PC Build Series: PSU

Building a new PC is an exciting experience. The custom PC market has exploded in recent years, allowing gamers to make their computers their own. However, the ability to customize and pick every component can be pretty overwhelming. In this series of articles, we will walk you through different things to consider when building a gaming computer. Today’s post covers things to consider when selecting a power supply unit (PSU).

The Power Source

Arguably one of the most critical components of your PC, all of the cool hardware you purchase won’t matter without the proper power supply. Each component uses a certain amount of power, and if your PSU isn’t powerful enough, your PC will not work to its full potential. With an insufficient PSU, in the middle situation, the PC will become unstable and shut down. In more challenging situations, the various components of your PC can get damaged due to this instability.

Wattage

Every PSU will have a wattage that it puts out. A good rule of thumb is to overshoot your wattage usage by about 25% to give you some wiggle room. So if your expected output is 400 watts, a 500W or 550W, this will also give you some room for new components in the future. There are plenty of calculators online to determine your estimated output, but the best option is PC Part Picker. Not only will it help plan out all of the components and make sure they are compatible, but it will also tally estimated wattage.

PSU Ratings

When comparing PSUs, you’ll see that they come with an 80 Plus rating, naming different metals like Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Titanium. These ratings indicate the efficiency and reliability ratings. 80 Plus means the PSU is 80% efficient or higher at loads of 20%, 50%, and 100% at 115 and 230 volts. The efficiency requirement changes depending on the capacity and voltage. The rating helps indicate the efficiency of the PSU.

Other Considerations

PSUs come with different features. For example, you can get a nonmodular, semi-modular, or fully modular PSU. Nonmodular PSUs come with a certain number of set connections compared to a fully modular PSU allows you to add the connections you need and take away the ones you don’t. The benefit to a fully modular PSU is a cleaner PC with easier cable management.

We also recommend not going generic with the PSU. Stick with companies like Corsair, EVGA, Cooler Master, and others when purchasing a power supply. Cheap, knock-off PSUs can be disastrous for your computer if they don’t work as advertised.

If you found this article interesting or helpful, check out our other posts!