PC Building Fundamentals: Power Supplies

    PC Building Fundamentals aims to provide you with a solid foundation of knowledge in order to help you select the components for—and build—a new Personal Computer. As custom-built PCs have become more mainstream, the amount of users opting to build their own rather than purchase pre-built systems is steadily increasing. Whether you have just started to consider the idea of building your own PC or you have been doing it for quite some time, hopefully this series will be beneficial to you. Each individual episode covers a specific topic that will be tackled as objectively as possible, while striving to use a range of sources and factual references rather than just a singular opinion.

    It is worth noting that building a PC is not for everyone; assembling a computer is very much ‘at your own risk’. Whilst the individual parts will usually be covered by warranties, there is an inherent risk with putting something together yourself. With that said, the satisfaction from putting together your own PC and having it work as intended vastly outweighs the convenience of purchasing a pre-built system. PC Building Fundamentals aims to provide you with the confidence to tackle your own custom build, as well as some tips and tricks along the way. The series will utilise a combination of my own knowledge, trusted references within the tech community, visual demonstrations, and virtual demonstrations using PC Building Simulator.

    Choosing the ‘right’ Power Supply

    For a novice, this is quite difficult, as many will want to just purchase the highest wattage PSU they can afford. Whilst the reasoning behind PSU selection takes years of experience to fully master, in this day and age we have extremely helpful online calculators. I recommend using this one, as it allows for some advanced selections such as any overclocking you may be applying as well as your peripherals. To provide you with the best results, please try to be as accurate as you can. I recommend any PC owner to input their specs to ensure that your current PSU is within the recommended range.

    Once you have decided on how much wattage you require and the desired efficiency rating, please try to stay with recognised brands. The PSU is one of the few parts of a PC where name actually matters, as reputable brands will provide you with a lengthy warranty and usually good customer support. When I lived in South-East Asia, I made the mistake of purchasing a PSU which on paper appeared amazing. Not even a month later, it launched a fireball out of the back and subsequently died; causing some key components on my motherboard to also fail.

    PC Building Fundamentals: Power Supplies

    Following on from the last episode, this episode discusses some of the things to consider when purchasing and installing a PSU (Power Supply Unit).

    Even though it’s an afterthought for most builders, the power supply is actually one of the more important parts of a build. Picking a quality power supply can mean the difference between a well running system and one that suffers from crashes and boot failures. Worse yet, cheap generic models can literally explode into flames (yep, I have had this happen to me before), taking the rest of your computer with it. Intense workloads such as video rendering or heavy gaming can trigger these failures, as the power draw in these situations is considerably higher than at idle.

    It does of course make sense to choose your PSU after you have selected the components of your build, that way you know beforehand how much power you need. But I decided to discuss this topic early in the series, as I feel it is vital to the success of any build.

    If you want to further discuss the topics as the series progresses, you can get involved in the conversation via either the Scholarly Gamers’ Discord Server or over on our subreddit; where every article and video from the site is posted.

    I hope you enjoy watching this series, as I know I will enjoy recording it.

    AcuteJungle66 has been dabbling with tech ever since he tried improving the tape deck of his Commodore 64 back in the '80s. Tech and Gaming have both been interests of his for several decades, he holds Masters of Science in Advanced Internetwork Engineering and a Bachelor of Science with First Class Honours in Cyber Security and Networks from Glasgow Caledonian University. As a proud Military Veteran who spent much of his life on 3 different continents, he is quite content being back home in Scotland; where he enjoys a much 'quieter' life these days as a College Lecturer.


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