Power supply's for computers - what it all means

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Ever wonder what all the Amps and A's and the sticker means on a PSU (power supply)?

Well here is my guide which is about power supplies and what you should REALLY look for when buying.

Firstly, its NOT totally about the 'Watts' on a PSU. Companies (especially no-branders and generic ones) say "max 600W", but thats not actually what you are getting. Pay attention to the "max"...it means they can give you anything up to 600W. Good brands like Antec really give you a lot of power, thats why they are so expensive.

The thing you should look for when buying a PSU is the Amps, or A, on the 12V rail. On the sticker, (every PSU has a sticker with this information on it), it will have a table with many numbers. Under 12V, it will have a number, for example, 24A.

To work out a more 'real' estimation of what a PSU REALLY delivers, just multiply the number of Amps on the 12V rail by 12. For example, my 400W 'no-name' brand PSU has 17A on the 12V rail, so 12 times 17 equals 204, which is what my PSU 'really' is. I got it for $20. My friend on the other hand recently bought a Antec 430W for $120, but he had 34A on the 12V rail, so thats more like 408W (double the power)

Finally, there are 'dual' 12V rails. If there is 12V1 and 12V2, or something similar, it means there are two 12 rails. This simply means that there are basically 2 power supply's in one. Obviously, it is not as powerful as a single, high Amps power supply, but it spreads the power a lot better, for example your graphics card and CPU will have their own rail, and use as much power as they want.

If you have a dual 12V rail with 17A on each rail, and a single 12V rail with 34Amps, they will both deliver the same amount of power, but the single rail will have to flow through all of the computer parts. If you have a dual rail, it will travel to the parts a lot faster, as it is spreading power from two different supplies (like having two seperate PSU's)

The generale rule for PSU's is that "you always get what you pay for". So if you pay more money, your getting a better unit :)

I hope this helps!

Thanks for reading.



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