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  • PC Power Supply Buying Guide
Technology Articles > Hardware > Power Supplies > PC Power Supply Buying Guide

PC power demands continue to escalate thanks in large part to graphics processing units (GPU) and quad core processors. We need our PC’s to do more and so they need more power to do it. Make sure you don’t try and save a few dollars and go cheap on your power supply. Make sure you get a power supply that AT LEAST matches the requirements for wattage and voltage that the PC manufacturer recommends. It likely would be worth your while to purchase an even more robust power supply so when you decide to upgrade your video card your computer still runs optimally. We’ll even help you by offering up some tips when purchasing a PC Power Supply. Think of it as a buying guide to make sure your computer is getting the juice it needs.

How many rails do I need?
Units with multiple 12V rails are considered the safer bet because it theory it would be tougher for a ton of power to channel through multiple lines and destroy your computer during a catastrophe. Single 12V lines are preferred by avid computer users however because they negate the possibility of a weak line getting overloaded by a single device. To avoid having to choose whether one is better than the other, just make sure you purchase a high-end PSU exceeds ATX safety specifications.

Making sure you don’t run up the power bill
The more efficient a power supply is, the less energy will be lost as heat which means that your PSU will run cheaper and operate much quieter. A rule of thumb is that if a power supply loses less than 20% of the power consumed then it is efficient. Most companies now put a sticker on their power supply’s that notify the consumer that they are efficient. IF you don’t see a sticker – make sure to ask prior to purchase.

How much power do I need?
A good PSU is designed to work continuously at 50-60% of their rated capacity and not at the maximum load that is advertised. This is a good thing for you since a power supply that works heavily loaded for a long time can be disastrous for its lifespan and that of your PC. Remember this when you purchase your power supply and don’t feel you need to follow the systems recommended power supply numbers since the companies tend to double the power consumption abilities of your computer.

So many choices! Which Company should I choose?‘Ё
Power supply options, like most technological products, are all equipped with different features, components, noise/efficiency levels and warranties. Make sure you stick with reputable brands that have a history of performing well like Antec, Seasonic, Thermaltake, Corsair, Coolermaster, BeQuiet and FSP.

In conclusion, the best first step in deciding how to choose a power supply for your PC is to listen to what the manufacturer of your computer recommends. Every step after that is up to you and the more insight you have the more efficient and quiet your PC will run.