such as a graphics card, or if you plan to upgrade your computer at a later date, you will want to pay attention to the rail specific power capability.

Other things that you should consider when purchasing a PSU are:

  • the bigger PSU is typically the better choice
  • choose your computer cables carefully
  • watch out for efficiency ratings
  • compare manufacturers in order to find the best product for your investment

Larger PSU’s usually have better-quality internal components, as well as space for larger fans.  A good quality fan within your PSU provides a lower noise level, the ability to circulate more air, and will keep your work area cooler in temperature.  As far as cables are concerned, there are three different cable types available.  They are hard-wired cables, fully modular cables, and partially modular cables.  Hard-wired cables cannot be removed from the PSU box, fully modular cables are all removable from the PSU box, and partially modular cables are a combination of the two previous types.  For your specific needs, you should decide which cable choice is best for you.  Efficiency ratings are also important to research as you consider which PSU to purchase.  The higher the rating usually means a higher dollar amount.  “80 Plus” certifications are standard for good quality PSU’s.  Lastly, compare and contrast different PSU’s and their manufacturers.  Some reputable brands include: Corsair, Antec, and Seasonic.  You will be able to find many reviews and comparison charts online that will help you compare and contrast the variety of brands.

In conclusion, a power supply unit is a very important part of your computer system that should not be overlooked.  A good PSU will improve the function of all other components within your system, as well as help prevent crashes or slagging.  PSU’s are available in a variety of price ranges, so you should purchase one that you are comfortable with. Keep in mind one important thing:  large, powerful PSU’s can properly support smaller computer systems, but small, weak PSU’s can never support more powerful computer systems.  If you plan to upgrade or improve your particular system in the future, then it is best to buy a really good power supply unit in the initial purchase.

Contact RedWave Technology Group at (205) 917-5757 for any hardware support you may need.