Tech Blog

Power is King!

Happy Outlet

One of the most commonly disregarded components in a new computer build is the power supply. I see hundreds of people posting their specifications online with incredibly awesome hardware and a poor power supply.

Would you purchase a brand new Porsche and then put economy fuel in it? Would you build a new house on top of a sinkhole? Then why spend thousands of dollars on high quality components and then pop in a crap power supply? Your computer will only be as good as its weakest link, and the power supply just happens to be a very important link.

When building a new computer, make sure to do your homework and select a proper power supply. Your first step is to find out how much power your system is pulling. This is measured in watts (W) and is the primary specification advertised on the model. There are plenty of free calculator tools online that you can use to determine your power needs. Here is an example of just one.

But don’t let that be the final call! The numbers provided by online tools are usually the MINIMUM amount of watts required. Take that number and add an extra 15% margin to make sure that as the power supply ages, you will still be at a comfortable level. Also, try to THINK AHEAD. Were you planning on adding an extra video card or SSD in the future? Include these considerations into the power calculation from the get-go.

Once you know the necessary wattage, you are ready to go shopping. An entire article can be written describing the specific technical details to look out for in a new power supply. Instead, we’ll summarize it into two steps: 80 Plus Rating and Reputable Manufacturers.

Power supply efficiencies are measured on the 80PLUS system. Basically, this guarantees that the power supply will be at least 80% efficient at 20%, 50%, and a 100% load. Too much technical jargon for you? Forget what I said then. Just look for a power supply that displays an 80PLUS label and you will be good to go. The 80PLUS rankings extend from standard to bronze to silver to gold to platinum, in increasing order. The higher the ranking, the better the power supply and the more expensive it becomes. A lot of good deals can be found in the Bronze category.

Reputable. This word seems to fly over the heads of many people. PLEASE make sure to choose a reputable power supply manufacturer. Look for some of the big names in the industry like Antec or SeaSonic. DO NOT buy a power supply because it looks cool, has neon lights, or has something unique and flashy like dual fans. All of that can be accounted for elsewhere in your case. Instead, look for a reputable power supply from a known manufacturer with a lot of positive reviews.

So, unless you are an addicted pyro who loves to see things blow up and make cool flames, spend 10 minutes of your time and do your homework. In a computer, power is royalty, and the power supply is the king.