Modular Power Supplies: Are They Worth It?

Modular Power Supplies: Are They Worth It?

If you’re thinking about setting up a PC or need to change your power supply for some reason, you’ve probably heard of modular PSUs .

If not, here you can see everything you need to know about this type of font that may have its advantages and disadvantages over traditional ones.

Until recently, this dilemma about using a conventional or a modular power supply didn’t make much sense. The reason is that these modular sources were very expensive and it was not worth it.

But little by little they have lowered their price and now that they are more affordable they have become a good alternative for many.

What is a modular power supply?

A modular power supply has the same utility as a normal one, that is, it is a component that is responsible for taking electrical current from the network to transform it and process it until it gives an output with various voltages (5v, 3v3, 12v, GND…) necessary to power the rest of the PC components.

The difference of a modular PSU (Power Supply Unit) is that the modular or semi-modular ones have the box with the traditional power components, but they do not have the wiring soldered inside. Instead, they have a series of connectors where you can insert the power cables you need, which makes it more scalable.

In addition, it avoids having an excess of wiring inside the tower, which in most cases, if not used, has to be wrapped with cable ties to leave better aesthetics and ventilation. This is especially bad for modding, because if you have a case with a transparent side, you can see those extra cables.

With a modular power supply you can connect only those cables that you really need . Therefore, you will not have unsightly cables and flanges. And best of all, they will leave much more room for the case’s cooling air to flow more efficiently.

Modular PSU Types

You should know that there are two main types of modular power supplies:

Semi-modular 

Semi-modular: 

they are those power supplies in which the cables that go to the main collector of the motherboard (ATX + EPS) are attached to the PSU as in the case of conventional ones. This is so since you will always have this cable connected yes or yes, because it is the main one,

without it the motherboard could not be powered and the PC would not work. Instead, the rest of the molex and cables are modular and can be plugged in when you need them.

Modular: 

In this other type, all the cables, including that main one, can be connected and disconnected when necessary.

This may seem absurd, but it is not. And it is that although you will always use the main one, if there is a cut or defect in it, in the semi you could not easily replace it, while in this completely modular source you could.

It is not something too important, but it is good to know it to choose better…

Advantages and disadvantages

The first thing to keep in mind is that separating the cables from the body of the power supply is a great advantage as I already said.

It is especially attractive for those who practice modding, for some gaming PCs, and also for other particular cases such as those who need multiple graphics cards, etc. In all these cases, the modular ones offer greater flexibility.

Another advantage beyond modularity is the repairability it offers. As I have already mentioned, if a cable is cut, stops conducting for some reason, one of the connector pins breaks, etc.,

in these cases it will not be necessary to open the power supply, solder new cables, etc., or replace the entire PSU. Just remove the cable and put in a new one.

But of course, not everything has advantages. It also has some minor drawbacks . Regardless of their higher price, another problem is the small loss of power that they have when they are connected to a connector and not directly soldered to the output of the PCB.

In addition, another problem is the cleanliness of the electrical signal they produce, which by having an additional male-female connector splice, can generate small changes in the signal with respect to non-modular power supplies. But in general, these problems are minor and do not vary much from the ideal values.

Best Modular Power Supplies

Among the best power supply manufacturers would stand out Seasonic, Enermax, Cooler Master, in addition to other standouts like OCZ, Silverstone, Antec, Corsari, Thermaltake, Rosewill, EVGA, Tacens, Be Quiet, etc.

Another thing to keep in mind beyond the brand is that you should always check that they have 80+ or 80 Plus certification , that is, that they deliver 80% efficiency:

  • 80 Plus Gold – 80%
  • 80 Plus Bronze – 82%
  • 80 Plus Silver – 85%
  • 80 Plus Gold – 87%
  • 80 Plus Platinum – 90%
  • 80 Plus Titanium – 92%

You also have to consider the passive and active protections that some power supplies have. These technologies allow it to protect the components connected to it from electrical spikes, damaging surges, etc.

This will guarantee that the equipment is fed in the best conditions. Always avoid fonts that don’t include them, which are usually cheap ones from somewhat lesser-known brands.

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