It is common to spend hundreds of euros (in many cases thousands) on the parts needed to make a computer, but the choice of power supply is usually left to the last minute, so that The quality of the ingredients is always maintained. Provide them with stable electric current and work without peaks and, in addition, can cause them irreparable damage.
For this reason, you should pay special attention to the choice of power supply and give it the real importance that this component has in the configuration of your equipment.
As with motherboards, computer cases or many other components, the form factor is one of the basic features that enables you to install a power supply in your computer case.
The most common format in current power supplies is the ATX format which measures 140 x 150 x 85 mm.
Another common form factor in power supplies, but unlike the ATX form factor, is the SFX form factor. This format is smaller than the ATX and is used in compact devices as its dimensions are 125 x 100 x 63.5 mm. Size slightly smaller than the ATX format.
Recently, variants with the SFX-L form factor have been introduced, which are located between the ATX and SFX formats.
Some manufacturers of compact office equipment, such as HP, have their own power supplies with their own form factors that suit their case characteristics.
Better quality than quantity
Depending on the type of computer you have in mind to configure, you will need more or less power in the power supply. The power supply is expressed in watts (watts or watts).
In general terms, although a good quality 400 watt power supply may suffice for an office computer, a multimedia computer can carry about 500 or 600 watts, a workstation about 750 watts and a gaming computer about 850 watts. 1200 watts or more will be required. Depends on your setting.
The total power of the source will be determined by the power consumption of the processor, graphics card and number of disks you want to install.
On the Internet you will find calculators for your PC’s power consumption that, based on the components installed on your computer, calculate the power supply you need.
Avoid the belief that the more watts you have, the better the power supply. Manufacturers use the number of watt power supplies for advertising purposes and this data can, in many cases, be biased and misleading – not wrong – and you will probably have to pay more for the power supply that You don’t really need
Power in the right place
The power generated from the power supply is distributed on several rails of different voltages. That power distribution is what you really need to take care of because, otherwise, and despite having seemingly enough power, the power supply cannot power some of the components that require the most energy.
Therefore, it will be necessary to correctly select not only the power of the power supply, but also the amperage distributed from each rail.
In many of the data described in the technical characteristics of the power supply, manufacturers typically indicate the amperage that is supplied to each rail of the power supply. These rails refer to 3, 5 and 12 volts.
The graphics card is one of the components that requires the most energy, so it will be the basis on which you choose your power supply. In its technical features, it usually indicates the ampere or watts that the graphics card needs to work.
This data should be a minimum that your power supply should be provided on the +12 V rail so that your equipment can work without any hassle.
Of the various rails provided by the power supply, this is exactly the +12 V rail that you should focus on. This 12 volt rail usually provides all the amperage required for the equipment components to run on a single channel.
Certification is key
The power supply is responsible for converting the alternating current circulating through your home installation to the direct current used by your computer components.
More important than the amount of electricity the power supply is able to provide is the quality of the electricity it produces and how much the process of converting from AC to DC has been improved.
For some years now, energy efficiency has been regulated with a certification that reflects the level of power supply efficiency when performing this change. These are 80+ certifications and its variants.
Voltage protection system
In addition to an efficient electrical switching system, some power supplies include a series of filters that absorb and minimize fluctuations in electrical current and protect your computer components.
These filters are called PFC (Power Factor Cracking English) and can be enabled or disabled, being highly effective and highly recommended.
The electrical current in your home is not balanced because the various installations through which it passes create “noise” and electrical fluctuations which make it unstable. PFC filters reduce and stabilize this electrical current so that it is more stable to your PC and does not create spikes that can damage the delicate (and expensive) components of your computer.
Aside from the more purely technical aspects, we come to another important aspect when choosing a specific power supply: the cable system.
In addition to ensuring that the power supply has a number of cables and connections that allow you to power your PC components (SATA, Molex, PCI-e connectors, 20 + 4 pin connectors, 8 pins, etc.) Will be required. ), You can also choose whether all these cables will automatically merge into the source or you can connect them as per your requirement, thus improving cable management and air flow. Will be improved which cools the inside of the box.
Like any other electronic system, the power supply needs some cooling to keep its components from overheating.
These cooling systems are usually through the air, which includes an indoor fan. The quality and sound of this fan, which will usually run forever, will depend on your comfort. If you have to spend a lot of time with your computer, you don’t want the noise from the fan to sound like a turbine.
In some sources passive cooling systems (fanless) are based on large aluminum radiators that cool the source’s internal components.
Others use intelligent cooling systems based on temperature sensors that automatically deactivate the fan when the temperature is right to correct the noise, and reactivate it when the temperature rises.
With these tips in mind, it will be much easier for you to choose which will be the next power source for your computer.