Computer Power Supplies

Computer Power Supplies

Computers have many components connected together, each having a specific function. One often overlooked component is the power supply. It is the part responsible for reducing and regulating power from the mains supply so that it is suitable for use by your computer. A poorly chosen power supply can cause computer boot failures and crashes. It can be the difference between a smooth running system and one that gives you issues. There are various things that determine how a computer power supply fits with your components and performs. Let’s look at some of the basic things you need to consider.

Fans and Heatsinks

During the process of reducing and regulating power from the mains supply, power supplies generate significant heat. To avoid overheating, cooling fans and heatsinks are integrated into the power supply. Heatsinks passively transfer generated heat into a fluid medium which in turn dissipates it away from the heat generating device, thus causing an overall drop in temperature. On the other hand, cooling fans rotate with the help of electric motors to create air flow within the fluid medium. Overheating causes damage to components and affects your computer’s performance. Therefore, fitting the right cooling fans and heatsinks is very important.


Cases are enclosures that house most computer components including the power supply unit. Computer cases come in different sizes and shapes. The shape and size is dependent on the computer’s motherboard form factor as it takes up most of the space. A good case should securely hold your power supply in place and allow air to flow freely. Most cases are made out of metallic material to allow fast heat dissipation from the power supply and other components. Other factors to consider are ease of assembly and maintenance, appearance and number of drive bays.

Modularity and Cables

Power supplies come in different modularities. When a power supply is described as a modular, this simply means that some of the cables that run from the powers supply unit to the various components can be removed when not needed. Modularity falls in three categories: non-modular (all cables are hardwired), semi-modular (some cables can be removed) and full-modular (every cable can is removable or replaceable). It’s recommended to never mix power supply cables between brands or models.