How to find the right power supply when building your PC
When building a personal computer, one of the most important choices that you will need to make is the choice of a power supply. There is far more to choosing a power supply than just buying a budget one, or getting one with just enough voltage to run your system. Making the wrong choice can lead to you not having enough power to run all of your peripherals, intermittent low power shutdowns of your system, and even damage to the expensive components of your system from power fluctuations. To avoid what could be a very expensive mistake, you should strongly consider your choice of power supplies before making a decision.
A lot of ready to go computers that you find in mainstream stores will be made with a budget power supply all in an effort to save them money by cutting the cost of the build. This leads to a higher than necessary failure rate among these computers. A lot of the lesser known brands of power supplies are built with cheap components and wiring, which is why you need to research the different brands of power supplies. Finding companies who pride themselves on very low failure rates is important, because you will know that they are using quality material during the construction of their power supplies.
No company can have 100% perfection in their product, and failures will happen to every company. This is why you must also find out how the company handles the failure of their product. If they offer a 30 day return policy, it is probably a good idea to pass. Most reputable companies are offering their warranty in years, some even reaching 10 years from the date you receive the power supply, just be sure to keep your receipt.
Weight & Cooling
There are certain features of a power supply to look for which are evidence of a quality unit. These include a large cooling fan which will keep the power supply cooler than a small fan, as overheating is potentially disastrous. Also the weight of the unit can show quality, as a lot of cheap makers will use light parts which are not built as sturdy as a quality unit.
The wattage of the power supply is extremely important, and it is good practice to calculate the amount of power your system will draw, and purchase a power supply that can produce double the amount that your system needs. No power supply can operate at 100% efficiency at all times – expecting it to operate at 50% efficiency is a good and safe margin that will take into account any sudden need for extra power. A higher rated power supply will only draw the power it needs from your wall socket, so do not worry about wasting electricity.
The certification rating is another thing to look at, and if it is not certified, do not even consider it. 80 plus certification is the minimum you should accept, with 80 plus bronze, 80 plus silver, 80 plus gold, and 80 plus platinum making up the rest of the chart.
Connections are another thing to consider. Make sure that the components that you have selected and the power supply that you are considering have matching plugs, or they will not be able to interface with each other. Some power supplies come with modular cabling, allowing you to mix and match cables where you need them.
Taking this advice in mind, find the power supply that you would like for your new build, and then turn to the internet for reviews of that particular unit. Even good manufactures sometimes have a product line with higher than average failures, and reading reviews are a good way to avoid this. If you take this advice, you will spend a little more than you would buying the cheapest thing that would work, but you will most likely have years of dependable service out of your new power supply, and there is a good chance that it will even outlast the computer that you build. Failure to follow these guidelines can very well result in the sudden death of your computer, right when you need it the most.