When shopping for desktop computer parts, the power supply unit (PSU) is often one of the most overlooked and under considered. If you’re building or upgrading a high end gaming PC in particular, you’ll really want to pay attention as your PSU needs are of particular note.
In simple terms, your PSU is what converts AC power (from your wall outlet) into usable DC electricity. Superficially that can seem like a dumb, low tech task but there is a lot involved and it can have a big impact on your computer.
One of the biggest factors you should be watching for is the wattage rating of the power supply you’re looking at. If you have high power components like the latest video card (I’m looking at you, hardcore PC gamers!) or plan to upgrade the system at all it doesn’t hurt to splurge on a higher wattage PSU. Thats not going to have any negative ramifications on your system and it will make sure you have all the power you need now and in the future. In general, the higher the wattage the better.
I also suggest you go for something with a high efficiency rating. A PSU rated over 80% under load is going to serve you well, with 20% or less of the wattage lost as heat. It's worth noting that as PSUs age, they can lose power efficiency over the years so the higher efficiency and wattage you start with, the better off you’ll be in the long run.
Lastly be sure to check out modular PSUs. If you haven't seen a PSU in a while this will be new to you. They replace the tangled nest of wires that typically come out of a CPU with a modular system so you can use just the wires you need, leaving the rest outside of your computer. Fewer wires means a neater case interior, and better cooling.
You can go for something advertised as quiet but most new PSUs will be pretty quiet and if you prioritize wattage, efficiency, and modularity, odds are you’ll be getting something that purrs pretty softly already.
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