Author Topic: Buying a Power Supply  (Read 1169 times)

Offline scuzzy

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Buying a Power Supply
« on: Nov 13, 2002, 09:45 AM »
The subject of power supplies often comes up in the forum, and I have noticed that users often dismiss possible problems with their power supplies. Usually the underlying message is "The problem can't be the power supply, because it's a 350 watt model."

While wattage is important, there is much more to a power supply. You could make a similar comparison with cars. For example, you may need a car that is capable of speeds up to 75 MPH. Well, there's plenty of cars out there with that capability, but how many will steadily hold that speed when fully loaded and going uphill? Power supplies are similarly compared in their ability to cleanly and steadily provide maximum wattage under a heavy load. Many can claim to achieve a certain wattage, but what about when the power supply has to handle a heavy load for a sustained period of time? That's where the quality of the power supply becomes critical. Unlike a car that may eventually get over the hill, your computer will probably freeze, or give you errors.

When purchasing a power supply there are other areas to consider besides the wattage. What about the quality of the fans? Or the length of the wiring harness? How many connectors? It is rated for the newest class of CPUs? Is it a single or dual fan model? Does the manufacturer provide an emergency rocker-type power switch? What's the noise level?

As I previously mentioned, wattage is important. For a modern computer you may want at least a 300 watt power supply. If you have a lot of high-power consuming components, look for 400 watt and higher. I am currently using an Antec Truepower 330 watt model, which more than satisfies my accessory-loaded computer.

As for cost, expect to pay upwards of $50 for a quality power supply. Some high quality models easily exceed $100. While that may seem like a lot, you might have different thoughts when your power-hungry video card continues to lock up your computer due to an insufficient power supply.

We at Poasters are always happy to recommend one model or another. However, you'll find three manufacturers who are well known for making quality power supplies: PC Power and Cooling, Antec, and Enermax. There are other quality manufacturers out there, but make sure you shop carefully for a model that will satisfy both your immediate and future needs.

Edit: Here's a handy PSU Calculator to help you determine how much wattage you need: eXtreme Power Supply Calculator - Antec Edition
« Last Edit: Feb 28, 2008, 02:42 PM by scuzzy »
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