High Quality Power Supply Units
The choice of a power supply unit (PSU) for a high performance computer or gaming rig can be the difference between smooth performance and frustrating inefficiency. The ATX power supply has been the staple of the PC world for nearly two decades, ever since Intel launched the motherboard computer power supply in order to implement moveable parts and standardization of PC upgrades. Today, the ATX unit remains the staple of do it yourself computer enthusiasts who want to build their own desktop and save hundreds — or even thousands — of dollars in comparison to factory made units.
ATX Power Supply Units
ATX is an acronym that stands for Advanced Technology eXtended. This power source allows for nearly any type of Microsoft PC, whether it is Dell, Compaq, HP, or Gateway, to run on a standard electric socket. The choice of which power supply to use depends on your personal needs. These days, an average PC game will take up as much energy as a plasma television, while higher-end titles require a video card that will draw a lot of electricity. Whether you are a massively multiplayer online role player such as a game like The Old Republic, prefer intense strategy games like Starcraft II, or like first-person shooter titles like Modern Warfare 3, you need a power supply unit that can keep up with your video card. As much as 750 watts may be necessary to power your gaming: if your power supply is insufficient, you may overheat (or even melt down!) your PC.
An ATX power supply unit uses three separate main outputs, depending on the specific part of the processor receiving power. A 3.3 volt, 5 volt, and 12 volt line all go into and out of the motherboard, along with a low-volt line and a standby line. Original power supply units had several low-volt lines, but new PCs are designed with a single low-power ISA bus, so that it is no longer necessary for computer upgrade(s) in the past decade. The multitude of lines allow for separate parts of a computer processor to be powered individually, rather than spooning out electricity to the different parts of the hard drive. With a more efficient system in place, you can run programs smoothly without worrying about overworking your computer.
Points To Consider When Selecting a Power Supply Unit (PSU)
When you are putting together a computer or upgrading your PC and thinking about what the ideal supply for electrical power will be, you have to take into account many factors. Perhaps the most important is the physical space that a supplying unit will take up. Unless you have built a computer that has no external case, you will need a compact unit capable of fitting into limited room. Every ATX power supply unit has details on the dimensions. Ensure that the height, width, and depth are all capable of being wedged into your system without taking up too much room or risking damage to sensitive pieces. If your existing power supply is quite small, you can replace it with a micro ATX power supply for pint-sized performance that does not sacrifice the quality of energy delivered to your rig.
After choosing the size specifications, it is necessary to determine what connections will be going into the computer from the supply piece. It can be overwhelming for first time computer upgrades when you see a large number of colored wires and are not sure which one to attach to which. Remember that you do not necessarily need to use every wire; those that have to attachment to your hard drive or video card can simply be left dangling without sucking away power or harming your computer. These are some of the most typical connectors found on ATX power units:
- 20 pin ATX connector
- 24 pin ATX connector
- P4 connector
- 8 pin CPU connector
- Molex connector
- Floppy connector
- AUX connector
- SATA connector
- PCI express connector
The next step is to understand how much power you need. It is tempting to automatically purchase the biggest and best, especially if you have a brand-new computer, but too much wattage will just end up costing you extra on your monthly utility bill without any actual value. Remember that you need to get the exact figure, not just the ballpark figure, or your computer will start to behave erratically. The majority of reboots are caused by an imprecise power connection from an insufficient power supply unit.
Choose Between low Power Supply Units, three hundred or fewer watts, if you:
- Have a small processor, less than one gigahertz.
- Have only one hard drive.
- Have only 2 CD-ROM drives.
You need a PSU, four hundred watts, if you:
- Have a medium processor, between one and two gigahertz.
- Have 2 CD-ROM drives.
- Have 2 CD-ROM drives.
You’ll need the largest Power Supply, supplying over 530 watts, if you:
- Have a large processor, greater than two gigahertz.
- Have a high performance video card.
- Have three or more hard drives.
- Have three or more CD-ROM drives.
For the biggest and baddest computers that can run multiple programs in lockstep without missing a beat, the proper computer power supply is crucial. Too little and your system starts to lag or scale down its performance; too much and you run the risk of turning your computer into a pile of hot silicon and plastic.
It should be noted that for older computers, such as Pentium II and III processors, the ATX power supply may not be sufficient. These systems run proprietary power on their own motherboards rather than using the go-between for video cards. As such, the wires and voltage have changed, making it impossible to fit select ATX units in these Pentium PCs. This is most common in Dell computers, so Dell owners should be careful about switching out parts during PC upgrades as they run the risk of damaging components in their machine.
Once I was building a PC and bought an under powered PSU. The AMP output was too low for my card and it refused to work. I live in a developing nation and couldn’t find what I needed locally so I had to order from amazon and have my power supply shipped to my location. In high watt power supplies you are unlikely to run into this issue. When you order the case for your new or PC upgrade you should take this into account or you’re power supply may not do the job.