Buying a computer power supply

When purchasing a power supply, you have to remember that it is the box that separates the electricity from your computer.  Furthermore, it is the box that will distribute the power to all your internal computer components.  If this fails and/or produces too much or less power, it can can cause some serious damage to the components inside.

Therefore, I consider a power supply the most important part of any computer system.  You should take the following into consideration when buying one.

  • Buy a power supply with the watts that comes standard with any computer.  For example, if 460W power supplies are shipped with most of the computers sold, thats what you should stick with.  The price of a power supply can vary greatly depending on the maximum output.  Therefore, save your money and get the power supply with the watts that is normally provided.  The higher the maximum output, the higher the price.  Furthermore, a 460W power supply does not supply 460W of power.  It only produces what is needed by the computer.  Therefore, if your computer only needs 200W of power, the power supply will produce only 200W of power.  I do not recommend getting anything less than what is normally shipped.  You may find that a 300W power supply may not produce enough power to adequately power all the components.  Furthermore, it may not be that much cheaper since it is in limited supply.
  • Buy a power supply that is efficient.  Currently, there are power supplies that are 80% efficient.  There maybe power supplies that are more efficient than this, but it maybe too expensive right now.  I always stick with the ones that most companies sell.  80% efficiency is what most of the companies stock right now.  Apparently, the energy that is not used is converted to heat.  Therefore, 100%-80%=20% of the energy is converted to heat.  The power supply fan needs to push air in to push the heat out.  Therefore, I am assuming that more efficiency equals slower spinning fan.  This in turn will produce less noise.
  • Buy a power supply from a reputable company.  I always look in computer magazines and computer papers to find the companies that advertise.  Their’s may cost more, but they produce good quality items.  I also look at several reviews online.  Just because a company advertises does not always mean that all the products they sell are good buys.  I prefer Zalman, Antec, and Coolermaster.
  • Buy a power supply that will be enough for what you have installed.  In most cases, the standard wattage is enough.  If you have four hard drives, four DVD burners, two 3.5 inch drives installed, and all the ports are filled, you will have to ask the computer company what they recommend.  This is not a computer a normal user will have.  This type of computer may need a 1000W power supply.

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