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Form Factor

What Power Supply Do I Need?

In our world today, the quality of a personal computer is often measured only by its processor speed, memory capacity, and hard drive space and for gamers, the quality of the video card. Sometimes, the computer monitor will grab some attention, especially if it has an LCD screen. Seldom, however, do we think of a computer by its power supply. And seldom do we give them an upgrade, even if we have upgraded each and every other computer component.

But when the power supply is damaged or stops working, we have to think about it, or we have no computer period. The only solution is a power supply replacement.

There are a lot of computer power supplies available in computer shops, so finding one should not be difficult. Replacing your power supply with a new unit should also be easy. The hard part is selecting the power supply that your computer needs. There are different kinds of power supplies and each has different specs. For your computer to work properly, it must be equipped with the right one.

There are two basic things to consider whenever you are buying a new power supply for your computer — power requirements and the power supply’s form factor.

Power Requirement

Modern power supplies have power outputs that range from 200 watts to 500 watts. Before purchasing a new power supply, you must first know the amount of power that each of your computer’s components need. These power requirements can usually be found on the labels of the components themselves. By adding up these figures, you’ll have a good estimate of the power output your new power supply should have.

As a general rule, never buy a power supply with output ratings that are lower than your estimates. Neither should you buy those that have too high a power rating, as most of this power would simply be wasted.

Form Factor

The standard form factor used on most PC power supplies today is the ATX-form factor. Not all power supplies, however, use this standard. If you have an older PC, it must be using a power supply in the AT-form factor. There are also less common form factors today like the TFX and BTX form factors. Before purchasing a new power supply, identify first what form factor would fit on your PC or else there’ll be no way for you to use it.