Right off the recent released of my published article titled : Let's take look at the FSP Hydro 850W power supply, it was only right that I lend my astute knowledge on how to shop for power supply unit for your next computer build, or you maybe just replacing an old defunct power supply for a newer one.
Good thing about power supply units, most are cheap in price, its not out of the realm of possibility to find a 650W PSU under $50.00. Pricing alone should certainly not be the deciding determining factor.
If you're in the process of building a computer, or upgrading to a new power supply unit, there are a list of protocols you need to consider before you even think about purchasing power supply. Guess what, I have come up with that list based on personal shopping experience as a consumer.
Probably the number one things you should absolutely always consider when shopping for a power supply is Wattage. There are instances where you'll think an over abundance of Wattage is actually a good thing, and for the most part it is, but a power supply with more Wattage usually equates heftier price tag and who wants to spend a lot of money when it isn't necessary to do so.
Getting technical and all, there is a formula you can apply when determining how much watts is needed for your computer, especially if your constructing an entirely new system. The eXtreme Power Supply calculator is used by many computer builders who aim to purchase the well suited unit for any computer. An invaluable tool which determines the total amount of watts that's actually needed.
Calculating wattage is an excellent guideline you can use to dodge any excessive cost of any PSU, if by chance you decide to go with a SLI or Crossfire GPU configuration.
Long term energy savings should always be top priority with PC builders . Luckily, today's power supply units are define by a 80-plus efficiency standard. It's broken down into several categories, There's the Accurate wattage: this ensures that anyone who purchases a 80-Plus power supply unit are afforded 100% accurate wattage during operation. Then we have the Active PFC: which is acronym for Power Factor Corrector, this makes apparent power equal to true power. The APFC main intent is to correct reactive loading from wall outlets to the PSU, preventing wasteful energy from utility companies and power overload that can quite possibly fry your computer.
The 80-Plus standard is listed under several levels of certifications, the 80-Plus, the 80-Plus Bronze, Silver, Gold,Platinum and there's even a 80-Plus Titanium. Higher levels represent any power factor that's extended to 20% and 50% load levels. To break it all down for the common tech folk, the higher the rating, the better efficient the power supply. Most consumer brand power supply units you see on the market are Bronze, Silver and Gold, and Platinum.
There are different types of cable modulation with power supply units, we have the Direct Cable, Semi Modular, and Full-Modular. Let us examine in depth.
Direct Cable power supply have cables directly attach to the unit itself. This type of power supply was once standard and believe it or not, its still being sold on market for consumer purchase today. But many PC enthusiast like myself usually shy a way from these types of power supply units because cable management can be a bit tedious, take a look at the image above, and guess which one is the direct cable unit, you see how bunched up the cables are? Not appealing at all. The Semi-Modular power supply have some of the necessary cables coming from the unit directly such as the ATX (20+4) connector which powers the motherboard, PCIe (6+2) powers the graphic card, then we have the CPU connector (4+4). Other connectors such and the Molex (4-pin) and SATA (15-pin) are modular. The Modular power supply is preference by many PC builders because cables are removable, making for an easy installation and proper cable management.
Don't Cheap Out Your Decision
Remember I made mention that a good quality power supply makes for a stable system. Instead of going with what came with the PC case, which is a rarity nowadays, or settling for some off brand unit because you want to penny pinch, my advice is to go with the power supply unit that has the highest rated stamp of appeal, preferably a 80-Plus Silver and Gold rating. Yes, there's a hefty price to pay( I'm talking dollars and cents), but you want a nice stabilize system, it starts with a quality power supply.